Legendary crooner Nat King Cole died on February 15, 1965.
Born Nathaniel Adams Coles on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama, his musical talent was obvious from an early age. His family moved to Chicago, Illinois where he learned how to play the organ from his mother and began performing live at jazz clubs as “Nat Cole” with his brother when he was a teenager. He earned the nickname “King” during his time playing the piano at theseChicagoclubs.
During these years, Nat King Cole would only sing between instrumental numbers, but at the request of audiences, he incorporated more vocal pieces into his repertoire. His group, the King Cole Trio, signed with Capitol Records and began writing and cranking out hits.
As a solo artist, Nat King Cole churned out number one singles like “Unforgettable” and the immensely popular holiday classic “The Christmas Song,” among many others. Nat King Cole was the first African American entertainer to host a variety show on television, titled The Nat King Cole Show.
Just a few months after discovering he had lung cancer, Nat King Cole died in his Santa Monica, California home. He will always be remembered for his immense contributions to the music industry, as his songs have truly stood the test of time.