All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole was one of the most popular singers ever to hit the American charts. A brilliant recording and concert artist during the 40's, 50's and 60's, he attracted millions of fans around the world with a sensitive and caressing singing voice that was unmistakable.

Cole has a rare blend of technical musical knowledge and sheer performing artistry topped off with an abundance of showmanship. In the 23 years that he recorded with Capitol Records, he turned out hit after amazing hit - nearly 700 songs - all the while managing to remain a gentle, tolerant and gracious human being.

Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17, 1919. He was the son of Baptist minister, Edward James Coles, and mother, Perlina Adams, who sang soprano and directed the choir in her husband's church. Cole grew up in Chicago, met and married a girl in New York; they had five children and lived in Hancock Park in Los Angeles.

He had a distinctive voice, which has been compared to the quality of velvet, a pussy willow, a calm evening breeze, a still summer morning and a soft snow fall. In the case of Nat King Cole, who dropped an “s” off his last name and put a nickname in the middle, the lyricism is merited.

The first sign that Cole was destined for a musical life was at age four, when he was able to pick out a fairly good two-handed rendition of “Yes, We Have No Bananas.” He later played the organ in his father's church. In high school he organized a 14-piece band, with himself as pianist and leader.

Read more

Tags

Photos

Albums

Watch

Similar

Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra
voice / vocals
Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
voice / vocals
Bing Crosby Bing Crosby
voice / vocals
Dean Martin Dean Martin
voice / vocals
Brook Benton Brook Benton
voice / vocals

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.