Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole

Notable events in the legacy of Nat King Cole:

• Nathaniel Adams Coles is born on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama

• The Coles family relocates to Chicago, Illinois in 1923

• Nat Coles first plays organ in his father’s Truelight Baptist Church

• He assembles his first group, a 12-piece band, in high school

• In 1936 he embarks on his first national tour as pianist for the Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle revue, “Shuffle Along”

• In 1937 Nat and first wife, Nadine, move to Los Angeles. He drops the “s” from his last name and launches The King Cole Trio

• In 1940 Cole records “Sweet Lorraine” as part of a short-term Decca Records deal, and in 1941 makes his first cross-country tour

• The King Cole Trio signs with Capitol Records in 1942. In 1943, the Cole penned “Straighten Up and Fly Right” is the Trio’s first recording for Capitol

• The Trio is first voted #1 Best Small Combo in Down Beat magazine in 1944 and “Straighten Up and Fly Right” is a huge hit on the music charts

• In 1945 The King Cole Trio, Volume 1 debuts as the #1 album on the first Billboard chart. The King Cole Trio, Volume 2 hits #1 in 1946

• In 1946 Cole begins a weekly NBC network radio show and is the summer replacement on Bing Crosby’s Kraft Music Hall network radio show

• Cole is awarded Esquire’s Silver Award as Best Singer, and its Gold Award as Best Jazz Pianist in 1946 and 1947

• In 1948, Cole’s recording of “Nature Boy” reaches #1. The King Cole Trio, Volume 3 is a Top 10 album, and Cole graces the cover of Ebony for the first of 8 times

• Down Beat magazine votes The King Cole Trio #1 Best Small Combo in 1946, 1947 and 1948

• The Trio tops Metronome’s poll as Best Small Combo in 1946, 1947 and 1948

• In 1949 The King Cole Trio, Volume 4 hits the Top 10 and the Trio is voted the Top Vocal / Instrumental Group by Billboard

• The ‘50s begin with the release of the #1 single, “Mona Lisa.” “Orange Colored Sky” is in the Top 10 and Cole makes his first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show”

• The use of the word “Trio” is discontinued in 1951 and Nat King Cole’s “Too Young” and “Unforgettable” are chart hits. Cole is a favorite guest on numerous prime-time television shows

• Penthouse Serenade is a Top 10 album in 1952. “Somewhere Along the Way” and “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” are huge singles. Cole embarks on his first tour of Australia

• Cole’s Unforgettable album goes Gold and “Pretend” is another huge Cole single in 1953

• 1954 sees Cole on his first European tour without the Trio, breaking all attendance records at London’s Palladium. Two In Love and 10th Anniversary are hit albums and the singles “Answer Me My Love” and “Smile” reside high on the charts

• In 1955, Universal Studios films a documentary, The Nat King Cole Story, and Cole breaks attendance records for performances at New York’s Copacabana and Chicago’s Chez Paree. Hit records included “A Blossom Fell (#1),” “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup,” and “If I May”

• In 1956, the ground-breaking “Nat King Cole Show” debuts on NBC-TV

• That same year, Cole is invited to perform at the White House by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Night Lights” hits the charts, and Cole is featured in his first motion picture, China Gate. Cole meets and befriends a young senator, John F. Kennedy

• In 1957, recognizing a losing battle between the network and advertisers, Cole pulls the plug on his pioneering, well-rated national television show after only one season. Love Is The Thing is a #1 album and “Send For Me” goes to #1 on the R&B charts

• An avid baseball player and fan, Cole “adopts” the Dodgers when they move to L.A. in 1958. He remains a stalwart fan throughout his lifetime

• In 1958 Cole stars as W.C. Handy in Paramount Pictures’ St. Louis Blues and his single, “Looking Back,” is a hit

• In 1959 Cole wins a Grammy Award for “Midnight Flyer” (Best Performance By A Top 40 Artist), tours South America for the first time and is feted at Brazil’s Presidential Palace

• In 1960 Cole campaigns for presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and tours Europe while Wild Is Love graces the U.S. charts. On January 20, 1961, Cole performs at President Kennedy’s Inaugural Ball

• Cole performs at a Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth II in 1961 and is invited to the White House by President John F. Kennedy

• “Ramblin’ Rose” is a hit single and the album Ramblin’ Rose goes Platinum in 1962. Cole embarks on his first tour of Japan and also produces and stars in the musical, Sights and Sounds

• In 1963 Cole is the premiere performer at the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center. His hit single this year is “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer,” and The Christmas Song album goes Gold

• In 1964 Cole performs in his final motion picture, Cat Ballou, and the first signs of his illness begin to appear

• His last Capitol album, Love, hits the Top 10 in 1965. Cole passes away on February 15, 1965, survived by his second wife Maria and five children, Carole, Natalie, Kelly, and twins Timolin and Casey

• Although sales figures are not up-to-date, Cole leaves a recording legacy at Capitol Records of at least 700 songs and 33 albums. Of those documented recordings, Cole had 11 #1 singles, and 3 Gold and 5 Platinum albums. Forty years after his passing, Cole continues to garner accolades

• In 1968 The Best of Nat King Cole goes Platinum

• In 1974 Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song” is voted into NARAS’ Hall of Fame

• In 1990 Cole is awarded NARAS’ Lifetime Achievement Award

• In 1991 Cole’s virtual duet with daughter Natalie, “Unforgettable,” wins Grammy Awards for Record Of The Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance, and Natalie Cole’s album of the same name is awarded the Grammy for Album Of The Year

• In 1994 a U.S. postage stamp is issued in Cole’s honor, and in 2002 a U.S. post office in Los Angeles is named in his honor

• Daughter Natalie’s virtual duet with Cole, “When I Fall In Love,” wins the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

• In 1999 NAT KING COLE TRIO: LIVE AT THE CIRCLE ROOM, as performed in 1946 is released for the first time on Capitol Jazz label

• In 2000 Cole is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the major early influences (via a small group) of Rock & Roll.

• In 2002 the TRIO awarded Grammy certificate from NARAS for best jazz single recording of "(GET YOUR KICKS ON) ROUTE 66"

• In 2002 unanimously approved by Congress, President George W. Bush signs bill to rename a Los Angeles post office, the NAT KING COLE POST OFFICE for his contribution to the arts and civil rights. 

• In 2004 Double Jab Productions embarks on creating the definitive Nat King Cole documentary, The World Of Nat King Cole. Capitol/EMI Music Marketing and the Cole family’s King Cole Productions, Inc. partner with the production

• On May 2, 2006, Capitol/EMI will release The Very Best Of Nat King Cole on CD

• On May 16, 2006, Capitol/EMI will release The World Of Nat King Cole documentary + 30 minutes of bonus footage on DVD and in an expanded deluxe DVD/CD package

• On May 17, 2006 at 8PM ET/PT, PBS “American Masters” will nationally premiere The World Of Nat King Cole
POPULAR ALBUMS
Nat King Cole - 'The Extraordinary' image Nat King Cole - 'Riffin': The Decca, JATP, Keynote And Mercury Recordings [3CD]' image Nat King Cole - 'When I Fall In Love' image