Nat King Cole
Christmas Songs (FULL ALBUM)
00:00 The Christmas Song
03:22 The First Noel
05:17 Silent Night
07:25 Deck the Hall
08:32 Take Me Back to Toyland
11:27 Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
13:07 O Holy Night
16:02 O Little Town of Bethlehem
18:18 Mrs. Santa Claus
20:25 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
22:12 God Rest Ye Mary, Gentleman
23:37 Caroling, Caroling
25:36 All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
28:08 Frosty the Snowman
30:25 Jingle Bells
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Born on March 17, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama, Nat King Cole was an American musician who first came to prominence as a jazz pianist. In 1956, Cole became the first African-American performer to host a variety television series, and for many white families, he was the first black man welcomed into their living rooms each night.
Known for his smooth and well-articulated vocal style, Nat King Cole actually started out as a piano man. He first learned to play around the age of four with help from his mother, a church choir director.
Cole married for the first time when he was only 17. He and first wife Nadine Robinson divorced in 1948. Only a short time later, Cole married singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, with whom he raised five children. The couple had three biological children, daughters Natalie, Casey and Timolin, and two adopted children, daughter Carol and son Nat.
In his early teens, Cole had formal classical piano training. He eventually abandoned classical for his other musical passion—jazz. At 15, he dropped out of school to become a jazz pianist full time. Cole joined forces with his brother Eddie for a time, which led to his first professional recordings in 1936. He later joined a national tour for the musical revue Shuffle Along, performing as a pianist.
The following year, Cole started to put together what would become the King Cole Trio, the name being a play on the children's nursery rhyme. They toured extensively and finally landed on the charts in 1943 with "That Ain't Right," penned by Cole. By the 1950s, Nat King Cole emerged as a popular solo performer. In the studio, Cole got to work with some of the country's top talent, including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and famous arrangers such as Nelson Riddle. He also met and befriended other stars of the era, including popular crooner Frank Sinatra.
As an African-American performer, Cole struggled to find his place in the Civil Rights movement. He had encountered racism firsthand, especially while touring in the South. In 1956, Cole had been attacked by white supremacists during a mixed race performance in Alabama. Cole's presence on the record charts dwindled in the late 1950s. But this decline did not last long. His career returned to top form in the early 1960s. The 1962 country-influenced hit "Rambin' Rose" reached the number two spot on the Billboard pop charts. The following spring, Cole won over music fans with the light-hearted tune "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer." He made his last appearances on the pop charts in his lifetime in 1964. Modest successes compared to his earlier hits, Cole delivered two ballads—"I Don't Want to Hurt Anymore" and "I Don't Want to See Tomorrow"—in his signature smooth style.
Cole made television history in 1956, when he became the first African-American performer to host a variety TV series. On the big screen, Cole had first started out in small roles in the 1940s, largely playing some version of himself. His only major starring role came in 1958, in the drama St. Louis Blues, also starring Eartha Kitt and Cab Calloway.
In 1964, Cole discovered that he had lung cancer. He succumbed to the disease just months later, on February 15, 1965, at the age of 45, in Santa Monica, California. Since his death, Cole's music has endured. His rendition of "The Christmas Song" has become a holiday classic and many of his other signature songs are frequently selected for film and television soundtracks.
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