Friday, September 17, 2010


For all you jazz/blues lovers and fans of Nat King Cole, here a nifty album from the great singer. And interestingly, Cole narrates before each song in the album, so it is actually like a story as each song goes. It is said that Love is Wild is Cole’s desire to conquer Broadway on an LP, a sort of musical story with one interconnected narrative that would flow through each tune.

I am not going to go into detail in this post, as there is a really good write-up HERE at Blog Critics on this album; but I will give a bit of information on the "King" below.

Born Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), and known professionally as Nat "King" Cole, he was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice. He was the first African-American to host a television variety show, a no mean feat in a then (?) racist America. On November 5, 1956, The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC-TV, which created great controversy at the time.

Cole began his performing career in the mid 1930s while still a teenager, adopting the name "Nat Cole". His older brother, Eddie Cole, a bass player, soon joined Cole's band, and they made their first recording in 1936 under Eddie's name. They were also regular performers at clubs. Cole acquired his nickname "King" performing at a jazz club, a nickname presumably from the nursery rhyme about Old King Cole.

Cole was a heavy menthol cigarette smoker, believing that smoking up to three packs a day gave his voice the rich sound it had (Cole would smoke several cigarettes in rapid succession before a recording for this very purpose). Unfortunately, the smoking caused him to contract lung cancer and he died of the disease in 1965, aged only 45.

He was married twice, first to Nadine Robinson and second to singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, just six days after his divorce to Nadine became final. Cole and Maria had five children: Natalie (born 1950); adopted daughter Carole (the daughter of Maria's sister), (1944–2009), who died of lung cancer at 64; adopted son Nat Kelly Cole (1959–1995), who died of AIDS at 36; and twin girls Casey and Timolin (born 1961).

His notable songs include "The Christmas Song" (1946)(Cole recorded that tune four times) "Nature Boy" (1948), "Mona Lisa" (1950), "Too Young" (the #1 song in 1951), his signature tune "Unforgettable" (1951) and "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" (1963), which reached #6 on the Pop chart. Cole also acted and sung in a few movies, which included Citizen Kane (1941), China Gate (1957) and the comedy Cat Ballou (1965) with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin.

I give this album 4 stars.

Nat King Cole – Wild Is Love (1960)

Side One

1. Introduction

2. Wild Is Love

3. Hundreds And Thousands Of Girls

4. It’s A Beautiful Evening

5. Tell Her In The Morning

6. Are You Disenchanted

7. Pick-Up

Side Two

1. Beggar For The Blues

2. World Of No Return

3. In Love Again

4. Stay With It

5. Wouldn’t You Know

6. He Who Hesistates

7. Wild Is Love Finale



Nasir said...

I think he is a favourite of Indian Playback Singer, Asha Bhonsle.

Veen said...

Really? I am not surprised actually. Asha's a pretty jazzy woman herself! I actually prefer her to badi didi Lata.

Nasir said...

Many do, Veen.

Anonymous said...

Mmm. One of my favourite singers, too. I love his voice - didn't realise he smoked so many menthol cigarettes in an attempt to keep it that way!

The songs on this album are mostly new to me. I guess my all time favourite Nat King Cole song is Autumn Leaves: lovely!

Veen said...

Hi Dusted, things people do for success. Yah, I did not know he smoked to 'enrich' his singing, which ultimately killed him.

Yes, 'Autumn Leaves' is one of my favourites too.

Veen said...