One of the most beloved singers of all time, Nat King Cole’s life was as extraordinary as his music. From his humble beginnings in Alabama to his meteoric rise to fame, he was a man who always strived for excellence. His voice was praised by critics and fans alike, and he sold millions of records over the course of his career. He also became the first African-American to host a television variety show. Sadly, he passed away at a young age, but his legacy lives on. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Nat King Cole’s life and achievements.
Nat King Cole’s youth
He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 17, 1919. His father Edward James Cole was a Baptist minister, and his mother Perlina Coles was a homemaker. Nat had four siblings: Eddie Jr., Frank, Fred, and Irma. The family struggled financially, but always managed to get by. Edward often took on odd jobs to make ends meet.
Nat began playing the piano at the age of four with natural talent. By the age of 12, he was already touring with his own band. His father didn’t approve of his musical aspirations, but Nat persisted anyway. He dropped out of high school to pursue his dream.
Nat King Cole’s early career
Cole’s career began to take off in the 1940s. He recorded his first hit song, “Sweet Lorraine”, in 1940. It was followed by a series of other hit songs, such as “Nature Boy” and “Mona Lisa”. His popularity continued to grow, and he soon became one of the world’s most famous singers.
Nat King Cole’s career
In addition to his successful musical career, Cole also became the first African-American to host a television variety show. The Nat King Cole Show debuted in 1956 and featured guests such as Ella Fitzgerald, Marlon Brando and Sammy Davis Jr. Despite its success, the show was canceled after just one season due to low ratings .
Cole’s last years and his death
In 1964, Cole was diagnosed with lung cancer. He continued to perform and record music until his health began to fail. He died on February 15, 1965 at the age of 45. His death came as a shock to the whole world, and he was mourned by millions of fans.
Nat King Cole’s private life
In 1936, he moved to Chicago to join his older brother Eddie’s orchestra. It was here that he met and fell in love with Maria Ellington, Duke Ellington’s daughter. They married in 1937 and had five children together: Natalie, Carol, Nat Jr., Kelly and Timolin.
Nat King Cole’s best albums
Some of Nat King Cole’s best albums are “The King Cole Trio” (1944), “Nat King Cole Sings for Two in Love” (1952), “Love Is the Thing” (1957) and “The Touch of Your Lips” (1966). All these albums showcase Cole’s incredible vocal abilities and his talent for creating beautiful music.
Nat King Cole’s influences
Nat King Cole was influenced by many different musical genres, including jazz, blues, pop and gospel. He took elements from each of these genres and created his own unique sound.
Nat King Cole was a true pioneer in the world of music. He overcame many obstacles to become one of the most popular and respected singers of all time. He had a unique voice and a gift for conveying emotion through his music. Although he is no longer with us, his music will live on to inspire future generations. Thank you, Nat King Cole, for everything.
Other jazz singers
Harry Connick Jr.
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Ricki Lee Jones
Ella Mae Morse
Oscar Brown Jr.
Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer)
Big Joe Turner