Coinciding with today’s opening of Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, the Geffen Playhouse is proud to share the following news with you.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff issued a proclamation into the Congressional Record honoring Nat “King” Cole and his legacy. Please see below for more details.
February 13, 2019
A Tribute to Nat “King” Cole
I rise today to celebrate the life of Nat “King” Cole, who was born one hundred years ago on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Mr. Cole is recognized for being one of the most distinguished and exemplary music recording artists of all time and as a talisman for the civil rights movement.
Nat King Cole began his music career with a focus on jazz, having founded the Nat King Cole Trio as a young man. The band quickly became an influential melodic phenomenon. He signed with Capitol Records in 1943, and the release of his first album, The King Cole Trio, followed in 1945. The album was widely successful as it hit the top of Billboard’s inaugural album chart. The talented pianist and vocalist went on to record approximately 700 songs under Capitol Record’s label, including 150 singles that appeared on the R&B, Pop and/or Country charts of Billboard. Mr. Cole’s success caused Capitol Record’s legendary Hollywood building on Vine Street to be informally nicknamed “The House That Nat Built.”
In 1946, he hosted the nationally aired, fifteen-minute “King Cole Trio Time,” which was the first broadcast of its kind have an African American musician as a host. Mr. Cole made history once again in 1956 when he became the first African American performer to host his own network television show, NBC’s “Nat King Cole Show.” He also appeared in numerous films, including St. Louis Blues and Cat Ballou.
Along with his legendary musical career, Mr. Cole is remembered for his milestone leadership in the civil rights movement. After purchasing a house in the all-white Hancock Park neighborhood in 1948, he became a target of the Ku Klux Klan who burned a cross on his family’s lawn. This horrific incident spurred him to help overturn a 1920’s City of Los Angeles statute that allowed the neighborhood to be segregated.
Before Mr. Cole’s premature death in 1965, when he was just 45 years old, his final album, L-O-V-E, reached number four on the Billboard album chart. At that time, Capital Records had sold more than nine million Nat King Cole records. Nat King Cole received many honors including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receiving a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and being featured on a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp.
Married in 1948, Mr. Cole and his wife, Maria had five children: Natalie, Carole, Nat Kelly, Casey and Timolin. In 2008, their twin daughters, Timolin and Casey Cole, founded Nat King Cole Generation Hope to help fund music programs for schools across America.
I ask all Members of Congress to join me in recognizing Nat King Cole on the one-hundred-year milestone of his birth. Mr. Cole’s life is a lesson in success despite adversity, the triumph of respect, talent and civility coupled with cultural, business and political savvy.
ADAM B. SCHIFF
Member of Congress