Nat King Cole

Topics: Nat King Cole, Popular culture, Capitol Records Pages: 4 (1609 words) Published: April 25, 2010
David Chen
MUEL 2752
Dr. Daniel Jones
Pre-Rock Era Project: Nat King Cole
There is no questioning Nat King Cole’s place as one of the most influential and important American popular musicians in history. Although he was initially known as an innovative and skilled jazz pianist, his singing allowed him to become highly successful in the realm of popular music, more specifically in the big band and jazz genres. Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17, 1919 (Ruhlmann par. 3). His family moved to Chicago in 1921, where he began to play the piano at age four and took classical lessons at age 12 (Ruhlmann par. 4). When he was 15, Cole dropped out of high school in order to pursue a career as a jazz pianist (Ruhlmann par. 4). In 1937, Cole formed the King Cole Trio and began doing live performances and occasional recordings for small labels as well as some radio work. After releasing successful singles such as “That Ain’t Right” and “All for You,” the King Cole Trio was signed by Capitol Records in 1942 (Teachout par. 15). Cole began to utilize his voice increasingly, and critics began to notice the King Cole Trio’s increasing tendency to emphasize popular music as early as 1945 (Teachout par. 20). In 1951, Cole officially disbanded the King Cole Trio and continued his successful career as more of a standup singer than as a pianist (Teachout par. 25). Cole continues to sell great quantities of music today. However, despite his popularity, Cole has often been the subject of criticism. Many criticize Nat King Cole for compromising his artistic integrity as a jazz musician in order to achieve commercial success. Some even consider his increasing popularity and shifting musical style to be “betrayal” (Ruhlmann par. 1). One article from NPR music argues that Cole’s “singing clearly betrayed his jazz sensibilities,” while another even goes as far as to call Cole a “failed jazzman” (NPR par. 5, Teachout par. 5). Contrary to these...

Cited: Foster, Shivonne. “Cole’s Memory, Legacy is Unforgettable.” The Hilltop (2007). 6 March 2010 <>
Howze, Margaret “Jazz Profiles from NPR: Nat ‘King’ Cole: the Pianist.” NPR 2010. 9 March 2010
Murph, John. “Nat King Cole: Getting their Kicks.” Jazz TimesMay 2009. 9 March 2010
Noble, Amy. “The Story of Nat King Cole.” March 1998. 9 March 2010
Ruhlmann, William. “Nat King Cole.” All Music Guide 9 March 2010
Teachout, Terry. “Nat King Cole.” American Scholar 61.3 (1992): 437-443. 6 March 2010
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Narrator and Nat King Cole Essay
  • Essay on coles
  • Essay on 'King of Shadows': the Relationship Between Nat and Shakespeare
  • Essay about im the king
  • King Essay
  • THE king Essay
  • king Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free