Nat King Cole


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Nat King Cole recorded over 1000 tunes!

It’s difficult to understand how someone could have such an immense work ethic and produce so much material as Nat King Cole did when you’re active on this side of the millennium, playing by today’s rules.

Back in the day, if you were a happening artist, the label would just want you to come in and record more and more tunes.

If you, as an artist didn’t write your own songs, this didn’t have to take long. Essentially, you were a cover artist, in fact, most singers back in the day were.

Also, you would record it all in one take, as if it was a gig, there were no overdubs or multi-tracks to faff about with. You could literally make an album as if you were just playing a gig!

With this in mind, Nat King Cole recorded 1000 tunes! Here are a few: L-O-V-E, Frosty The Snowman, (Get Your Kicks) on Route 66, Mona Lisa, Smile, Autumn Leaves, Let’s Face The Music And Dance, When I Fall In Love, It’s Only A Paper Moon, and Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You.

His 2nd most recognized song was Unforgettable, which he recorded twice, first in 1951, and then in 1991, with his daughter Natalie.

And, I’ve saved the best for last, Nat King Cole’s most popular song, The Christmas Song was recorded 4 times, in 1946, first without, then with strings. In 1953 with a full orchestra, and then again in 1961, now in stereo. In total, The Christmas Song sold 6 million copies.

But Nat King Cole didn’t just record tunes, he was also an actor in 43(!) films, almost always playing himself. He also had his own TV show with guests like Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, and Sammy Davis Jr.

The Nat King Cole Show on NBC in 1956 was the first TV show hosted by a black man. A variety show, it would host different artists every episode. In 1957 it was canceled due to a lack of willing advertisers. Nat famously said, “Maddison Avenue is afraid of the dark”. Maddison Avenue is slang for the advertisement industry.

This may sound like a harmless throwaway comment but back in the 50s America, for a black entertainer to stand up to the white man, fiercely accusing an industry of being racist was revolutionary.

Over his recording career, Nat King Cole would release 130 albums, 621 singles, and EPs.

Incredibly enough, Nat King Cole entered the charts yet again in 2017, obviously, it was with The Christmas Song, pretty impressive considering he’d been dead for 52 years!


Nat King Cole | Tunes


Autumn Leaves

Am7 | D7 | Gmaj7 | Cmaj7 |
The falling leaves drift by my window.
F#m7b5 | B7 | Em | Em |
The autumn leaves, of red and gold.

Go to Autumn Leaves chords.