(PBS) – Fats Domino and The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll premieres nationally during Black History Month on the legendary performer’s 88th birthday, Friday, February 26 at 10 p.m. (check local schedule). The one-hour documentary traces how Fats Domino’s brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues morphed into rock and roll, appealing to black and white audiences alike. Actor Clarke Peters narrates.
Fats Domino was one of the most popular rockers of the 1950s and early 60s. His achievements and record sales during that time were rivaled only by Elvis Presley. With his boogie-woogie piano playing rooted in blues, rhythm & blues, and jazz, he became one of the inventors, along with Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard of a revolutionary genre of music, rock ‘n’ roll.
Fats Domino was born Antoine Domino, Jr. on February 26, 1928. He was the last of eight Domino children and the only one of his siblings born in New Orleans. His journey from a poor childhood in the Lower Ninth Ward to a key figure in rock ‘n’ roll is told using vintage performances of Domino and his band interwoven with reminiscences of fellow architects of rock ‘n’ roll.
Among those interviewed are producer/songwriter/bandleader and longtime collaborator Dave Bartholomew, who co-wrote and produced most of Domino’s hits; J&M studio owner, engineer and producer Cosimo Matassa, who was involved in creating rock ‘n’ roll recordings by Domino, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Lloyd Price and many others; and saxophonist Herb Hardesty, a mainstay of both Domino’s and Bartholomew’s bands.
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