Ain't That A Shame

Album: Carry On Rockin' (1955)
Charted: 23 10
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  • 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, it 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.

    According to Boone, both Domino and Little Richard (another artist he covered) appreciated his efforts. In an interview with Songfacts, he said: "When I recorded their songs, my records of their songs sold 10 times that - and introduced them to the white audiences, or the pop audiences. So, they were grateful for my having recorded their songs. And of course, we became friends, as well."
  • Like he did on "I'm Walking," Domino made sure the beginning of this song was quite memorable, since if the hook comes right at the beginning, it's more likely to be heard.

    You may not know the lyrics, but you probably know how the song starts:

    You made... (bomp bomp)
    Me cry... (bomp bomp)
    When you said... (bomp bomp)
    Goodbye... (bomp bomp)
    Ain't that a shame

    This was a favorite songwriting trick of Domino's, as he looked for a good, simple section to start a song. And even though songs like this one were often attached to melancholy lyrics, it was the sound that Domino felt was important - if he could make it sound happy, it would evoke pleasant memories.
  • 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 1973 movie American Graffiti. It was also used in the movie October Sky.
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation, and Sam - Lincoln, NE
  • In 2007, this was used in commercials for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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.
  • A sample of this song is used as a response to an alien invasion in Buchanan & Goodman's 1956 hit, "The Flying Saucer."
  • Jon Batiste and Gary Clark, Jr. performed this in tribute to Domino at the Grammy Awards in 2018 along with "Maybellene," in honor of another rock legend who died in 2017, Chuck Berry.

Comments: 15

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyDave Bartholomew, one of the architects of rock and roll, passed away at the age of 100 on June 23rd, 2019...
    He partnered with Fats Domino on early rock classics including co-writing “Ain’t That a Shame.” The New Orleans trumpeter, band leader, producer, songwriter, and arranger was involved in many iconic songs including “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Blueberry Hill,” “I’m Walking,” and “I Hear You Knocking”...
    Bartholomew was band leader for one of New Orleans premier R&B bands when he became an A&R man for Imperial Records. At Imperial, he brought in Fats Domino, working with him on combining R&B with big band, jazz, and country to create early rock and roll. Bartholomew was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDoes anyone know who Fat's band members were?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: {10-25-2017}
    Antoine 'Fats' Domino, pioneering R&B and Rock pianist and vocalist, died Tuesday night (October 24th, 2017) at his home in Harvey, Louisiana at the age of 89, surrounded by his family...
    Born in the New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward, he was taught to play piano by his brother-in-law and played with the band “The Solid Senders” there in the ‘40s. Embarking upon a solo career, he recorded “The Fat Man” with producer Dave Bartholmew in 1949 for Imperial Records. It began a string of successes for Fats and Dave (who often co-wrote the songs), such as “Blueberry Hill” (#2-1957), “I’m In Love Again” (#3-1956), “I’m Walkin’” (#4-1957), “Blue Monday” (#5-1957) and “Whole Lotta Loving” (#6-1959)...
    All told, Fats appeared 66 times on the pop charts alone and a dozen top ten R&B hits before that. He was feared dead in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but it was later learned he had been rescued by the Coast Guard and taken to Baton Rouge. Fats was an initial inductee into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of fame in 1986. He received a Lifetime Achivement Grammy in 1987. He was given the National Medal of the Arts in 1998. Fats appeared in the movies 'Shake, rattle And Rock!' and 'The Girl Can’t Help It' in 1956. His last public performance was ten years ago...
    May he R.I.P.
    Personal note: I was 10 years old in 1955, and in the late 50s I had five idols, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, & Elvis; and now, sadly, only Richard remains.
  • Max from Raleigh, NcIn 1963 the Four Seasons recorded a version that went to #22 on Billboard.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 22nd 1955, Fats Domino was to appear in concert at the Ritz Ballroom in Bridgeport, CT; but the city police canceled the show because they discovered that 'rock & roll dancing might be featured ', plus earlier in that month there was a rock show riot at the New Haven Arena in New Haven, CT...
    At the time Fats' "Ain't That a Shame" was at #3 on Billboard's Best Selling R&B Records in Stores chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 20th 1955, Elvis and Pat Boone appeared at Brooklyn High School in Cleveland, Ohio at 1:30 p.m., and later that day at 8:00 PM they performed at Cleveland's St. Michaels Hall...
    There are many who claim that Elvis & Pat never spoke to each other since there are no known photos showing them together...
    At the time Elvis' "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" was at #7 on Billboard's Country & Western Best Sellers in Stores chart...
    Pat had two records on the Pop Best Sellers in Stores chart; "At My Front Door" at #13 and "Ain't That a Shame" at #15...
    On the same bill were the Four Lads, and their version of "Moments to Remember" was at #4 on the Pop Best Sellers in Stores chart...
    There is also a claim of film footage showing Elvis performing, but it has never been shown in public {so draw your own conclusion}.
  • C Plus from Austin, TxI 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?
  • L from Bronx, NyThis song was written by Dave Bartholomew, not Fats Domino
  • Andrew from Birmingham, United StatesThis 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.
  • Josh from TorontoI 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.
  • Sara from Greenville, AlFats 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."
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis 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
  • Daniel from Tecate, MexicoThis 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.
  • Devon from Westerville, Ohthis 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.
  • Wayne from Fort Atkinson, WiHank Williams, Jr. released a country version of the song in 1972 that got to #7 on the country charts.
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