Spotlight on ....
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Cole on March 17th, 1919, he was
the son of a Baptist minister and a mother who
sang soprano and directed the choir in her husband’s
church. Cole grew up in Chicago; mat and married
a girl called Maria Hawkins and had five children.
The first sign that young Cole was destined for
a musical career came aged four, he played the
organ in his father’s church and in school
organised a 14-piece band, with himself as pianist
1937, after finishing school, Cole joined a road
company of the revue, “Shuffle Along”.
He wrote his first song “Straighten Up and
Fly Right” which he sold for $50.00. Following
that he was offered $75.00 a week for an instrument
quartet. He hired a guitarist, bass fiddle player
and a drummer. On opening night the drummer didn’t
show but the manager of the club took the trio
on board. The “King Cole Trio” developed
a large and faithful following and were offered
their own radio show.
new career was created for Cole when a drunken
customer insisted on hearing him sing “Sweet
Lorraine”. To quiet the man up, he sang
the tune and launched his legendary singing career.
1942, Cole became one of the first artists to
join Capitol Records. With his Trio, he recorded
such popular songs as “Straighten Up and
Fly Right”, “Sweet Lorraine”
and “Embraceable You”. Throughout
his life he always sang with his Trio even when
he began to sing with an orchestra. Cole became
one of the world’s leading record-sellers.
In 1956, Cole had his own network television show
on NBC-TV. The “Nat King Cole Show”
attracted a wide audience and celebrity guests.
But the most thrilling point of his career was
when Paramount chose him to play the role of the
late W.C. Handy in the motion picture of the late
blues composer’s life “St Louis Blues”.
Cole was as popular in other countries as he was
in the United States. In 1959, he made a whirlwind
personal appearance tour of nine South American
countries, giving 33 perfromances in two months.
The following year he flew to Europe for his third
concert tour, visiting 15 cities including London,
where he gave a command performance before Queen
Elizabeth 11. In 1961, Cole left for a concert
tour of Japan where his records outsold any other
In August 1962, Cole was given the ultimate tribute.
An overflow audience of more than 900 packed the
Embassy Room of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles
to honour Nat King Cole on his 25th anniversary
in show business. Celebrities from the world’s
of politics and entertainment showered him with
honours and praise.
Nat King Cole died of lung cancer on February
15th, 1965, it was a loss felt all over the world.
He left a musical legacy for generations to come.
All over the world today, his songs are played
and as long as those songs continue, Nat King
Cole will live.
I have one very special copy of the new Nat King
Cole –“The World of Nat King Cole”
to give away to the first person to correctly
tell me –
What are the names of Nat’s five children?
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