Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Today is the birthday of Nat King Cole, who was born on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. Cole began his career as a jazz pianist and singer before achieving more mainstream success by being backed by a string orchestra. His many hits include The Christmas Song,Nature Boy, Mona Lisa, Too Young, Unforgettable & Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer. He became the first black entertainer to host a show of its kind on network television in 1956, when The Nat King Cole Show premiered. Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Eartha Kitt, Mel Tormé & Peggy Lee were among the stars who appeared on his show. The series, however, would only last a little over a year. Cole and NBC both suffered financially due to the lack of sponsorship for the show. That's such a shame because it's a wonderful show. I've been able to watch it on the BET J channel. Unfortunately he found himself the victim of countless instances of racism throughout his life and career, including an attempted kidnapping and having a burning cross on his lawn. Cole recorded all kinds of music, not just jazz or pop, but everything from country to Latin. He died of lung cancer on February 15, 1965. Nat King Cole is still a much loved and popular entertainer decades after his death. His daughter Natalie did a virtual duet with her father on Unforgettable in the early 1990's. The song was a commercial and critical success. I want to raise a toast today to the amazing Nat King Cole. Cheers!
Here are three videos featuring Nat King Cole. I'm not sure if all three are from his show or not. I think they are though. I hope you will enjoy them all.
Nat King Cole - Unforgettable
Nat King Cole & Harry Belafonte - Mama Look A Boo Boo
Nat King Cole & Sammy Davis Jr. - Somewhere Along The Way (Nat & Sammy do impressions of each other during this song. I loved it!)