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Ain't That A Shame

by

Fats Domino



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is a heartache song about a breakup that was the other partner's fault. Domino wrote it with Dave Bartholomew, who worked on most of Domino's hits.
This was the first song to crossover from the R&B charts to the mostly white pop charts of the day. Like several other songs previously heard exclusively in black bars or nightclubs, this was covered by the crooning Pat Boone. Concerned about how educated, upper-class whites would respond to the title, he originally wanted it changed to "Isn't That a Shame," but the producers realized the original title would sell better and kept it.

Boone's cover was a huge hit, going to #1 on the US Pop charts and reaching #7 in the UK. This gave Domino's original recording a boost, and helped it cross over.
This was Fats Domino's first hit song that was not recorded in New Orleans, where the singer lived. He recorded it on March 15, 1955 in a Hollywood studio when he was on tour in Los Angeles. Imperial Records had the engineers compress Fats' vocals and speed up the song a bit to make the song sound less bluesy and give it more mainstream appeal. This also made it more difficult for other artists to cover the song.
In 1960, Domino recorded a sequel called "Walking To New Orleans," where he leaves and goes back to his hometown.
This was used in the 1972 movie American Graffiti. It was also used in the movie October Sky. (thanks, duff - Paris'suburb, France)
Cheap Trick's 1978 cover went to #35 in the US and helped make their At Budokan album a huge hit. A portion of the first guitar solo in their version, played by Rick Nielsen, is lifted from the opening harmonica riff from the Beatles' "Please Please Me." That same riff is also used in the guitar outro to the track "The House is Rockin' (Domestic Problems)" from the band's 1980 album Dream Police.
According to Nielsen, Cheap Trick got the idea to record the song after hearing John Lennon's 1975 cover version. (thanks, DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation, and Sam - Lincoln, NE)
In 2007, this was used in commercials for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. (thanks, Taylor - Bealeton, VA)
This was the first song that John Lennon learned to play. Lennon later recorded the song in a duet with Yoko Ono, and his fellow Beatle Paul McCartney also recorded the song.
Fats Domino
More Fats Domino songs
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Comments (9):

I have the Cheap Trick version from Budokan on the "Authorized Greatest Hits" collection. At about 4:50, there is a loud beeping in synchronization with the double beat rhythm. Is it my imagination or a memory from a video that the sound is actually from a forklift operated by a roadie?
- C Plus, Austin, TX
This song was written by Dave Bartholomew, not Fats Domino
- L, Bronx, NY
This one and "Blueberry Hill" sound nearly identical. Did Fats Domino do that intentionally? The first time I'd ever heard either of these hits, I can't recall which one; I know it was one of these two, though.
- andrew, birmingham, United States
I was watching a hockey game and suddenly I start singing this song. I hadn't heard it in 10 years and had no idea what I was singing. Then on my dads mp3 I was looking at Fats Domino, clicked this song randomly, and it played back some great memories. Awesome song.
- Josh, Toronto
Fats Domino wrote the song from real life. He was walking down the street and saw a little lady spanking a baby, and heard someone say "Ain't that a shame."
- Sara, Greenville, AL
This song was surprisingly not a hit in the UK when first released in 1955 - it became a UK hit nearly four decades later following its use in a popular TV Commercial for the soft drink Vimto
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
This song is in the movie "Mischief" along with alot of other 50's classic rock'n'roll. Worth watching and listening to. Great scene with Kelly Preston. Teenagers were thinking of the same thing
all through the decades, sex.
- Daniel, Tecate, Mexico
this song was also used in October Sky. It's during the sequence when they're firing off a number of their rockets and they either blow up or fly back at them.
- Devon, Westerville, OH
Hank Williams, Jr. released a country version of the song in 1972 that got to #7 on the country charts.
- Wayne, Fort Atkinson, WI
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