||Nat King (Coles) Cole is a part of Black history.|
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Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist.
He was born on 17 Mar 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama to the truck driver Edward James Coles (1889-abt.1965) and Perlina (Adams) Coles (1896-1955). His father was pursuing a career as preacher and when Nathaniel was 4 years old, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois.
Like his older brother Edward Coles, Nathaniel showed an early interest for music, and after his mother taught him the basics on the piano, he took lessons. By age 15, he left high school to pursue a professional music career. In summer 1936, after Eddie had returned to Chicago after being on tour himself, they recorded their first single. Their band was called "Eddie Cole's Swingsters". The following fall, the brothers were hired for an All-Black broadway musical. When it went on tour, Nat, unlike his brother, decided to stay with it. His girlfriend Nadine (Robinson) Burnside (1909-1998) also stayed and while being in Michigan, they decided to marry, although Nat was only 17 years old. This was one case when Nat used an earlier birthyear than when he was really born. When the tour of the musical finished in Los Angeles, Nat and Nadine stayed there, living with her aunt, and Nat played solo in some clubs to earn some money.
While Nat was playing in the clubs, he was approached by a manager of a club and invited to create a new band. The trio, called "The King Cole Trio" grew some following in the next few months and in 1939 and 1940, they made recordings for some small labels and had more live appearences across the country. The band was playing Swing and Jazz then and they were very successful, having several #1 hits, but after World War II, the popularity of Swing declined. The King Cole Trio turned more into the Pop music genre, getting the summer replacement radio show of Harry Lillis Crosby Jr (1903-1977) in 1946, which turned later that year in a regular weekly 15-minute show, that ran until the end of 1947.
In March 1948, Nat divorced Nadine and married Maria Antoinette (Hawkins) DeVore (1922-2012). In September 1949, his band, now called "Nat King Cole and the Trio", after a percussionist was added as fourth member, went on tour again. For the first time they went to Europe. This started a long period of being on tour, mainly in the USA, but also in the Far East, Europe and Latin America.
In 1952, he issued a new album, returning a bit back to the (Jazz) roots and he also began starring in several movies, looking for new challenges. From 1953 to 1957, he was among the ten most successful singles artists of the year. In 1956, he became the first African American to get a regular TV-show. "The Nat "King" Cole Show" ran until December 1957.
In 1960, he created a musical. He intended it for Broadway, but the pre-Broadway tour was closed after about six weeks. He used this musical as foundation for his own stage production "Sights and Sounds: The Merry World of Nat King Cole", with which he toured from 1961 to 1964. 
In December of 1964, Nat was diagnosed with lung cancer, the illness he eventually died of on 15 Feb 1965.
"In his early years of music-making, he dispensed with the "s" at the end of his family name." Curiously, his ancestors also spelled their name "Cole", so it was only Nat's father who had spelled the name "Coles".
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Categories: Musicians | Singers | Grammy Award Winners of the 20th Century | Famous People of the 20th Century | Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | US Black Heritage Project, Needs Biography | US Black Heritage Project Managed Profiles | African-American Notables | Notables