Label and Sleeve from Fats Domino's 45 RPM Single of “Blue Monday,” 1956.
Label from Smiley Lewis's 45 RPM Single of “Blue Monday,” 1954.
Pop artists were not the only ones to record covers of R&B musicians. Many artists within R&B recorded each other’s hits to capitalize on popular tunes. Fats Domino recorded a number of songs that were originally performed by other musicians, particularly those from his label, Imperial, that were originally written by his frequent co-author and co-producer, Dave Bartholomew.
One such song is “Blue Monday,” originally recorded by R&B musician Smiley Lewis. Lewis’ version is a bit slower, with a lengthy guitar solo in the middle of the piece. In addition to a slightly faster tempo, Domino’s voice contrasts sharply with Lewis's rougher manner of singing. Fats Domino’s existing popularity and smooth style helped his version of the song climb the charts much faster than the original by Lewis.
Other songs like “Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday,” and “I Hear You Knockin’” featured faster tempos, as Domino pushed these songs further into the quick dancing pace associated with R&B. In these songs, Domino also included saxophones more prominently, filling out the rhythm section with a saxophone duo or trio, or replacing guitar and piano solos with saxophone solos.