SONG: Blue Monday
ARTIST: Fats Domino
Listen to it here:
Blue Monday was written by David Bartholomew in 1953 and originally recorded and released by Smiley Lewis in 1954. The most popular version was recorded by Fats Domino in 1956, and Fats claims some of the songwriting credit! The song was featured in the movie The Girl Can’t Help It and was one of the first R&B songs to make the Billboard charts.
For more on Fats Domino, go back to our review of his album This Is Fats!
Fats Domino left school at age 14 to work in a bed spring factory.
Trip-a-let trip-a-let trip-a-let. Apparently this song is on the Fats Domino album we reviewed, but I found most of the songs on that album pretty forgettable honestly! This song is…fine. It’s fine. I like Fats’ voice and think he’s legitimately a good singer, those triplets on the piano seem to be his signature. I’m not expecting every song we listen to on here to be life changing, but I felt nothing listening to it. I didn’t even notice when it was over. I don’t think it’s a bad or horrible song, I’m not offended by it, I just find it to be the sonic equivalent of dryer lint. Tepid dishwater. Boiled potatoes. Actually no, I lied – I’m offended by the sax solo. Admittedly my ear is not nearly as good as it used to be when I was in music school and singing and studying music all the time, but right away I was like ‘oh a sax solo. These can be hit or miss. That’s not in tune. At all. That’s NOT in TUNE. *furiously texts Dr Saxophone (Holly)* Isn’t this a bad sax solo????’. It sounds like they’re playing a plastic reed on a mouthpiece too small. Just no. Sorry Fats, I’m going to stick with Ain’t That a Shame.
We reviewed the album this song is pulled from earlier on in this adventure, and I have to say that this song, like all the songs on that album, sounds much better as a one-off. When you remember that there are another 15 songs featuring blues chords, triplets in the piano, hi-hat, and out of tune saxophone, this song loses some of its shine. First, the good things: Fats Domino sounds fairly high energy and enjoyable in this song. I remember in other songs from this album his voice sounded strained and not always comfortable. Also, the piano and drums seem to groove together pretty well, even though there’s nothing particularly interesting about their parts. Now for the worst part: the baritone saxophone. My god man, I listened to a REMASTERED version, which unfortunately might make the tuning atrocities even more evident. This saxophone player is out of tune, and with the least vibrant, most bland tone I’ve heard in a while. Sometimes when your reed is near dead, you can get a little bit of that tone, but this is next level. The solo also brings down the energy of the song as a whole. I swore I wouldn’t do this on the blog, but this song is getting a super low mark BECAUSE of the saxophone player. I’m doing this because I think his major issues are ones that aren’t “saxophone issues” that only a saxophone player would pick up on or something. Fats- the 1950s was a great time for saxophonists, was this really the best you could get????
Average mark out of 10:
Other notable versions of this song:
Buddy Holly with a superior version:
Bobby Darin with a great version!
Good ol’ Randy Newman making it his own:
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Link to 1,001 Songs to Hear Before You Die spotify playlist: