Saturday, July 23, 2016

SHG: Fats Domino: "Blueberry Hill"

Fats Domino: “Blueberry Hill”
Entered the chart on: 10/13/1956
Peaked on: 1/19/1957
Weeks at #2: 3 weeks
Song at #1: “Singing the Blues” by Guy Mitchell

And finally, we make it to 1957. Sorry for the delay in getting back to reviewing the #2s but I’ve been busy cooking recipes from dusty old ads and posting cartoons inspired by the Dingley Tariff. Such is life.

Fats already had a string of classic singles under his belt when he was cruelly cheated out of a #1 hit by Pat Boone and those clowns at Dot Records back in ’55. This enduring classic is as close as he’d ever have to a number one hit. And here it sits in pole position behind Guy Mitchell’s watering down of a classic Marty Robbins song. Such is life.

Allow me to say right out of the gate that I’m extremely envious of Fats Domino and performers like him. The ease with which he applies his distinctive piano style to a song WHILE singing is a real skill. Love that intro he bangs out at the start that says, “Fats is here!” I mean, it’s a pretty basic 12-bar blues, but his piano playing and thick, meaty voice make the tune.

Appropriate that this should come right after Elvis bumping and grinding his way through “Love Me.” The sexual connotation of this song, too, cannot be denied. It’s pretty obvious when he sings that he “found his thrill,” he’s talking about sex. Why else would the opening line be used as a G-rated euphemism for Richie Cunningham getting a teenage boner on 1970s family-hour TV? The 50s old guard must have been up in arms.

Fats keeps it tasteful though, even poetic. “The wind in the willow played love’s sweet melody”? You could imagine Prince scribbling down notes as he listened to this.

I really can’t deny this one’s classic status. I could listen to stuff like this all day.

Rating: 5

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