March 17, 2014

Happy Birthday: Nat King Cole (1919-1965)

We join other villagers in celebrating today's anniversary of the birth of Nat King Cole. He was an amazing African American singer born in 1919 [SOURCE].

Nathaniel Adams Cole was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but grew up in Chicago. In 1937, after touring with a Black musical revue, he began playing in jazz clubs in Los Angeles. There he formed the King Cole Trio, with guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince, in 1939. With his compact, syncopated backup chords and clean, spare, melodic phrases, Cole emphasized the piano as a solo, rather than a rhythm, instrument in his jazz arrangements.

Commercial success came with his singing. After Straighten Up and Fly Right (1943), Cole gradually abandoned jazz piano for popular vocals. Among his other hits were Nature Boy, Mona Lisa, Too Young, and Unforgettable. Cole toured internationally and appeared in motion pictures. He first came to prominence as a jazz pianist but reached enormous popularity with his warm, relaxed, somewhat breathy-voiced ballad singing.

Jamie reminded villagers that he broke barriers with his television show in the 1950s.

He died February 15, 1965 in Santa Monica, California.

What is your favorite memory of Nat King Cole?


Jamie said...

Nat King Cole was remarkable. His TV Show was one of the few truly positive images available in the 1950s television. He presented an image of elegance and great talent in an era that made it difficult to find those images.

Villager said...

Jamie - I must admit that I wasn't able to watch his shows on television ... my parents used to go on and on about him. And I did grow up watching his daughter go thru her trials and tribulations. Anyhow, I'm glad to remind folks about him on this anniversary of his birth!

msladydeborah said...

I use to put on Nat King Cole 45's and sing right along with him when I was a little girl.

He was an amazing singer!

Monica Roberts said...

To me Nat King Cole is as much a part of my Christmas celebration as my Christmas dinner and presents under the tree.

He was also a trailblazing television personality as well and thank goodness we will always have his music around to listen to.