Nat King Cole Greatest Hits

 

Nat King Cole Overview

Nat King Cole was an American singer and musician who first came to prominence as a jazz pianist. He was known for his soft baritone voice. He was one of the first African Americans to host his own television variety show, “The Nat King Cole Show” and maintained popularity until his death in 1965. This is his story…

Photo of Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole Photo Black and White

Early Life

He was born Nathaniel Adams Coles on March 17, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama, and died on February 15, 1965 of lung cancer. He is known professionally as “Nat King Cole”. Nat had three brothers Eddie, Ike, and Freddy, and a half-sister Joyce Coles. When he was four years old, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father Edward Coles was a Baptist minister. Cole learned to play the organ from his mother Perlina who was the church organist. His first performance was “Yes! We Have No Bananas” at the age of four. He began formal training at the age of twelve, learning jazz, gospel music, and Western classical music.

Early Career

Cole began performing in the 30’s while still a teenager and adopted the name “Nat Cole”. He formed a group with two other musicians called the “King Cole Swingers” in Long Beach, California. They played in local bars where they got a gig and earning $90 a week. The trio consisted of Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Wesley Prince on double bass. The trio got their rise in popularity due entirely on the radio. They changed their name to the “Nat King Cole Trio”. In the 40’s, the trio appeared on many radio shows such as “Old Gold”, Chesterfield Supper Club”, and Kraft Music Hall”. It was in the early forties that Nat King Cole started singing lead and to record records.

Nat King Cole Trio

The Nat King Cole Trio in the Forties

Music Career Success

Nat signed a contract with Capital Records in 1943 and released his first single in November titled “All For You” which peaked at #18 on the pop charts. His next song “Straighten Up And fly Right” was released in April, 1944 and was his first top ten hit peaking at #9. The record sold over 500,000 copies.

In September of 1946 he released “You Call It Madness” and peaked at #10. In November, he released “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” which became his first #1 hit record. It stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks. In late November, he released “The Christmas Song” which peaked at #3 and became one of his signature songs especially at Christmas time. The song was selected for the NARAS (National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences) Hall of Fame. This song was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.

In April of 1948, he released “Nature Boy” which became his second #1 hit song as it stayed on top of the charts for eight weeks. Cole had no top ten hits until June of 1950, when he released “Mona Lisa” and was his third #1 song as it stayed at #1 for eight weeks. This song was is most popular as it sold over three million copies. It also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1950. He followed this success with two more top ten hits “Orange Colored Sky” in September of 1950, peaking at #5, and “Frosty The Snowman” in January of 1951, and peaked at #9.

Mona List No. 1 Song Eight Weeks By Nat King Cole Capitol Records Label 78

Mona List No. 1 Song Eight Weeks By Nat King Cole Capitol Records Label 78

In April of 1951, he released “Too Young” which became his fourth #1 hit song and stayed on top of the charts for five weeks. His next biggest hit “Pretend” was released in February 1953, and peaked at #2. Cole’s last top ten hit before the Rock n’ Roll Era was “Smile” and peaked at #10 in September, 1954.

Rock n’ Roll Era

During the Rock n’ Roll era (50’s and 60’s), Nat King Cole didn’t have any songs to peak at the #1 position on the Hot 100 chart. In March, 1955, he released “Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup” and peaked at #7. In May, of 1955, he released “A Blossom Fell” and it peaked at #2 for one week. Also in May, he released “If I May” and it peaked at #8. He had no top ten hits until 1957 when he released “Send For Me” which peaked at #6. In April of 1958, he released “Looking Back” which peaked at #5.

In 1962, he had his biggest hit of the Rock Era releasing “Ramblin’ Rose” which peaked at #2 for two weeks and sold over one million copies. His last top ten hit was “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer” in May of 1963 and peaked at #6. Nat King Cole’s last top forty hit single was “I Don’t Want To See Tomorrow” in September, 1964 and peaked at #34. His last Hot 100 single was released after his death in August, 1966 with “Let Me Tell You, Babe” and peaked at #90. His daughter Natalie released a duet with her father in July of 1991, with “Unforgettable” which peaked at #14.

Ramblin Rose 45rpm By Nat King Cole on Capitol Records

Ramblin’ Rose 45rpm By Nat King Cole on Capitol Records

All Told, Nat King Cole had a total of 4 #1’s, 21 Top 10, 52 Top 20, and 86 Top 40 hit songs on the charts from 1943-1966. He also had 13 top ten albums. He is ranked as the #5 artist from 1955-1959, and the #40 artist of all-time from 1955-2010, on the Hot 100 chart.

On the Adult Contemporary chart he had 1 #1, 7 Top 10, 15 Top 20, and 17 Top 40 hits. He is ranked as the #106 artist of all-time from 1961-2001.

On the R&B chart, Nat King Cole had a total of 6 #1’s, 36 Top 10, 45 Top 20, and 47 Top 40 hits. He is ranked as the #2 artist from 1942-1949, the #19 artist from 1950-1959, and the #24 artist of all-time from 1942-2010.

Awards

Nat King Cole was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1997, he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2013, he was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame for his contribution to Latin music.

Top Ten and #1 Hits

Below is a complete listing of all of Nat King Cole’s top ten and number one songs on the Pop Charts, Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B charts. The list will include the title, peak date for #1 songs only and debut date for all others, peak position, and number of weeks in the peak position in () for #1, #2 and #3 hits. The number one songs will be in bold.

Pop Chart & Hot 100

  1. Straighten Up And Fly Right – April 29, 1944 #9
  2. You Call It Madness – September 7, 1946 #10
  3. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons December 28, 1946 #1 (6)
  4. The Christmas Song – November 30, 1946 #3
  5. Nature Boy – May 8, 1948 #1 (8)
  6. Mona Lisa – July 8, 1950 #1 (8)
  7. Orange Colored Sky – September 30, 1950 #5
  8. Frosty The Snowman – January 6, 1951 #9
  9. Too Young June 23, 1951 #1 (5)
  10. Somewhere Along The Way – May 31, 1952 #8
  11. Walkin’ My Baby Back Home – July 5, 1952 #8
  12. Pretend – February 7, 1953 #2 (1)
  13. Answer Me, My Love – February 13, 1954 #6
  14. Smile – September 18, 1954 #10
  15. Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup – March 5, 1955 #7
  16. A Blossom Fell – May 7, 1955 #2 (1)
  17. If I May – May 21, 1955 #8
  18. Send For Me – June 17, 1957 #6
  19. Looking Back – April 14, 1958 #5
  20. Ramblin’ Rose – August 4, 1962 #2 (2)
  21. Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer – May 11, 1963 #6

Adult Contemporary Hits

Nat King Cole At The Piano

Nat King Cole At The Piano Color Photo

  1. Ramblin’ Rose – September 15, 1962 #1 (5)
  2. Dear Lonely Hearts – November 17, 1962 #2 (2)
  3. Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer – May 11, 1963 #3 (1)
  4. That Sunday, That Summer – September 19, 1963 #3 (1)
  5. I Don’t Want To Be Hurt Anymore – May 2, 1964 #6
  6. I Don’t Want To See Tomorrow – September 19, 1964 #6
  7. Unforgettable – June 15, 1991 #3 (1)

R&B Singles

  1. That Ain’t Right – January 30, 1943 #1 (1)
  2. All For You – November 20, 1943 #1 (2)
  3. Straighten Up And Fly Right – April 29, 1944 #1 (10)
  4. I Can’t See For Lookin’ – Jay 6, 1944 #2 (1)
  5. I Realize Now – September 23, 1944 #9
  6. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You – October 21, 1944 #1 (4)
  7. I’m Lost – October 21, 1944 #4
  8. It’s Only A Paper Moon – December 12, 1944 #5
  9. If You Can’t Smile And Say Yes – May 12, 1945 #3 (1)
  10. I’m A Shy Guy – August 25, 1945 #2 (2)
  11. Come To Baby, Do! – January 12, 1946 #3 (2)
  12. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 – June 8, 1946 #3 (5)
  13. The Christmas Song – November 23, 1946 #3 (3)
  14. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons – November 30, 1946 #3 (2)
  15. Meet Me At No Special Place – May 31, 1947 #3 (1)
  16. Those Things Money Can’t Buy – January 31, 1948 #9
  17. What’ll I Do – February 7, 1948 #8
  18. Nature Boy – May 15, 1948 #2 (1)
  19. Kee Mo Ky-Mo – January 1, 1949 #10
  20. The Christmas Song – January 1, 1949 #8
  21. Flo And Joe – January 22, 1949 #7
  22. Exactly Like You – December 31, 1949 #9
  23. My Mother Told Me – February 18, 1950 #6
  24. For You My Love – February 18, 1950 #8
  25. I Almost Lost My Mind – April 22, 1950 #7
  26. Mona Lisa – September 2, 1950 #1 (4)
  27. Jet – March 17, 1951 #8
  28. Too Young – May 5, 1951 #3 (1)
  29. Walkin’ – February 9, 1952 #5
  30. Pretend – February 21, 1953 #10
  31. Can’t I – June 27, 1953 #7
  32. Send For Me – August 19, 1957 #1 (2)
  33. Looking Back – April 21, 1958 #2 (1)
  34. Ramblin’ Rose – September 8, 1962 #7
  35. I Don’t Want To Be Hurt Anymore – April 11, 1964 #4
  36. Unforgettable w/Natalie Cole – June 29, 1991 #10

Source: “Top Adult Contemporary 1961-2001”, Pop Memories 1890-1954”, “Hot R&B Songs 1942-2010”, and “Top Pop Singles 1955-2010” by Joel Whitburn.

Shop Nat King Cole Greatest Hits

If you are a big fan of Nat King Cole, I can recommend the following albums for your collection as they contain all but one of his #1’s and many of his top-ten hits: The Greatest Hits [Capitol] (22 Tracks)The Greatest Hits [Capitol] (22 Tracks) and Nat King Cole – 36 Greatest Hits – 3 CD Set! (36 Tracks) MP3Nat King Cole - 36 Greatest Hits - 3 CD Set! (36 Tracks) MP3.

Now, you can shop for individual Nat King Cole Greatest Hits by clicking on the link. You will be taken to Amazon Try Prime Digital Music page where you can download any individual Nat King Cole songs for a small fee.

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