Songwriters Friends



Nat ‘King’ Cole conquered the pop charts in the Fifties and early Sixties as a warm-voiced singer of orchestrated ballads like ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Unforgettable’ and breezy, countrified sing-alongs like ‘Ramblin’ Rose’ and ‘Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.’ Less well known is the fact that he played a mean piano (in the style of Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines) and led a swinging jazz trio from 1937 to 1955. Cole’s drummerless trio was an innovation, and no less an authority than Count Basie marveled at their improvisational interplay: ‘Those cats used to read each other’s minds - it was unbelievable.’

Early stirrings of rock and roll can be detected in such swinging, lingo-filled tunes as ‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’ and ‘(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,’ recorded in 1943 and 1946, respectively, by the King Cole Trio. With its three guitars, honking sax and gritty vocal, the 1957 hit ‘Send for Me’ (#1 R&B, #6 pop) was formally as close as Cole ever got to rock and roll.

Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1919 and christened Nat ‘King’ Cole by a Los Angeles clubowner in 1937. As both a jazz pianist and pop singer, he made his mark on the middle decades of the 20th century. Cole’s transformation from jumpin’ jive to pop balladry came in 1946, when ‘(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons’ became a million seller for the King Cole Trio. When his first orchestrated number, the definitive version of Mel Torme’s classic ‘The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You),’ became a seasonal hit that same year, there was virtually no turning back. The Fifties and Sixties found Cole recording with various orchestras, including Nelson Riddle’s and Billy May’s. While his work from this period shared little with the rock and roll revolution that was under way, Cole’s broader influence on the idiom as a musical pioneer and as a popular star is undeniable.

He died on February 15, 1965 of lung cancer

Artists

American Quartet
Andrews Sisters
Louis Armstrong (Satchmo)
Fred Astaire
Chet Atkins
Gene Austin (Voice of the Southland)
Gene Autry
Nora Bayes
Brook Benton
Ben Bernie
Connee Boswell
Fanny Brice
Henry Burr
Cab Calloway
Glen Campbell
Albert Campbell
Carter Family (First Family of Country Music)
Enrico Caruso
Ray Charles
Patsy Cline
Larry Clinton
Rosemary Clooney
Nat Cole (King)
Arthur Collins
Perry Como
Bing Crosby
Bob Crosby
Frank Crumit
Vic Damone
Sammy Davis Jr.
Doris Day
Tommy Dorsey
Jimmy Dorsey
Cliff Edwards
Ruth Etting
Shep Fields
Eddie Fisher
Ella Fitzgerald
Tennessee Ernie Ford
Connie Francis
Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul)
Lefty Frizzell
Jan Garber
Judy Garland
George J. Gaskin (The Silver Voice Irish Tenor)
Marvin Gaye
Benny Goodman (King of Swing)
Glen Gray
Byron G. Harlan
Marion Harris
Charles Harrison
Haydn Quartet
Dick Haymes
Horace Heidt
Woody Herman
Billie Holiday (Lady Day)
Whitney Houston
Eddy Howard
Ink Spots
Harry James
Lewis James
Al Jolson
Ada Jones
George Jones
Sammy Kaye
Hal Kemp
Wayne King (Waltz King)
Pee Wee King
Kay Kyser
Frankie Laine
Brenda Lee
Ted Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis (The Killer)
Guy Lombardo
Vincent Lopez
Harry MacDonough
Freddy Martin
Dean Martin
Johnny Mathis
John McCormack
Glenn Miller
Mills Brothers
Vaughn Monroe
Russ Morgan
Billy Murray (The Denver Nightingale)
J.W. Myers
Ozzie Nelson
Olivia Newton-John
George Olsen
Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Vess L. Ossman (The King of the Banjo)
Buck Owens
Patti Page
Minnie Pearl
Peerless Quartet
Peter, Paul & Mary
Elvis Presley (The King)
Ray Price
Prince's Orchestra
Dan Quinn
Leo Reisman
Paul Robeson
Roy Rogers
Linda Ronstadt
Diana Ross
Ben Selvin
Artie Shaw
Nat Shilkret
Dinah Shore
Frank Sinatra
Bessie Smith (Empress of the Blues)
Sousa's Band
Len Spencer
Dusty Springfield
Jo Stafford
Frank Stanley
Kay Starr
Cal Stewart
Barbra Streisand
The 4 Seasons
The 5th Dimension
The Byrds
The Carter Family
The Commodores
The Drifters
The Everly Brothers
The Four Tops
The Impressions
The Miracles
The Platters
The Righteous Brothers
The Spinners
The Supremes
The Temptations
Ernest Tubb (Texas Troubadour)
Sophie Tucker
Van & Schenck
Walter Van Brunt
Sarah Vaughan
Fred Waring
Dionne Warwick
Ted Weems
Kitty Wells
Paul Whiteman
Margaret Whiting
Bert Williams
Andy Williams
Teddy Wilson
Tammy Wynette