When rocknroll started selling in the mid-50s, there were lots of head-scratching media pieces. There was one interview with the perpetually smiling Fats Domino, who said, “What they call rocknroll, I been playing in New Orleans for 15 years.” And he was. He had 11 Top 10 singles when the competition was a lot stiffer (not that there wasn’t ALWAYS plenty of shit on the radio). All of them are at least fun, some are great. If this thing lets me post my two faves here goes. You could hardly imagine a simpler song than “My Girl Josephine,” which proves everything.
This one I like just as much. That rocking swing thing will never die.
He made people happy. You can’t have a better tombstone than that. RIP
Good stuff indeed. Rock ‘n’ roll indeed. Kinda like Little Richard on sedatives.
Excellent cuts Gene. Good analogy Steve.
I never dismissed Fats. He’s one of the most entertaining performers around. But he also made it seem so easy. He had a ton of hits, he played on some fantastic other music, and he lived until he was almost 90 years old in a town that adored him. I’ve been streaming his music all day and there is some weird shit. An upbeat As Time Goes By at the top of the list.
But there is lots of other stuff he played on and wrote that is sort of surprising and great. I’m not finding it tonight. Great songs to come.
Fats ruled. And, for one thing, without him, Chubby Checker would not have been able to cop a name.
But, I really thought too about Fats and Richard, and how fucking Pat Boone, who was not talentless, but was a total rip, got #1 hits out of totally sanitizing Tutti Fruitti and Ain’t That a Shame, Boone’s versions went to #1, but not Fats or Richard. Something wrong there.
I guess sometimes it takes time to seperate the straws from the berries. But is that really true? It shouldn’t be, the difference between the Real Thing and the fake is so obvious it’s not even debatable 99.3% of the time. Maybe it’s that when something is new and different it takes getting used to; for some people it has to first be translated into the familiar. I remember Ellen Willis (one of the few good rock critics) writing that as a teenager she liked Pat Boone more than Little Richard.
But I also think that there just aren’t that many people who love reall rocknroll. In that sense and others, the 1950’s were the real revolution. (Everything that happened in the 60s started and was cooler in the 50s.) Never before and never since were so many real rocknroll songs big hits. We can’t let Fats go without posting a few more:
And there is this gem. Don’t send me no emails cuz I can’t read.