I AM WORKING ON A PIECE for this blog that inspired this brief piece below. It’s titled “What Was the First Rock & Roll LP Album of the ’50s?” and at one point I turned to Wikipedia for information. Specifically, I was interested in determining the release date of Fats Domino’s first album, Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino. I wasn’t prepared for what I found, although I should have been.
But first, some background: recently, I published another article on my A Touch Of Gold website. It addressed the error-ridden Wikipedia entry for ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOLUME 2, including the album’s sub-title “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.”
My article is titled “50,000,000 wikipedia contributors can’t be wrong,” and Frank Daniels made major contributions to the research. 1
Afterward, he and I were chatting about the state of Wikipedia as a go-to source, and he made a piquant (don’t just read on—look it up) observation:
“It’s interesting for me to observe this sort of sloppiness yet again in Wikipedia, given that their articles on quantum mechanics and graduate-level mathematics are quite accurate. That’s the difference between having a science professor as an editor and, oh, say Elvis’ 50,000,001st fan.”
And Amen to that!
And since that exchange, both Frank and I have found incident after incident where Wiki entries are factually challenged. Granted that many are entertaining, but only if the reader knows that they are errors. If not, they’re just adding more drivel and misinformation already circulating among the millions of websites of otherwise well-intentioned site owners.
And the beat goes on (lah-dee-dah-dee-dah) and now back to the Fat Man …
This is the cover to Fats Domino’s second album: Imperial LP-9004, which everyone refers to as ROCK AND ROLLIN’ WITH FATS DOMINO because of this cover, which certainly seems to indicate that is the correct title. Technically, when the title on the jacket and the record conflict, the title on the label is usually considered the official title. Here the label for LP-9004 is simply FATS DOMINO—and that’s the correct title of the album, regardless of the cover above.
Rock and rollin’ with Fats Domino
Here is the main text in the entry “Rock and Rollin’ with Fats Domino” as it appeared on Wikipedia on July 17, 2016. The text is exactly as it appeared in the opening section and the “Release history” for this entry on Wikipedia.
Except I broke the text up into smaller paragraphs, and I eliminated the excessive hyperlinks so common to Wikipedia text. More important, I also eliminated the Wiki footnote numbers at the end of sentences within the text.
I then added my own footnote numbers so that I could address each error in this article in a reader-friendly manner. These numbers are in blue superscript so that they are easily seen and recognized. My numbered commentary follows the Wiki article:
Rock and Rollin’ with Fats Domino, originally released as Carry on Rockin’ , is the 1955 debut album by R&B pianist and vocalist Fats Domino, compiling a number of his hits and other material, some of which would soon become hits .
The album, which featured a woodcut portrait of the musician, reached #17 on the Billboard “Pop Albums” chart . It is believed to have been produced by engineer Bunny Robyn due to the notation on the cover “A Robyn Recording” .
Wikipedia got the title wrong, they got the catalog number wrong, and they got the year wrong. But at least they got the artist right!
The album was first released on Imperial Records, catalog #9009 , under the title Carry on Rockin’ in November 1955  and reissued under the title Rock and Rollin’ With Fats Domino .
Various dates are given for the re-issue . The Great Rock Discography indicates that Imperial 9009 was reissued under alternate title in October 1956 and March 1957, but the Domino biography Blue Monday indicates April 1956 .
When Domino left Imperial in 1963 to join Paramount, Imperial retained the rights to this and several other of Domino’s notable albums, reissuing it on LP as recently as 1981. It has subsequently been reissued in conjunction with another early Domino album, Million Sellers By Fats, as Rock and Rollin’ with Fats Domino/Million Sellers By Fats .
That is the end of the text from the Wikipedia entry that I am using for this article. There is a little more (song info, track listing, etc.), but it has nothing to do with this issue.
Here is the British version of ROCK AND ROLLIN’ WITH FATS DOMINO from London Records. Great photo of Fats but the title is rather awkward—unless the phrasing has meaning in England that is lost on us here in the States.
Facts are only facts when they’re factual
Here are my comments on the statements above. While this may seem like anywhere from petty to overkill, it’s Wikipedia’s sole purpose is to transfer information. And erroneous information ain’t no information at all.
1. Carry On Rockin’ was NOT the original title of this album. Quite the opposite: Carry On Rockin’ was the title given by London Records for the British version of the album released a few months after the US original. London handled manufacturing and distribution of Imperial product in the UK and on the Continent.
2. Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino is a compilation of previously released material, being compiled of sides from hit singles released 1949-1956. Wiki got the “would soon become hits” part wrong because they have an incorrect release date for the album (see 6 below).
3. In the ’50s, the Billboard LP survey was titled “Popular Albums.” Believe it or not, it had only fifteen to thirty positions! It did not expand to 150 positions until 1963, when it was known as “Top LP’s.” And Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino didn’t reach #17 on the Billboard survey until March 1957. 2
4. The note “A Robyn Recording” did not appear on the initial jackets for Imperial LP-9004 (above top); it was added to later jackets (above bottom). Abraham “Bunny” Robyn owned Master Recorders studio in Los Angeles, where he often acted as engineer for the sessions held there—such as the ones with Fats. Domino’s producer was always Dave Bartholomew.
This is Fats Domino’s second album: Imperial LP-9009, which everyone refers to as just ROCK AND ROLLIN’ because of the jacket. Please notice that the title of the album on the record’s label is simply FATS DOMINO. When the titles on a jacket and a record conflict, the title on the label is usually considered the official title of the album.
5. The catalog number for Fats Domino’s first 12” LP album Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino is Imperial LP-9004. The catalog number for Fats Domino’s second 12” LP album, the similarly titled Rock And Rollin’ from later in 1956, was Imperial LP-9009.
6. Imperial inaugurated its line of 12″ long-playing albums in July 1956 by releasing several titles at once. This included LP-9004, Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino.
7. This sentence has four errors, two of regard the album’s title, which were covered in 1 and 6 above.
8. Since Wiki has the titles confused, they refer to the original title as the re-issue.
9. Martin Strong’s The Great Rock Discography: Complete Discographies Listing Every Track Recorded by More Than 1,200 Artists appears to be the source of much of the “data” in this Wiki entry. Alas, it is one of the most error-ridden and confusing books ever published about any music genre.
Based on this Fats Domino entry and so many other Wiki articles on popular music that I have read lately, the Strong book must be required reading for Wiki contributors.
10. What they meant to say is that the two LPs Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino (LP-9004) and Million Sellers By Fats (LP-9195) were issued together on one compact disc (Collectables COL-CD-2722). 3
Imperial broke the twelve-track LP album up into three EP albums of four tracks each (Imperial IMP-138, 139, and 140). They kept the same artwork and title but changed the main color for each number.
My conclusions will cause confusions
1. The correct title of Fats Domino’s first 33⅓ long-playing album (Imperial LP-9004, July 1956) is FATS DOMINO.
2. The correct title of Fats Domino’s second 33⅓ long-playing album (Imperial LP-9009, September 1956) is FATS DOMINO.
3. But let’s continue calling these two albums by their incorrect titles: ROCK AND ROLLIN’ WITH FATS DOMINO (9004) and ROCK AND ROLLIN’ (9009). That way we can differentiate one from the other. 4
Finally, as Mark Twain so famously (supposedly) said, “It ain’t what you know that gets you in trouble—it’s what you know that just ain’t so.”
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was taken in the mid-1950s. Fats has his trademark flat-top haircut but only two rings.
1 There was a follow-up article titled “50 neal umphred fans can’t be wrong.”
2 That it would take the album eight months to peak may seem weird, but aside from Elvis, rock & roll albums really didn’t sell that many copies in the ’50s—especially those by black rhythm & blues artists.
3 Look up the word conjunction, because the Wiki contributor and his editor didn’t.
4 “Most of the time, with the smaller companies and the cheapo budget labels, the cover is correct and the labels contain little information. Imperial wasn’t a cheapo, but it’s clear from the design that they did not really intend to have two albums named only FATS DOMINO. They just didn’t put the title on the label.” (Frank Daniels)