NEW ORLEANS -- There was a bit of music history made on N. Rampart St. Friday. The building that once housed Cosimo Matassa's J&M recording studio, which some call the birthplace of rock and roll, was honored as a landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
While the building houses a laundromat today, more than 60 years ago, it was an appliance store with a recording studio in the back. It was also the place where, in 1949, Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew recorded the song which many say gave birth to the rock and roll era.
“When Dave and Fats made ‘The Fat Man,’ you can make a statement that that’s the conceptual point for all this music,” said Terry Stewart of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Along with organizers of the Ponderosa Stomp music festival, the Hall of Fame created Friday’s ceremony, which featured the unveiling of a plaque at the site of J&M Studios.
There were so many hits that came out of that building in the 1950s and 60s, with Cosimo Matassa at the helm.
Over the years, dozens of local stars recorded there, from Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas and Little Richard to Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price and Frankie Ford. All helped to influence generations of music lovers.
Bartholomew, who collaborated with Domino on dozens of big hits, wowed the crowd at Friday’s ceremony with his horn. When someone said something from the audience at Friday’s event, Bartholomew, who turns 90 in December, answered in a way only he could, singing his version of a song Chuck Berry had a monster hit with – “My Ding-a-Ling.”
It was music that brought a laugh and smile to a ceremony which touched the hearts and souls of New Orleans music lovers, honoring Cosimo Matassa and his impact on the worldwide music scene.