Sunday, January 03, 2016

RIP Natalie Cole

The new year brought with it the saddening news that the golden-voiced Natalie Cole (1950-2015) had died of congestive heart failure, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, at the age of 65. One of the most talented singers of her generation, Cole debuted in 1975 with Inseparable, which was an instant success, with both the title song and "This Will Be" charting and confirming that she was not just the daughter of one of the greatest singers of all time, Nat King Cole (1919-1965), and former Ellington Orchestra Maria Hawkins Cole, but a major talent in her own right.

Nominated 21 times for a Grammy Award and recipient of 9, Cole posted platinum-level sales several times and scored many hits, including "Sophisticated Lady," "Mr. Melody"(one of my favorites of all her songs), "I've Got Love On My Mind," "Our Love," "Miss You Like Crazy," "Pink Cadillac," "I Live for Your Love," and the remarkable "Unforgettable," her duo with her late father, which would go down as one of her most popular recordings (and LPs) of her career.

In addition to her 4-decade musical career, Cole also acted on TV and in films, and published a memoir in which she discussed her struggles with drugs and challenges from a range of illnesses throughout her career. I grew up listening to Natalie Cole as a child and have been a lifelong fan, but her record Unforgettable touched me deeply, in part because by the early 1990s I had started to re-immerse myself in jazz, and her decision, after refusing for much of her career to cover her father's songs, struck me as a gesture of tremendous grace and tribute. The result was a treasure for the entire world, like so much of Natalie Cole's music.

Here are a few videos featuring Natalie Cole. Enjoy!

Natalie Cole singing "Inseparable" and "This Will Be," November 5, 2014, Hard Rock Café.
Natalie Cole singing "Stardust," LIVE at the Singapore International Jazz Festival 2014.
Natalie Cole singing one of her father's first hits, the folk tune "Straighten Up and Fly Right," in 1991.
Natalie Cole singing "Mr. Melody" live, from Natalie Cole: Love Songs
A heartbreaking duo, featuring Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston (RIP), singing "Say A Little Prayer"
Natalie Cole, at the "Unforgettable" concert in Los Angeles, 1992 Natalie Cole's complete concert from Bergen PAC, Englewood, NJ April 25, 2014 (in 1080p/24fr).

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