Nat King Cole
With a soft, velvety smooth voice and profound elegance and dignity, jazz star Nat King Cole stands as a legendary figure in American music. While still in his teens Cole began performing as a pianist in Chicago clubs with his brothers, making his first recordings for Decca Records under the name Eddie Cole's Solid Swingers in 1936 before moving to LA and signing with the newly formed Capitol Records in 1943. Breaking the popular big band mould with a line-up featuring only piano, bass and guitar, a stack of early jazz hits followed, before he developed into a classic, soulful crooner with the huge pop hits Mona Lisa, Nature Boy and his signature tune Unforgettable. A pioneer in breaking down the fierce racial barriers of the time, Cole became the first black artist to have his own radio and television show and went on to star in several Hollywood films. He died in 1965 from lung cancer aged only 45, but scored a posthumous hit in 1991 when his daughter Natalie reworked Unforgettable into a Grammy Award-winning duet.
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