Black History Facts-Nat King Cole 1st African American to host TV Series

Photo via Biography.com

Nat King Cole (1919-1965)

This Black History Month fact is in honor of Nat King Cole who was a legendary pianist, vocalist and TV personality. Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles on March 17, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama. He learned to play the organ as a young boy from his mother who was the organist at their church. By the time he was 12 he began formal lessons learning jazz, gospel, and classical music on piano.At 15, he dropped out of school to become a jazz pianist full time. During the late 1930's and 1940's he found success with his group The Nat King Cole Trio. During this time period they would sign to Capital Records and make history by having the first #1 on the Billboard Charts by an African American. During the 1950's his popularity grew as he became more known for his singing abilities and signature soft baritone voice. In 1956, he made more history when he became the first African-American performer to host a variety TV series when "The Nat King Cole Show" aired on NBC. He went on to sell millions of records win awards and his classic tune "Unforgettable" is still used in pop culture to this day. His oldest daughter Natalie Cole was also a very successful recording artist.

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