Passage: Fats Domino

An undated publicity photo of musician Fats Domino.

Shaw Artists Corp.

It happened this past week ... a sad farewell to the man Elvis Presley called "The REAL King of Rock 'n' Roll." Fats Domino died Tuesday at his home near New Orleans at age 89.

A largely self-taught piano player -- "as wide as he was tall," he once joked -- Domino's debut record in 1949 was called "The Fat Man":

Fats Domino - The Fat Man (version 1) - December 10, 1949 by OFFICIAL FATS Domino FANSITE on YouTube

More hits followed, including 1955's "Ain't IT a Shame," with lyrics ever-so-slightly altered:

Fats Domino Ain't That A Shame by MrRaymem on YouTube

Not only was Domino helping to shape rock 'n' roll, he was also breaking down pop music's color barrier.

His 1956 version of "Blueberry Hill" was his biggest hit, later selected by the Library of Congress for its National Recording Registry.

fats domino - blueberry hill by Mexicano109 on YouTube

All told, Fats Domino had 37 Top 40 singles, and sold some 65 million records.

One of the initial inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he won a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 1987.

Fans feared for his safety during Hurricane Katrina, when he was briefly unaccounted for.  "I'm just sorry it happened to me, and everybody else, you know?" he said.

He bounced back with a new album, called "Alive and Kickin'" … it turned out to be his last.

Ain't THAT a shame.