As a Beatleologist I would be remiss in not mentioning the death this week of Fats Domino, whom the Fabs often acknowledged as a major influence, and whom they went out of their way to meet when they played in New Orleans in 1964. (When asked if he’d ever gotten to meet The Beatles, Fats deadpanned, “No, they got to meet me.”) His influence on their music is perhaps less palpable than, say, Chuck Berry’s, for the simple reason that they were a guitar band and Fats was a pianist. But “Lady Madonna” is a straight-up Domino homage, with Paul doing his level honky best to sound like the great man.

Fats returned the favor by covering “Lady Madonna,” as well as “Lovely Rita” and, my favorite, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey.” And unlike many older artists, he managed to maintain his dignity while doing Beatles songs, putting his own spin on each one. In fact, listening to his “Madonna,” you can easily imagine that it’s the original and Paul’s was the cover.

It’s a bit bonkers to think that, as some long-lost tweet I read earlier this week pointed out, Fats’ first records were 78s and he lived into the age of streaming, outlasting vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks, and CDs. He did not make it onto the Voyager Golden Record, unfortunately — that was Chuck again — but it’s a measure of his impact that his songs have been done by everyone from Elvis to the late Tom Petty, Gene Autry to Led Zeppelin, Yellowman to…um…Vladimir Putin? Yes, it’s true.

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