Fats Domino — who died yesterday at the age of 89 — is not often cited as one of Bruce Springsteen’s major influences. But the influence was clearly there. The giant of the New Orleans music scene was such an important figure in the early years of rock ‘n’ roll that it would almost have to be.
I found YouTube videos for three songs performed by Springsteen (with or without the E Street Band) that had been either written or recorded by Domino. They do not have live footage along with the audio, but they’re all worth listening to.
E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt brought up Domino earlier this month in an interview with the Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post. Asked, “You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?,” he replied: “With one last unifying concert alongside my living heroes, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Clapton, Jeff Beck, The Kinks. Also my friends Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. I’d beam it to the world to bring everyone together.”
Today, Southside Johnny posted a message on the Asbury Jukes’ Facebook page that read, in part: “For us northerners, his records were our first taste of the greatness that could come out of Louisiana. He was the first New Orleans musician who taught us the relaxed, good time, sly way of making music. There were others before him, But his hit records had the biggest impact.”
Here are the Springsteen videos.
“I’m Ready,” E Street Band concert at The Agora in Cleveland on June 3, 1974. A performance so sensational you wonder why Springsteen and the E Street Band didn’t perform this song more. (There has been only one other performance, in 1980 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia.) Co-written by Pearl King, Ruth Durand and Joe Robichaux and a Top 20 hit for Domino in 1959.
“Let the Four Winds Blow,” E Street Band concert at Joe’s Place in Cambridge, Mass., on Jan. 6, 1974. Springsteen performed this song often that year. Co-written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew and a Top 20 hit for Domino in 1961.
“Ain’t That a Shame,” with The Beaver Brown Band at Big Man’s West in Red Bank on Feb. 20, 1982. Co-written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew and a Top 10 hit for Domino in 1955.