The Music's Over

but the songs live on

Died On This Date (February 15, 1965) Nat King Cole

Posted by on February 15, 2010

Nat King Cole (Born Nathanial Coles)
March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965

nat-king-coleNat King Cole was an internationally renowned jazz singer, songwriter and pianist who broke many color barriers for African American musicians.  He is rightfully considered one of America’s musical treasures.  Cole learned to play the piano as a child in his father’s church, and by the time he was in his mid teens, he was well on his way with a career in music.  He made his first recording with his brother, Eddie, in 1936, and within a year, he moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the recording industry.  In 1943, he became one of the first acts to sign with Capitol Records and when the label built it’s iconic round headquarters in Hollywood in 1956, it was dubbed “the house that Nat built.”  Over the course of his career recording for Capitol, Cole released such now-standards as “L-O-V-E,” “Mona Lisa,” “Unforgettable,” and “Route 66.”  In November of 1956, NBC caused a stir when it debuted The Nat King Cole Show, the first of its kind to be hosted by an African American.  In 1958, Cole released the widely successful Cole en Espanol, likely the first collection of Spanish songs recorded by an African American.  It spawned three similar Cole collections in the coming years.  A heavy smoker through most of his life – he believed the smoking enhanced his voice – Nat King Cole died of cancer on February 15, 1965.  He was 45.

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2 Responses to “Died On This Date (February 15, 1965) Nat King Cole”

  1. Richard Kleeberg said

    A great loss when King Cole died. If he was only known for being a jazz pianist, he would have still been one of the greats. But his singing career made him a legend.

    And he was the first black artist to host his own TV show (during the 50s).


  2. Richard Kleeberg said

    Mistake in my URL —

    My last entry was about Nat King Cole, and two other legends.

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