NPR logo

Blue Monday

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17075949/17026761" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
'Mondays' Still a Mess in Fats Domino's World

'Mondays' Still a Mess in Fats Domino's World

Blue Monday

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17075949/17026761" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Blue Mondays"
  • Artist: Randy Newman
  • CD: Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
  • Genre: Soul

Randy Newman is usually at his best when he sings about how much life sucks. courtesy of Randy Newman hide caption

toggle caption
courtesy of Randy Newman

A pianist's nimble fingers thump out one of the oldest and most charming barrelhouse intros in the book, hitting a few bass notes to set the stage. Ready, set, sing: "Blue Mondays / I hate blue Mondays / Got to work like a slave all day."

The wry, dry voice belongs to the great Randy Newman, who's usually at his best when he sings about how much life sucks. He's one of 30-plus artists who cut new versions of Fats Domino oldies for a tribute album titled Goin' Home. Proceeds from the two-disc set will go to shore up the musical life of Domino's beloved New Orleans.

Tribute albums are often larded with clunkers, but Goin' Home seems to have infected the musicians with the spirit of Fats. Still, Newman does it better than any of them — even the gilded likes of Paul McCartney and Norah Jones. He sings in his own cracked and distinctive voice, yet captures the rollicking, carefree spirit (and pounding piano) of Fats Domino. The song really holds up, too. Fifty-three years after it was a Top 5 hit for Domino, its lyrics still deliver an important philosophical message about the days of the week: On Sunday, you better get your rest, because "Monday is a mess."

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

This story originally ran on Dec. 10, 2007.