Nat King Cole
Singer, musician
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first black Americans to host a television variety show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death.
Biography
Nat King Cole's personal information overview.
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News
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Jazz Journal, September 2011 contents in full - Jazz Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Plus a host of reissues or unissued archive material, including: Gene Ammons, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Anthony Braxton, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Serge Chaloff, Nat Cole, Ornette Coleman, Jamie Cullum, Jim Galloway, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie,
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'Paul Robeson' tells of immense talent, activism - Charlotte Observer
Google News - over 5 years
Jackie Robinson, Nat Cole, George Washington Carver and Joe Louis, masters of their crafts who usually endured bigotry with stoic silence, were "credits" to black people everywhere. Robeson was not. White society found his preachments for peace and
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Maudslay winds up season with Broadnax, Walker Creek Band - Foster's Daily Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
... drummer Les Harris, Jr. Known for his "King Thing" (Nat Cole's singing and playing), and the powerful influence of Joe Williams, Broadnax has appeared with many nationally recognized jazz artists including such notables as Clark Terry, Joe Williams
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The Off-Handed Cool of Michael Franks - PopMatters
Google News - over 5 years
And there was also this singer from Southern California with a Masters in English who managed to combine the sensibilities of Nat Cole, Antonia Carlos Jobim, Dave Frishberg, and… James Taylor, maybe? Michael Franks was from La Jolla, California—born
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Peter Lamb & the Wolves, Shana Tucker Quartet - The Independent Weekly
Google News - over 5 years
Lamb's arrangements of Ray Charles, Nat Cole, Tom Waits and Astor Piazzolla throw the classics for a toe-tapping loop-de-loop. Meanwhile, beautiful intensity exudes from the "chambersoul" of Shana Tucker, a singer-songwriter whose main instrument is
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Grandpa's iPod - Marinscope Community Newspapers
Google News - over 5 years
And the crooners: Crosby, Sinatra, Bennett, Damone, Dick Haymes, Perry Como, Nat Cole. And the “songbirds”: Martha Tilton, Margaret Whiting, Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford. What a lush time it was for pop music
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Cadence: 4 Men, 4 Microphones, No Instruments - JazzTimes Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
... Lennon and McCartney's “Drive My Car,” Stevie Wonder's “I Wish,” “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” Billy Joel's “She's Got a Way About Her” and such — plus the sturdiest of a capella jazz standards, Nat Cole and Irving Mills' “Straighten Up and Fly Right
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Q&A: A PR man still talks up his clients at age 93 - Houston Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
In 1952, we did a show with Duke Ellington, Nat Cole and Sarah Vaughan at the City Auditorium. A few years later I became promoter for the Harlem Globetrotters in Houston. When Goose Tatum left the Globetrotters, I started bringing Goose Tatum's Harlem
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How Uduaghan, Ogboru fought rerun petition war - The Nation Newspaper
Google News - over 5 years
But the evidence of Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim, NPF, Alagbon and Nat Cole were admitted despite strenuous protestation by Olanipekun. Then, Uduaghan began his defence. The contested local government areas are parts of Warri South, Warri South/West, Warri North,
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"Mit Drogen ist sie ein größerer Star als ohne" - sueddeutsche.de
Google News - over 5 years
"Frank" war ein stimmungsvolles Popalbum, dass sich explizit, aber mit viel Fingerspitzengefühl auf große Vorbilder des Soul, Jazz und R'n'B berief von Roy Ayers, Carole King, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat Cole, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles und Frank
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Monty Alexander Trio, Tourcoing Jazz Festival - viaFrance
Google News - over 5 years
Une série d'albums enivrants où son toucher, lumineux du coup, surfe sur la rythmique reggae. Après The Good life en hommage à Tony Bennet en 2008, Monty Alexander sort Calypso blues songs of Nat Cole en 2009, avant de débuter une nouvelle tournée en
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CALIFORNIAN: Trio to revive Cole's music at the Merc - North County Times
Google News - over 5 years
The Nat Cole Trio played a full evening of songs associated with Cole. Well, it will be more of the same tonight. Hughes put the act together four or five years ago, but Proulx said that each musician in the trio is so involved in other projects,
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Screaming Jets to play Summernats - The Canberra Times
Google News - over 5 years
Indie rockers Children Collide, blues band Nat Cole and the Kings and hip-hop act Drapht will play on the Friday night. The mix of genres for Friday's entertainment is a departure from the traditional rock-based Summernats entertainment
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From Madras to Melbourne - The Hindu
Google News - over 5 years
After teaching himself to play the banjo-mandolin, Tommy presented Nat Cole King's 'Pretend' — which he practised after listening to it on Radio Ceylon — and won a contest at the Railway Institute (Trichy), where Fernandes was a judge!
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Chuck Deardorf - Transparence - Origin Records - Audiophile Audition
Google News - over 5 years
The inventive guitarist Bruce Forman is the featured player on “Alone Together”, “Bruzette” and the Nat Cole-recorded classic “Sweet Lorraine”. Forman's brilliant playing provided a combination of tenacity and beauty to the offerings
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Serious standards, - Montreal Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Like Nat Cole, her piano and voice are in total sync. While sales figures prove her popularity, getting respect from the jazz police is another matter. Of course, she cares about respect from people she looks up to but, in another sense,
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Serious standards, Diana Krall style - Montreal Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Like Nat Cole, her piano and voice are in total sync. While sales figures prove her popularity, getting respect from the jazz police is another matter. Of course, she cares about respect from people she looks up to but, in another sense,
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Black Music(al) Month - Washington Informer
Google News - over 5 years
But through this drama, written by Dominic Taylor and directed by Lou Bellamy, a glance into the real Nat Cole, played by Dennis W. Spears, is revealed. Cole, who used the sanitizing effect of the camera to circumvent racial prejudice,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Nat King Cole
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  • 1965
    Sadly, the movie 'Cat Ballou' (his last movie) was a movie he never got to see, as he died during the post-production of the movie, and passed away a few weeks before its theatrical release in 1965.
    More Details Hide Details Cole entered St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica on December 7, and cobalt therapy was started on December 10. Frank Sinatra performed in Cole's place at the grand opening of the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center on December 12. Cole's condition gradually worsened, but he was released from the hospital over the New Year's period. At home Cole was able to see the hundreds of thousands of cards and letters that had been sent after news of his illness was made public. Cole returned to the hospital in early January. He also sent $5,000 to Hutton, who later telephoned Maria and implored her to divorce him. Maria confronted her husband, and Cole finally broke off the relationship with Hutton. Cole's illness reconciled him with his wife, and he vowed that if he recovered he would go on television to urge people to stop smoking. On January 25 Cole's left lung was removed. His father died of heart problems on February 1. Throughout Cole's illness his publicists promoted the idea that he would soon be well and working, despite the private knowledge of his terminal condition. Billboard magazine reported that "Nat King Cole has successfully come through a serious operation and... the future looks bright for 'the master' to resume his career again." On Valentine's Day Cole and his wife briefly left St. John's to drive by the sea.
    Until his death in 1965, Cole was an active and visible participant in the civil rights movement, playing an important role in planning the March on Washington in 1963.
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  • 1964
    Cole's last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded in early December 1964—just a few days before he entered the hospital for cancer treatment—and was released just before he died.
    More Details Hide Details It peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Albums chart in the spring of 1965. A Best Of album was certified a gold record in 1968. His 1957 recording of "When I Fall in Love" reached number 4 in the UK charts in 1987. In 1983, an archivist for EMI Electrola Records, a subsidiary of EMI Records (Capitol's parent company) in Germany, discovered some unreleased recordings by Cole, including one in Japanese and another in Spanish ("Tu Eres Tan Amable"). Capitol released them later that year as the LP Unreleased. In 1991, Mosaic Records released The Complete Capitol Records Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio, a compilation of 349 songs available as an 18-CD or a 27-LP set. In 2008 it was re-released in digital-download format through services like iTunes and Amazon Music. Also in 1991, Natalie Cole recorded a new vocal track that was mixed with her father's 1961 stereo re-recording of his 1951 hit "Unforgettable" for a tribute album of the same title. The song and album won seven Grammy awards in 1992 for Best Album and Best Song.
    In September 1964, Cole began losing weight and having back pain.
    More Details Hide Details His declining health was aggravated by the stresses of his personal and professional life. He was appearing in a touring musical revue, Sights and Sounds, commuting to Los Angeles to film music for Cat Ballou, and becoming increasingly involved in an extramarital relationship with a 19-year-old Swedish dancer, Gunilla Hutton, which led Maria Cole to contemplate divorce. Cole collapsed with pain after performing at the Sands in Las Vegas and was finally persuaded by friends to seek medical help in December, when he was working in San Francisco. A malignant tumor on his left lung, in an advanced state of growth, was observed on a chest X-ray. Cole, who had been a heavy cigarette smoker, had lung cancer, and it was expected that he had only months to live. He carried on working, against his doctors' wishes, and made his final recordings December 1–3 in San Francisco, with an orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael, released on the album L-O-V-E shortly before his death.
    In January 1964, Cole made one of his final television appearances, on The Jack Benny Program.
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  • 1961
    He was among the dozens of entertainers recruited by Frank Sinatra to perform at the Kennedy Inaugural gala in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Cole consulted with President Kennedy and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, on civil rights.
    The Coles were married in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. They had five children: Natalie (1950–2015), who had a successful career as a singer; an adopted daughter, Carole (1944–2009, the daughter of Maria's sister), who died of lung cancer at the age of 64; an adopted son, Nat Kelly Cole (1959–1995), who died of AIDS at the age of 36; and twin daughters, Casey and Timolin (born September 26, 1961), whose birth was announced in the "Milestones" column of Time magazine on October 6, 1961 (along with the birth of Melissa Newman).
    More Details Hide Details Maria supported him during his final illness and stayed with him until his death. In an interview, she emphasized his musical legacy and the class he exhibited despite his imperfections. In August 1948, Cole purchased a house from Col. Harry Gantz, the former husband of the silent film actress Lois Weber, in the all-white Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Ku Klux Klan, still active in Los Angeles well into the 1950s, responded by placing a burning cross on his front lawn. Members of the property-owners association told Cole they did not want any "undesirables" moving into the neighborhood. Cole retorted, "Neither do I. And if I see anybody undesirable coming in here, I'll be the first to complain." In 1956, Cole was assaulted on stage during a concert in Birmingham, Alabama, with the Ted Heath Band (while singing the song "Little Girl"). Having already circulated photographs of Cole with white female fans bearing incendiary boldface captions reading "COLE AND HIS WHITE WOMEN" and "COLE AND YOUR DAUGHTER," three men belonging to the North Alabama Citizens Council (a group led by Asa "Forrest" Carter, the author of Education of Little Tree, although he was not among the attackers) physically assaulted Cole, apparently attempting to kidnap him. The three assailants ran down the aisles of the auditorium towards Cole and his band. Local law enforcement quickly ended the invasion of the stage, but in the ensuing melée Cole was toppled from his piano bench and injured his back.
    Cole recorded some hit singles during the 1960s, including "Let There Be Love" with George Shearing in 1961, the country-flavored hit "Ramblin' Rose" in August 1962, "Dear Lonely Hearts", "That Sunday, That Summer" and "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" (his final top-ten hit, reaching number 6 on the Pop chart).
    More Details Hide Details He performed in many short films, sitcoms, and television shows and played W. C. Handy in the film St. Louis Blues (1958). He also appeared in The Nat King Cole Story, China Gate, and The Blue Gardenia (1953).
  • 1960
    In 1960, Cole's longtime collaborator Nelson Riddle left Capitol Records for Frank Sinatra's newly formed Reprise Records.
    More Details Hide Details Riddle and Cole recorded one final hit album, Wild Is Love, with lyrics by Ray Rasch and Dotty Wayne. Cole later retooled the concept album into an Off-Broadway show, I'm with You.
  • 1959
    In 1959, he was awarded a Grammy at the 2nd Annual Grammy Awards, the category Best Performance By a "Top 40" Artist, for his recording of "Midnight Flyer".
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  • 1958
    A Mis Amigos contains the Venezuelan hit "Ansiedad", whose lyrics Cole learned while performing in Caracas in 1958.
    More Details Hide Details He learned songs in languages other than English by rote. After the change in musical tastes during the late 1950s, Cole's ballad singing did not sell well with younger listeners, despite a successful stab at rock and roll with "Send for Me", which peaked at number 6 on the Pop chart. Along with his contemporaries Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, Cole found that the pop singles chart had been almost entirely taken over by youth-oriented acts.
    In 1958, Cole went to Havana, Cuba, to record Cole Español, an album sung entirely in Spanish.
    More Details Hide Details The album was so popular in Latin America, and also in the United States, that two others of the same variety followed: A Mis Amigos (sung in Spanish and Portuguese) in 1959 and More Cole Español in 1962.
  • 1957
    The last episode of The Nat King Cole Show aired December 17, 1957.
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    Jenkins arranged Love Is the Thing, hitting number 1 on the charts in April 1957 and remaining for eight weeks, his only number 1 hit.
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  • 1956
    Cole sang at the 1956 Republican National Convention in the Cow Palace, Daly City, California, to show support for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
    More Details Hide Details He sang "That's All There Is to That" and was "greeted with applause." He was also present at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 to support Senator John F. Kennedy.
    On November 5, 1956, The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC.
    More Details Hide Details The variety program was the first of its kind hosted by an African American, which created controversy at the time. Beginning as a 15-minute pops show on Monday night, the program was expanded to a half-hour in July 1957. Despite the efforts of NBC, as well as many of Cole's industry colleagues—many of whom, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Frankie Laine, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt, Tony Bennett and the backing vocal group the Cheerleaders, worked for industry scale (or even for no pay) in order to help the show save money—The Nat King Cole Show was ultimately done in by lack of a national sponsorship. Companies such as Rheingold Beer assumed regional sponsorship of the show, but a national sponsor never appeared.
    Cole's shift to pop music led some jazz critics and fans to accuse him of selling out, but he never abandoned his jazz roots; as late as 1956 he recorded an all-jazz album, After Midnight, and many of his albums after this are fundamentally jazz-based, being scored for big band without strings, although the arrangements focus primarily on the vocal rather than instrumental leads.
    More Details Hide Details Cole had one of his last major hits in 1963, two years before his death, with "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer", which reached number 6 on the Pop chart. "Unforgettable" was made famous again in 1991 by Cole's daughter Natalie when modern recording technology was used to reunite father and daughter in a duet. The duet version rose to the top of the pop charts, almost forty years after its original popularity.
    Completed in 1956, it was the world's first circular office building and became known as "The House that Nat Built".
    More Details Hide Details Cole was considered a leading jazz pianist, appearing in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts (credited on the Mercury Record label as "Shorty Nadine"—derived from his wife's name—as he was under exclusive contract with Capitol Records at the time). His revolutionary lineup of piano, guitar, and bass in the era of the big band became a popular setup for jazz trios. It was emulated by many musicians, among them Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and the blues pianists Charles Brown and Ray Charles. He also performed as a pianist on sessions with Lester Young, Red Callender, and Lionel Hampton. For contractual reasons, Cole was credited as "Aye Guy" on the album The Lester Young Buddy Rich Trio.
  • 1948
    On March 28, 1948 (Easter Sunday), just six days after his divorce became final, Cole married the singer Maria Hawkins Ellington (she had sung with the Duke Ellington band but was not related to Duke Ellington).
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    This marriage ended in divorce in 1948.
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  • 1946
    In 1946, the Cole trio paid to have their own 15-minute radio program on the air, King Cole Trio Time.
    More Details Hide Details It was the first radio program sponsored by a black performing artist. During those years, the trio recorded many "transcription" recordings, which were made in the radio studio for the broadcast. Later they were released as commercial records. Beginning in the late 1940s, Cole began recording and performing pop-oriented material for mainstream audiences, in which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra. His stature as a popular star was cemented during this period by hits such as "The Christmas Song", "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" (1946), "Nature Boy" (1948), "Mona Lisa" (1950), "Too Young" (the number 1 song in 1951), and his signature song, "Unforgettable" (1951) (Gainer 1). Cole's hit recording "The Christmas Song" was the first of his solo vocal recordings to be accompanied by a studio orchestra. This marked the start of his rise as an internationally acclaimed popular singer, with a smooth and sophisticated style.
  • 1943
    Cole's first mainstream vocal hit was his 1943 recording of one of his compositions, "Straighten Up and Fly Right", based on a black folk tale that his father had used as a theme for a sermon.
    More Details Hide Details Johnny Mercer invited him to record it for his fledgling Capitol Records. It sold over 500,000 copies, proving that folk-based material could appeal to a wide audience. Cole would never be considered a rocker, but the song can be seen as anticipating the first rock-and-roll records. Bo Diddley, who performed similar transformations of folk material, counted Cole as an influence.
    The King Cole Trio signed with the fledgling Capitol Records in 1943.
    More Details Hide Details The group had previously recorded for Excelsior Records, owned by Otis René, and had a hit with the song "I'm Lost", which René wrote, produced and distributed. Revenues from Cole's record sales fueled much of Capitol Records' success during this period. The revenue is believed to have played a significant role in financing the distinctive Capitol Records building near Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles.
  • 1936
    His older brother, Eddie, a bass player, soon joined Cole's band, and they made their first recording in 1936, under Eddie's name.
    More Details Hide Details They also were regular performers in clubs. Cole acquired his nickname, "King", performing at one jazz club, a nickname presumably reinforced by the otherwise unrelated nursery rhyme about Old King Cole. He was also a pianist in a national tour of Shuffle Along. When it suddenly failed in Long Beach, California, Cole decided to remain there. He later returned to Chicago in triumph to play such venues as the Edgewater Beach Hotel. The following year Cole formed a trio in Los Angeles with Oscar Moore (guitar) and Wesley Prince (double bass) known as the "King Cole Swingsters" in Long Beach and played in a number of local bars before getting a gig on the Long Beach Pike for US $90.00 per week ($ in 2015). The trio consisted of Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Wesley Prince on double bass. The trio played in Failsworth through the late 1930s and recorded many radio transcriptions for Capitol Transcriptions. Cole was the pianist and also the leader of the combo. Radio was important to the King Cole Trio's rise in popularity. Their first broadcast was with NBC's Blue Network in 1938. It was followed by performances on NBC's Swing Soiree. In the 1940s, the trio appeared on the radio shows Old Gold, The Chesterfield Supper Club and Kraft Music Hall. The King Cole Trio performed twice on CBS Radio's variety show The Orson Welles Almanac in 1944.
    Cole left Chicago in 1936 to lead a band in a revival of Eubie Blake's revue Shuffle Along.
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  • 1919
    Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 17, 1919.
    More Details Hide Details He had three brothers—Eddie (1910–1970), Ike (1927–2001), and Freddy (born 1931)—and a half-sister, Joyce Coles. Each of his brothers pursued careers in music. When Nat was four years old, he and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where his father, Edward Coles, became a Baptist minister. Nat learned to play the organ from his mother, Perlina Coles, the church organist. His first performance was of "Yes! We Have No Bananas" at the age of four. He began formal lessons at 12 and eventually learned not only jazz and gospel music but also Western classical music; he performed "from Johann Sebastian Bach to Sergei Rachmaninoff." The family lived in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, where he attended Wendel Phillips High School (the same school Sam Cooke attended a few years later). Cole would sneak out of the house and hang around outside clubs, listening to artists such as Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines and Jimmie Noone. He participated in Walter Dyett's renowned music program at DuSable High School.
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