Fats Domino, along with Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis, is a founding father of rock’n’ roll, a legendary performer who has sold 60 million records world-wide and had more chart hits than anyother rock ”n” roll artist except Elvis. His signature hits–Blueberry Hill,”Blue Monday” ”Walking To New Orleans,” and ”Ain’t That A Shame” are a part of the American psyche.
The Big Beat, the first-ever documentary on Fats Domino, is produced by Joe Lauro, who has produced documentaries on Howling Wolf and Louis Prima as well as the acclaimed gospel documentary ”Rejoice And Shout.” It chronicles Fats’ extraordinary rise from a poor New Orleans neighborhood to become one of the most popular, ground-breaking performers of the rock ’n’ roll era in America–and indeed the world. Full of electrifying vintage live performance footage of Fats and his band, the film features interviews with Fats himself as well as such legendary collaborators as Dave Bartholomew, Cosimo Matassa, and Herb Hardesty who were all part of the creation of rock ’n’ roll– amidst evocative scenes of New Orleans in the 40’s and 50’s.
The film takes its audience inside Fats’ fabled 9th Ward home where Fats plays a solo version of his first hit ”The Fat Man” on piano, and we see and hear such storied figures as Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Earl Palmer and a still-vibrant 96 year-old Dave Bartholomew (the co-writer, producer and arranger of most of Fats’ hits) talk about their personal experiences with Fats.
The Big Beat DVD includes both the 60 minute PBS broadcast version of the film and the full 90-minute ”director s cut”, which includes extensive additional vintage performance footage of Fats.