Fats Domino honoured by home state

Blues legend Fats Domino has been honoured by his home state of Louisiana by being inducted into the Delta Music Hall of Fame. The ailing 77-year-old musician, known for hits such as 'Blueberry Hill,' was unable to attend the event.

Blues legend Fats Domino was inducted into the Delta Music Hall of Fame in Louisiana but was unable to attend the ceremony on Saturday.

The hall, located in Ferriday, honours musicians from the state. Domino, known for hits such as Blueberry Hill, I'm Walkin' and Ain't That a Shame, joins other luminaries in the hall including Aaron Neville, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis and Percy Sledge.

“I have received many honours in my lifetime. However, none touch my heart as much as being recognized by the people of my home state Louisiana," Domino wrote in a letter for the Hall of Fame ceremony.

Cleo Banquer, a family friend who delivered the letter, represented Domino at the event.

The singer didn't feel well enough to make the 240-kilometre trip from Harvey, La., where he lives with his wife and daughter. The 77-year-old musician has been in ailing health for some time.

He was chosen for the Delta Hall of Fame by a committee that included pianist Al Harris.

“We knew we wanted him in the hall of fame since it opened," Harris said on Saturday. "We just bumped him to the top of the list because we wanted to do it while he was alive." The museum opened its doors in 2002.

Domino was rescued from the Ninth Ward in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina ravaged the area in August 2005.

"Hurricane Katrina led a path of destruction through my home," Domino wrote. "However, she would not destroy my faith in God and my love of music and my fans."

Domino still plans to perform at the 2006 Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans in May, said Banquer.

Born Antoine Domino in 1928 in New Orleans, Domino was taught to play the piano at an early age. He also started to sing and first performed in public at age 10.

He signed with Imperial Records in 1949. A song about drugs called The Fat Man was cleaned up for his first commercial release and reached the R&B chart in 1950.

The song's title became a nickname for Domino.

In 1955, his song Ain't That A Shame was covered by Pat Boone. Boone's version went to the Number 1 spot in the charts while Domino's version on Imperial climbed to Number 10.

Domino went on to have a string of Top 40 hits during the 1950s including Blueberry Hill, Blue Monday, Whole Lotta' Loving, I Want To Walk You Home and Be My Guest.

By the end of the decade, Fats had 65 million record sales, outselling all other rock-and-rollers except Elvis Presley. Fats Domino had his final Top 10 song in 1960 with Walking To New Orleans.

Domino has been a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame since 1986 and of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame since 1998.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards in 1987.