Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole is undoubtedly one of the best and most influential musicians in the swing era. Born in Alabama but growing up in Chicago, Cole would sneak out of his house at a young age to listen to the likes of Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines and Jimmie Noone. After leading and playing piano in various small groups, Cole found his greatest commercial success as a singer and by the 1950s was regarded as one of the top male vocalists and solely pursued singing. His popularity was so great that in 1956 he became the first African American to host an American television series – The Nat King Cole show. His versatility and talents were so prodigious that he also acted in films and on Broadway.
Shot by Dale Barnes in September 1961, Nat King Cole is pictured during an original musical special - Wild Is Love