Historic Markers Across Alabama

Nat "King" Cole

Marker ID: AHA 
Location: St. John St., Montgomery, AL
County: Montgomery
Waymark: None


Side 1:
Nathaniel Adams Cole, world famous jazz musician, was born at 1524 St. John Street on March 17, 1917. His father, Edward, a Baptist minister, moved his family to Chicago in the early 1920s. There, Cole began his career as a jazz pianist. He toured the vaudeville circuit with the "Shuffle Along Review." In 1939, he formed the original "King Cole Trio." In the 1940s, he started singing and recording ballads in a distinct style that attracted great multitudes to his concerts. His early hits included "Sweet Loraine," and "Sweet Georgia Brown." He died of lung cancer on February 15, 1965 in Santa Monica, California.

Side 2:
Nat "King" Cole's music career spanned three decades and a variety of styles. He first played the piano in dance halls, then created his famous jazz trio and developed a singing style that influenced the future of jazz, rhythm-and-blues, and popular music. In 1946, he became the first black artist to have a sponsored radio show and in 1956 hosted the first T.V. series. His records were on the charts for 23 years; he had more than 100 hits. He won a Grammy in 1959 and received the Grammy lifetime achievement award in 1989. His daughter won a Grammy in 1992 for "Unforgettable," her dubbed duet with her father.

End of Nat "King" Cole