Fats Domino

The Fat Man

Composed by Dave Bartholomew / Fats Domino

Song Review by

"They call me the Fat Man, 'cause I weigh 200 pounds," warbles Fats Domino on his 1950 debut single "The Fat Man." And really, who are we to argue with him? That estimate might be if anything on the conservatively light side. But all kidding aside, "The Fat Man" was a very historically important single, not only because it was Fats Domino's first hit, but also because it's frequently cited as one of the very first rock'n'roll records, even if people weren't using the adjective "rock'n'roll" at the time. "The Fat Man" isn't much different from the long string of rock'n'roll pop hits Fats Domino would have in the last half of the 1950s and early 1960s. The difference, a small but significant one, is that it's a little more grounded in the New Orleans jazz-blues heritage than his more polished later sides, tilting it more toward R&B than the rock'n'roll of his later career. The record, indeed, starts off with good-time boogie piano much like you would have heard from many New Orleans jazz and blues musicians throughout the first half of the twentieth century. When Domino starts singing, however, the record has a thumping backbeat and wailing sax that points toward the future of rock'n'roll, as does his swaggering vocal. The most eccentric aspect of the record, other than the inherent weirdness of hearing someone jovially boast about his tonnage, comes after the first couple verses. Here Domino dispenses with the words and scats extensively in a high wobbly voice, as if he's imitating a trumpet. Although technically the recording of "The Fat Man" is crude, with the instruments sort of crushing together and the piano way out in front, it was an enjoyable, boisterous single, even at the time recognizable as something a little new and different compared to the more traditional R&B with which it was competing. It was quite a big success, too, going to #2 in the R&B charts. Not many people know it, but "The Fat Man" is actually a variation of the song "Junker Blues," recorded by Champion Jack Dupree in the early 1940s. One wonders if the unself-consciousness of a man boasting about his heavy weight was an influence on Howlin' Wolf's classic blues "300 Pounds of Joy," which didn't come out until 1963.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1955 Imperial Records (Japan)
No Image 1956 Wax Time
No Image 1960 2:35
Walking to New Orleans 1963 St. Clair 2:18
No Image 1970 Collecting 2:29
No Image 1971
No Image 1975 MCA
Live in Europe 1978 Smith & Co. Sound & Vision
No Image 1982 FAME
No Image 1984 Creole Down Home Records
No Image 1985 K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1986 Atlantic
No Image 1987 Warwick
Collection 1988 EMI
No Image 1989 Spectrum Music
The Best of Fats 1990 Pair
My Blue Heaven: The Best of Fats Domino 1990 EMI Music Distribution 2:43
In Concert [Polygram/Prestige Elite] 1990 Polydor
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Roots of Rock - 1945-1956 1990
Various Artists
2:37
They Call Me the Fat Man: The Legendary Imperial Recordings 1991 Capitol / Universal 2:38
No Image 1991 Instant (UK)
Antoine "Fats" Domino 1992 Tomato 2:29
No Image 1992 EMI-Capitol Special Markets
Out of New Orleans 1993 Bear Family Records 2:38
Greatest Hits [Excelsior] 1994 Excelsior Recordings 2:13
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Instant (UK) 2:34
His Greatest Hits [Musketeer] 1995 Musketeer Records
No Image 1995 SMS
That's Fats: A Tribute to Fats Domino 1996
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / Capitol 2:36
The Early Imperial Singles: 1950-1952 1996 Ace
The Fat Man: 25 Classic Performances 1996 EMI Music Distribution / Capitol 2:34
The Fat Man Sings Live [Ronn] 1996 Ronn Records
EP Collection 1996 See For Miles Records 2:44
Live in Concert [Remember] 1996 Remember Records 2:22
Essential Blues Piano 1997
Various Artists
A&M 2:34
The New Orleans Hit Story 1997
Various Artists
Charly Records 2:28
Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino/Million Sellers By Fats 1998 Collectables 2:38
Great Fats Domino: In Concert 1998 Goldies
Here Comes Fats Domino [Magic] 1998 Magic France 2:35
Whole Lotta Blues: Crescent City Blues 1999
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:40
Live at Gilley's 1999 Atlantic 2:18
Hits Alive 1999 Charly Records 2:25
Going Home 1999 Mojo Music (Independent) 2:33
Legends of the 20th Century 1999 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:36
The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Album of All Time 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:20
Rock 'N' Roll Hits 1999 Dressed To Kill 2:20
No Image 2000 Lasel / Laserlight 2:19
Collector's Edition: Live [Single Disc] 2000 Madacy
50 Greatest Hits 2000 Double Platinum 2:37
Swings [Magic] 2000 Magic
The History of Pop Radio: 1920-1951 [OSA/Radio History] 2000
Various Artists
Document 2:36
The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 14: 1949 [OSA/Radio History] 2000
Various Artists
Membran / OSA 2:36
Blueberry Hill [Legacy] 2001 Legacy 2:28
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 2:37
The Carnival Day: The Essential Recordings of New Orleans 2001
Various Artists
Indigo 2:38
Blast from the Past: Fats Domino 2001 Direct Source 2:31
Gold Collection [Import 2001] 2001 Proper/Retro 2:33
The Fat Man [Goldies] 2001 Goldies 2:36
Whole Lotta Lovin' 2001 Columbia River Entertainment Group / Allegro Corporation 2:19
Rock & Roll, Vol. 5: 1949 2001
Various Artists
Frémeaux / Frémeaux & Associés 2:38
The Fat Man Sings [EMI] 2001 EMI Music Distribution 2:36
Reeling and Rocking 2001 Catfish
Gettin' Funky: The Birth of New Orleans R&B [Box] 2001
Various Artists
Proper Box 2:38
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Tim 3:01
1940-1950 Boogie Woogie 2002
Various Artists
EPM 2:38
Walking to New Orleans [Box] 2002 Capitol/EMI Records 2:35
The Fat Man! The Essential Early Fats Domino [Indigo] 2002 Indigo
1949-1951 2002 Classics 2:39
Fats Domino [Time Music] 2002 Time Music 2:29
Black & Proud 2002
Various Artists
Golden Stars
Rocking on Rampart 2003 Proper Pairs 2:38
The Legends of New Orleans: Fats Domino Live! 2003 Shout! Factory 2:19
The Fabulous Fats Domino [Castle Pulse] 2003 Castle Pulse 2:32
Essential Fats Domino 2003 EMI Music Distribution 2:34
Rock and Roll Giant 2003 American Legends 2:40
Hall of Fame 2003 Laserlight
Reelin' and Rockin' 2003 Prism Leisure 2:44
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Piano Blues 2003
Original Soundtrack
Columbia / Columbia/Legacy 2:36
Blueberry Hill [Weton] 2003 Forever Gold / Weton 2:29
Birth of the Fat Man [Remember] 2003 Remember Records 2:39
Paramount Tapes 2003 Repertoire 2:31
Fats on Fire [Disky] 2004 Disky 2:32
Let the Good Times Roll, Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
Liberty / Liberty 2:36
The Very Best of Fats Domino: 1963-1965 2004 Varèse Sarabande 2:32
100 Hot Rhythm & Blues Tunes from...the R&B Years 1950 2004
Various Artists
Boulevard Vintage 2:37
The Best of Rhythm and Blues 1950-1951 2004
Various Artists
EPM 2:47
Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2004 Universe / Comet Records 2:38
Blowing the Fuse: 28 R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox in 1950 2004
Various Artists
Bear Family Records
This Is Gold 2004 Disky 2:36
Triple Treasures 2004 Triple Treasures
Birth of a Legend 2005 Magic
Saga Blues: New Orleans Rhythm and Blues "Good Rockin' Tonight" 2005
Various Artists
Saga Blues / Saga Records
No Image 2005 Pop Legends
Rock'n Roll Legends 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:41
100 Rhythm & Blues Classics 2005
Various Artists
Castle Pulse 2:37
Roots of Rock N Roll [Disky] 2005
Various Artists
Disky 2:36
Rock 'N' Roll Roots: The R&B Influence 2005
Various Artists
Smith & Co. Sound & Vision
No Image 2005 Delta / Delta Distribution 2:19
The Fat Man [American Legends] 2005 American Legends 2:33
The Beginning of Rock 'n' Roll 2005
Various Artists
Beginning
We're Gonna Rock: We're Gonna Roll 2005
Various Artists
Proper Box 2:37
Ain't That a Shame, Blueberry Hill 2005 Musicpro 2:19
We're Gonna Rock We're Gonna Roll: Blues & Rhythm 2005
Various Artists
Proper Sales & Dist. 2:37
The  Best of Fats Domino [EMI] 2006 EMI Music Distribution
20 Best of Fats Domino 2006 Madacy 2:17
Crescent City Classics: New Orleans R&B 2006
Various Artists
Acrobat
Whole Lotta' Fats Domino Hits Live 2006 Compendia Music Group
13 Top Ten Hits 2006 Direct Source 2:28
Blues Biography 2006 United Multimedia / Blues Biography 2:28
Best of Fats Domino [Direct Source] 2006 Direct Source 2:28
Sentimental Journey: Live at the University of New Orleans 2006 SPV / SPV Blue Label 2:20
The History of Rock 'N' Roll 2006
Various Artists
Deja Vu
Blueberry Hill 2007 Intenfrank / The Intense Music 2:28
I Found My Thrill 2007 Blue Orchid / United States Dist. 2:37
Blueberry Hill [2007] 2007 Phantom Import Distribution / Double Pleasure 2:18
Fats Domino & Friends [Cleopatra] 2007 Cleopatra 2:17
Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans 2007 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:36
Fats Rocks 2007 Bear Family Records 2:37
Blueberry Hill [LT Series] 2007 Lt Series / Music Products 2:29
The First King of Rock and Roll, Vol. 1 2007 CSP Records 2:31
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Bell 2:39
King of New Orleans Rock 'N' Roll 2008 Proper Box 2:38
Fats Domino [B.D. Jazz] 2008 BD Jazz 2:37
Rock 'N' Roll Heroes [3 Discs] 2008
Various Artists
ZYX / ZYX Music / Zyz 2:37
The Big Beat: The Hits & More 1950-1957 2008 Great Voices of the Century 2:39
Best of Fats Domino Live, Vols. 1-2 2008 Curb 2:27
Great Rock N' Roll Roots 2008
Various Artists
Red X
Only the Best of Fats Domino 2008 Collectables 2:38
75 Pumpin' Piano Greats 2008
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:37
The Fat Man [Proper] 2008 Proper Sales & Dist. 2:38
Rock 'N' Roll Juke Box, Vol. 2 2009
Various Artists
Intense / Membran 2:34
Pure Swamp Pop Gold, Vol. 9 2009
Various Artists
CSP Records 2:33
Intro Collection: New Orleans 2009
Various Artists
Intro 2:27
100 Percent Blues 2009
Various Artists
Union Square Music / 100 Percent 2:36
The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-1952 2009
Various Artists
Rhythm & Blues / Cargo 2:39
All Hits! 52 Original Recordings 2010 Goldies 2:37
Million Sellers by Fats, Vols. 1-2 2010 Beat Goes On 2:40
I'm Walkin': His Greatest Hits 2011 ZYX / ZYX Music 2:38
The First Rock and Roll Record 2011
Various Artists
Famous Flames 2:42
The History of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues, Vol. 2: Jazz, Blues & Creole Roots 1923-1953 2012
Various Artists
Rhythm & Blues 2:37
Collector 2012 Milan / Warner Bros.
No Image 2012 Forever Classic Hits 2:31
No Image 2013 K-Tel 2:45
The Imperial Singles: 1950-1962 2014 Real Gone Music 2:34
Thrillin' in Philly! 2015 Goldenlane 2:17
Complete Hits, 1950-62 2015 Acrobat / Acrobat Music 2:37
S.O.U.L. 2016 BMG / Sony Music 2:20
The Fats Domino Collection 2016 10Ten Media / Zebralution 2:34
No Image EMI Digital / EMI Music Distribution 2:35
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:34
Best of the Blues: Fats Domino - Be My Guest Éditions Atlas
Blueberry Hill: Greatest Hits Live Prospera Records
Blueberry Hill: The Greatest Hits Soundwing 6:05
Dim Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Dim Collection
No Image
Various Artists
Parker Street Records 2:34
New Orleans Roots
Various Artists
Cherished Records 2:38
Simply New Orleans
Various Artists
Simply
Sound System Roots
Various Artists
Righteous
Swamp Pop Oldies, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Jambalaya
No Image
Various Artists
Blanksheets Records 2:34
The Absolutely Essential Big 3 2:35
The Essential Tracks Vintage Vinyl 2:35
The Greatest R&B Hits of 1950
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:35
The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-1952
Various Artists
Rhythm & Blues 2:39
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