Nat King Cole

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The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true.
James Branch Cabell
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Nat "King" Cole (17 March 191915 February 1965) American singer and jazz musician; born Nathaniel Adams Coles


  • A buzzard took the monkey for a ride in the air
    The monkey thought that everything was on the square
    The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off his back
    But the monkey grabbed his neck and said — "Now listen, Jack..."
    "Straighten up and fly right
    Straighten up and fly right
    Straighten up and fly right
    Cool down, papa, don't you blow your top."
    • "Straighten Up And Fly Right" (1937) written with Irving Mills.
  • The buzzard told the monkey "You're chokin' me
    Release your hold and I'll set you free"
    The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye and said
    "Your story's touching but it sounds like a lie."
    • "Straighten Up And Fly Right" (1937) written with Irving Mills.
  • I felt something impossible for me to explain in words. Then when they took her away, it hit me. I got scared all over again and began to feel giddy. Then it came to me— I was a father."
    • Ebony (March 1950)
  • Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.
    • Comment on why his hit NBC TV show couldn't get a national sponsor. (1956) Quoted in article at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • I'm a businessman. I work for business people. The kind of thing they say is: Now we've sold a lot of records, let's sell some more.
    • British interview (1963)
  • I'm a musician at heart, I know I'm not really a singer. I couldn't compete with real singers. But I sing because the public buys it.
    • As quoted in Nat King Cole (1990) by James Haskings
  • Critics don't buy records. They get 'em free.
    • As quoted in Nat King Cole (1990) by James Haskings


  • I guess I just get to the heart of people's feelings, that's all.
  • I took a chance on "Nature Boy", though I think "Lost April" is a much better song. The public liked "Nature Boy" because it was something different.
  • You can't cling to the past. Too many different things are coming into the world.

Quotes about Cole

  • He was cool before it was cool to be cool.
  • I think what makes him so compelling as an artist, is that there is a tragic beauty in him. The sadness comes through in his singing.
  • For as long as there is some way for people to be able to hear that voice, there will be those who will be influenced by his voice.

External links

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