Today we have lost one of the premier voices in R&B, ‘Natalie Cole’. Natalie is the daughter of R&B icon Nat King Cole. For more on the life and accomplishments of Natalie Cole, read below, and let us know your thoughts AFTER THE JUMP!
Natalie Cole, the Grammy-winning singer who had hits with such songs as “This Will Be” and “Our Love” and recorded “Unforgettable … With Love,” a best-selling album of songs made famous by her late father, Nat King Cole, died Thursday evening.
She was 65.
Cole’s death was confirmed by publicist Maureen O’Connor.
Notables were quick to express their condolences.
“#NatalieCole, sister beloved & of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace,” tweeted the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Born in 1950, Cole grew up among musical royalty. Her father was one of the most accomplished singers and jazz musicians of the postwar era, and her mother, Maria Hawkins Cole, was a singer for Duke Ellington. Their house, in Los Angeles’ upscale Hancock Park neighborhood, was a regular spot for her parents’ colleagues.
“I remember meeting Peggy Lee, Danny Thomas, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and so many others at parties,” she told The Wall Street Journal in 2014.
Tony Bennett, who also knew many of the legends of that era, expressed his sadness on Instagram on Friday.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Natalie Cole, as I have cherished the long friendship I had with her, her father Nat, and the family over the years,” he wrote.
At age 6, Cole sang with her father on a Christmas album, and she was performing by the time she was 11. Nat King Cole died in 1965, when she was 15, a loss that “crushed” her, she said.
“Dad had been everything to me,” she told the WSJ.
People we lost in 2015
159 photos: People we lost in 2015
After college in Massachusetts, Cole embarked on her own career. In 1975, she had a massive hit with “This Will Be” from her album “Inseparable,” which showed off her tremendous pipes — she earned comparisons to Aretha Franklin — and command of a range of styles. The work won her a Grammy for best new artist.
She followed that with other hits, including “I’ve Got Love on My Mind,” “Our Love” and “Someone That I Used to Love.”
But failing sales and personal problems sidetracked Cole’s career. She had done heroin in the early ’70s, she told the Houston Chronicle, and then got hooked on cocaine. Her mother even filed for conservatorship in 1982.
A rehab stint in 1983 turned her life around, she said.
“Somehow, at some point halfway through those 30 days, I went from not wanting to be there to being afraid to leave. I was starting to get it,” she said.
Cole began a comeback in the late ’80s that was capped by 1991’s “Unforgettable … With Love,” an album that — thanks to the wonder of technology — included a duet with her father on one of his biggest hits, “Unforgettable.” (On another song, “Route 66,” she was accompanied on piano by another member of her family, her uncle Ike Cole.)