Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Unforgettable Nat King Cole

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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!)


20 comments:

kingchic said...

Nat King Cole was , for me, one of the most influential icons in musics history. This post truly touched me as I am a die hard fan of Mr. Cole and his brilliantly talented daughter.

[K]

Keith said...

Hey King. Thanks so much. I appreciate it. I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I'm a huge fan of Nat King Cole so it was a pleasure to do this post. Cheers!

Nancy Sinatra Fan said...

Hello Keith. This is an amazing post. I loved it so much. I'm also a big fan of Nat King Cole. He has a beautiful voice that truly melts my heart. Great clips you posted. I loved each of them. The one with Sammy was very cute.

Keith said...

Hey Phoebe. Thanks so much. I appreciate that. I've been listening to a lot of Nat King Cole recently. I had wanted to do a post on him for some time now. I had no clue his birthday was coming up. It worked out great. Cheers!

Couture Carrie said...

Lovely tribute, K!

xoxox,
CC

Keith said...

Thanks Carrie. Glad you liked it. Cheers!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie Keith, thought it woulda be so Dinoappro to have some music from our Dino and Mr. Cole together...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8Briznbakw

Keith said...

Hey pallie DMP. Thanks. That's so cool. I'm listening to it now. I hope you will have a great holiday. Cheers!

Cate said...

Hey Keith!
Happy Birthday to Nat King Cole. Do you know Adam Green's song "Nat King Cole"? But I have to admit that I never listened to anything by The Man himself.
That's really horrible what Nat King Cole had to suffer, the thing with the burning cross on his lawn.
So.. He died at 46! That's really young! It's funny because just a second ago I was listening to "We Die YOung" by Alice in Chains. Now I'm listening to "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole.
A virtual duet... That is interesting.
Oh! On to the next song. I really like Harry Belafonte.
I loved the impression during Nat King Cole's duet with Sammy Davis Jr. The two of them had to laugh too!
Bye!
Cate

Keith said...

Hey Cate. Thanks. I appreciate it. No, I've never heard that song by Adam Green. I'll have to check it out. I'm glad that these clips gave you a chance to hear some music by Nat King Cole. He has an incredible voice. I love his music. I hope you'll be able to listen to more than just the clips i posted. He definitely suffered a lot of racism during his career. It's such a shame. I know that Sammy Davis Jr. did as well. It really breaks my heart. It is so terrible that he died at such a young age. I wonder how much more he would have accomplished in his career had he lived longer. I'm glad you have enjoyed these clips. Take care. Have a great day. Cheers!

Planet Mondo said...

Great post Keith - there's a clip of of Nat and and a young (10 years old) Billy Preston on youtube somewhere...doubling up on a piano piece

Lolita said...

Funny clip! Haha!

Keith said...

Hey Dave. Thanks. That sounds cool. I'll have to see if I can find it. Cheers!

Keith said...

Thanks Lolita. Cheers!

dapper kid said...

He was SUCH an amazing musician. And I have to admit that his fashion was as stunning :)

Keith said...

Thanks Dapper Kid. I totally agree with your comments. Cheers!

Tonygirl said...

I love Nat King Cole. He was the most technically perfect singer that ever lived in my opinion he never made a mistake. I love his unmistakable voice and the song "unforgettable" will always be HIS.

Keith said...

Hey Mel. Thanks. I totally agree with your comments. He had a magnificent voice. It's beyond comparison with anyone else. He had a gift from God.

Joey Altruda said...

Thanks for posting this. Yes-those clips are from the Nat King Cole Show!

He was an outstanding entertainer, singer and stylist. His piano playing was groundbreaking and practically surpassed his vocal talents!

Kudos!

Keith said...

Hey Joey. Thanks for the comments. I appreciate them. I thought they were. I had watched quite a few of the episodes on BET J. He was so wonderful at playing the piano as well as being a great singer. Cheers!