A genial and prolific musician, Fats Domino was the most commercially successful of a long line of New Orleans rhythm-and- blues pianists and vocal performers. Coming to prominence at the dawn of rock and roll in the middle 1950s, Domino is often named as one of that music's originators and classic figures. He was a gifted and entirely self-taught composer who parlayed his multiple talents into a long period of popularity with music fans of all races, and he stands perhaps as the most enthusiastic exponent of the Crescent City's great musical tradition.
Fats Domino was born Antoine Domino on February 26, 1928, in New Orleans, one of nine children. His father played the violin, and a relative, Harrison Verrett, was a well-known New Orleans guitarist who would later become a fixture of Fats's band. Verrett taught him to play the piano at the age of nine by means of instructional marks written on a piano's keys, and within a few years Domino immersed himself in music, quitting school at age 14 to work by day and play piano in the city's bars and small clubs by night. At some time during his early career, his five-foot-five-inch, two-hundred-pound frame gave rise to the nickname Fats.