During their heyday (and into the solo years), the Beatles often professed their love of Fats Domino. Songs such as "Lady Madonna" can be directly traced to the rock 'n' roll architect's influence. During a New Orleans stop on their 1964 tour, the Beatles had one request: they wanted to meet their idol. After the meeting, Domino later repaid the favor by covering three of their tunes: "Lady Madonna," "Lovely Rita," and his ebullient rendition of "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey." While covering the Beatles is often fraught with difficulty, Domino manages to incorporate his New Orleans style into the White Album rocker. In turn, he demonstrates the vast influence he wielded over British Invasion groups.
Flash back to 1964: The Beatles arrived for their New Orleans gig on September 16. After a frantic journey to their hotel, they were driven to City Park Stadium. There they had their requested meeting with Domino--an event that happened courtesy of one of the group's opening acts, Clarence "Frogman" Henry. Henry, a New Orleans-born artist who had recently joined the tour as a replacement for the Righteous Brothers (Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield had departed after growing tired of teenagers screaming "we want the Beatles" during their opening sets). Henry learned of the Beatles' desire to meet Domino, and decided to track down the reclusive star. According to Beatles author Bruce Spizer, Henry somehow reached Domino; subsequently, the musician and his manager, Bob Astor, were transported to the stadium for a brief meeting with his famous fans. After an hour of taking photos and singing songs, Domino left as the Beatles took the stage. Upon learning of Domino's recent death, Paul McCartney fondly remembered the encounter: "We were excited to meet Fats once in his home town of New Orleans," he said. "He was wearing a huge star spangled diamond encrusted watch which was our first encounter with bling!"
In 1969, Domino released his cover of "Everybody's Got Something to Hide" as a single on Reprise Records. The line "come on, it's such a joy" takes on new meaning in Domino's version; one can imagine Domino sporting his trademark grin as he sings the lyric. Unlike the Beatles' version, which features crunching guitars, this rendition prominently spotlights Domino's piano, along with some tasteful (almost country-inspired) guitar licks. "Oh yeah!" Domino cries as he tears into a piano solo. The break features an extended drum solo as well, but the real star is Domino's enthusiastic vocals. He clearly enjoys John Lennon's wordplay, delivering lines such as "Your inside is out / And your outside is in" and "The deeper you go / The higher you fly." As his piano gallops through the uptempo track, he urges us to "take it easy," a lyric that perfectly fits Domino's easy-going singing style.
While Domino's version of "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" is enjoyable on its own merits, it is significant for another reason. It symbolizes how British Invasion artists--and rock musicians in general--owe Domino a great deal. His blend of R&B, blues, and New Orleans jazz helped form the very foundations of rock 'n' roll, paving the way for future musicians. Perhaps no one described his vast influence better than Lennon himself: "There wouldn't have been a Beatles without Fats Domino."