Credit: Shutterstock/Nat King Cole

I’m an interpreter of stories

Few people understood the power of music better than Nat King Cole.
“Music is emotional,” he once said. “I may be helping bring harmony between people through my music.”

Describing himself as a jazz musician who sang because people bought his records, Cole recorded over 100 songs in his life including the timeless Unforgettable, When I Fall In Love, and Let There Be Love.

Born Nathaniel Adams Cole in Alabama, Cole was the first African American celebrity to host a U.S. TV show. He had experienced racism and racial segregation first hand – later suing hotels which had hired him to perform, but refused to serve him. “I am an American citizen and feel I am entitled to the same rights as any other citizen,” he said.

He was encouraged to use his fame and influence within the crusade for civil rights, which he did, playing a part in the March on Washington led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr in 1963.

Cole was just 45 when he died of cancer. Yet he left a rich legacy in his music, with his daughter Natalie Cole going on to contribute her own musical legacy in her turn. Paying tribute at his funeral, singer Jack Benny said that the jazz musician had had had so much more left to give. He was truly unforgettable.