Two For Tuesday: Nat King Cole (Baby Boom Years)

Nat King Cole had over 100 hit singles, both as a solo act and with the King Cole Trio, between 1940 and his death in 1965. He had a popular TV show in the Fifties, which was one of the first shows with an African-American host (and which folded largely due to lack of national sponsorship). Looking at MusicVF, these were his top-charting singles for the period.

“Mona Lisa” was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the 1950 film Captain Carey, USA. It won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Nat’s arrangement was done by Nelson Riddle and he was backed by Les Baxter and His Orchestra. The song spent 8 weeks atop the Billboard singles chart that year and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992.

“Too Young” was releaed in February 1951, spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Singles chart and 29 weeks on the Best Seller chart. Billboard ranked it the #1 song for all of 1951. It was written by Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee.

Nat King Cole earned a lot of money for Capitol Records, so much so that the Capitol Records Building at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles is sometimes referred to as “The House That Nat Built.” Nat had many more hits throughout his career, all of which have been added to YouTube by Bob Moke, a/k/a MusicProf78, so check out his archive for more.

Nat King Cole, your Two for Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

21 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: Nat King Cole (Baby Boom Years)

    1. I’ve never seen “Cat Ballou,” but I’m guessing that Nat and Stubby Kaye play through the whole movie. He died in February 1965, so he must have been ill when he filmed this.


    1. He’s one of my favorite artists. Did you ever see the one where he’s playing “Blueberry Hill” with Billy Preston (age 11)?

      Natalie talks about it at the end of the video, how her father let Billy have all the glory. He was right, too: Billy had a great career, albeit short.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Birgit,

      Geez, I don’t remember Natalie dying! I looked it up, Google says she passed on Dec. 31, 2015. I guess I somehow missed the mews during the holiday stuff and like so often I don’t hear about these things until someone else mentions it. How sad!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. John,

    Nat King Cole had such a smooth voice. I had no idea of how successful his mewsic career was, especially given the era from which he rose to fame in not always treating minorities fairly. I’m happy to read that he did quite well. I have one of his Christmas CDs which I love. He sure had a voice to make the girls’ hearts swoon. Gosh, what talent! We just don’t have this in today’s artists.


    1. No, you don’t. Nat was part of a dying breed. I think the heyday of the singer was over by 1970, at least that style of singing. You still had the older singers (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Andy Williams) but they had been relegated to the “Easy Listening” section of the record store. That’s why I’m highlighting them here and in general on Two for Tuesday, so they don’t get forgotten.


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