Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole

Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17, 1919.

Inspired by the playing of Fatha Hines, Nat Cole began his performing career in the mid 1930s while he was still a teenager, and adopted the name Nat “King” Cole presumably from the nursery rhyme about “Old King Cole”.

In 1944 his first hits as a vocalist were “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “Sweet Lorraine.” In 1946, his first #1 chart topper, “I Love You For Sentimental Reasons” and “The Christmas Song,” still an annual holiday favorite, began to create his “velvet voice” image.

His stature as a popular music star was cemented during the 1950’s with “Nature Boy,” “For Sentimental Reasons,” Nat’s signature song “Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa,” “Embraceable You,” “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” “Smile,” “Pretend,” “If I May,” “Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup,” “A Blossom Fell,” “Answer Me My Love,” “Forgive My Heart,” “To Young To Go Steady,” “Night Lights,” “Ballerina,” “Send For Me,” “Looking Back” and “Non Dimenticar.”

As the 1960’s progressed, Nat once again found success with Hit Parade toppers, “Ramblin’ Rose,” “Dear Lonely Hearts,” “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Day of Summer” and “That Sunday, That Summer”.

Over a period of 23 years, Nat King Cole landed on the Hit Parade 118 times with 21 top ten hits.

With more than 50 albums to his credit, Nat Cole’s unparalleled sale of records helped fuel much of Capitol Records’ success it the labels early years and is widely acknowledged to have played a significant role in financing the distinctive Capitol Records building on Vine Street in Los Angeles, California. Completed in 1956, the world’s first circular office building was and is known by many as “the house that Nat built.”

Nat “King” Cole was the first African American to have his own radio program. He repeated that success in the late-1950s with the first truly national television show starring an African-American.

At just 45 years of age, Nat “King” Cole, a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer in February 1965 while still at the height of his singing career.

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.