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Nat King Cole

Nat "King" Cole

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  • The Basics

    There's a reason Nat Cole's nickname was "King": more than just a breathtakingly great singer with a vocal style as light as buttermilk biscuits, he was also a royal demon on jazz piano. His most enduring hit came in 1946, when his trio recorded "The Christmas Song", subsequently re-cut in stereo, and it's been a seasonal standard ever since. The cocked-fedora jauntiness of the Bert Kaempfert-penned "L-O-V-E" would be Nat's final charting hit during his lifetime, as cancer claimed him mere months after its release. And if you had to sum up Nat's entire career in one song, how could it be done with anything other than the single-malt smoothness of his unforgettable . . . "Unforgettable"? The remixed 1991 duet version with daughter Natalie features here.

    In Next Steps, we celebrate Cole's golden period: the early '50s.

    £0.79 The Basics
  • Next Steps

    Cole notched up hit after glorious hit in the '50s, an era in which he hosted his own TV show, worked in Cuba (and subsequently became massive in Latin America), and had cameos in a couple of movies. Even though the arrival of rock 'n' roll would dent his impact on the Singles charts, he was pretty much unstoppable in the decade's first half — "Mother Nature and Father Time", in which Cole communes with the natural world while elegantly bemoaning his loneliness, hit big here in the U.K. in 1953, and the theme of heartache is strong on the evergreen "Autumn Leaves", a highlight from his concept album Nat King Cole Sings for Two in Love, brilliantly arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle.

    In Deep Cuts, we hear Cole's celebrated Trio in full effect.

    £4.74 Next Steps
  • Deep Cuts

    Though Cole gained his greatest fame late in his career, it was his trio's recordings that made him King, and here we have a couple of belters for you. "You're the Cream in My Coffee" appeared in the 1930 movie version of the Broadway hit Hold Everything!, but Cole adds effortless sophistication to his 1946 cover, while "'Deed I Do" remains a finger-clickin' classic. The most famous version of "Orange Coloured Sky" was recorded with the Stan Kenton Orchestra — the track saunters along to a walking bassline, when "Flash! Bam! Alakazam!" erupts out of his backing chorus like the sudden strike of Cupid's arrow. And the great man goes all uptown cool school on us with a slinky glide through the sultry slide of "The Frim Fram Sauce".

    £0.79 Deep Cuts
  • Complete Set

    If ever a person was destined to make the song "Unforgettable" his theme, Nat "King" Cole was it. Consider this: back in the '30s and '40s, he fronted one of the hottest jazz trios ever to take the stage, and then he completely reinvented himself in the '50s as a pop singer whose popularity rivalled that of any Rat Packer or former big band singer you could name. Not only that, but he was also the first African-American to host his own musical variety show on a major network . . . at a time when many African-Americans weren't even permitted to vote. The hits rolled out like Cadillacs off an assembly line: "Mona Lisa". "Nature Boy". "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66". "L-O-V-E". But it wasn't to last forever, as his three-pack-a-day habit caught up with him in 1965, at the age of 45. Even still, four decades later, he's absolutely "Unforgettable".

    £6.32 Complete Set