Category: Natalie Cole

On this day in music history: June 17, 1987 – …

On this day in music history: June 17, 1987 – “Everlasting”, the eleventh studio album (twelfth overall) by Natalie Cole is released. Produced by Reggie Calloway, Vincent Calloway, Jerry Knight, Aaron Zigman, Dennis Lambert, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Marcus Miller, Eddie Cole, Andy Goldmark and Bruce Roberts, it is recorded at Larrabee Sound Studios, Studio 55, Encore Studios, One On One Studios, Oh Henry Studios, Yamaha Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Soundcastle Studio Center, Image Recording Studios, Ocean Way Studios, Lion Share Studios in Hollywood, CA, Conway Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA, House Of Music in West Orange, NJ, Messina Music, 39th Street Music in New York City and 5th Floor Recording in Cincinnati, OH from Late 1986 – Mid 1987. Finally overcoming a years long addiction to drugs by the mid 80’s, Natalie Cole begins to rebuild her career in earnest. Though that is an uphill climb as Cole’s record sales have declined steadily since the turn of the decade. Wary of her reputation during the height of her substance abuse problems, many record labels are unwilling to sign her. However, Cole finds ardent supporters in music executives Gerry Griffith and Bruce Lundvall, at EMI imprint Manhattan Records. Looking to engineer a comeback for Natalie, they pair the singer with a host of top producers including Midnight Star members Reggie and Vincent Calloway, Dennis Lambert, Marcus Miller, and Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Titled “Everlasting”, the first single is the up tempo groover “Jump Start” (#2 R&B, #13 Pop, #28 Club Play), written and produced by the Calloway brothers. It is an out of the box smash, sending out the word that Cole was back in a major way. The third single is a cover of the Bruce Springsteen rocker “Pink Cadillac” (#9 R&B, #5 Pop, #1 Club Play). Produced by veteran pop and R&B producer Dennis Lambert, it is given an effervescent and funky dance pop reinvention. It’s an even bigger hit, and Natalie Cole’s first top ten pop hit since “Our Love” in 1978. Also given a hot house flavored remix by Robert Clivilles and David Cole (aka C+C Music Factory), “Cadillac” also becomes a huge club hit, topping the Billboard dance chart. The album spins off two more singles including the ballad “I Live For Your Love” (#4 R&B, #13 Pop, #2 AC). and a cover of “When I Fall In Love” (#31 R&B, #95 Pop, #14 AC), originally made famous by her father Nat King Cole. “Everlasting” successfully re-starts Natalie Cole’s recording career, earning her first Gold album in nearly a decade. It begins one of the greatest “second acts” in music history, hitting its peak with the album “Unforgettable… With Love” in 1991. “Everlasting” peaks at number eight on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty two on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 11, 1991 – …

On this day in music history: June 11, 1991 – “Unforgettable… With Love”, the fourteenth album by Natalie Cole is released. Produced by David Foster, Andre Fischer and Tommy LiPuma, it is recorded at Capitol Recording Studios, Conway Studios, Group IV Recording Studios, Hollywood Sound in Hollywood, CA, Pacifique Studios, Bill Schnee Studios, Track Record Studios in North Hollywood, CA, Lighthouse Studios, Ocean Way Recording, Westlake Audio, Johnny Yuma Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA and Twentieth Century Fox Scoring Stage in Century City, CA from November 1990 – April 1991. Having successfully restarted her stalled recording career in the late 80’s after years of drug abuse and regaining her sobriety, Natalie Cole is about to begin her third decade with another career milestone. Following the release of the album “Good To Be Back” in 1989, Cole tells executives at her label EMI Records that she wants to record an album of standards originally recorded by her legendary father Nat King Cole. The label is not receptive to the idea, feeling that it “won’t be commercial” and will potentially alienate her new younger fan base. Determined to go forth with the project, Cole negotiates her release from EMI, when her management contacts Bob Krasnow at Elektra Records, who offers to sign her to the label and make the album. Assembling a team of producers that include Natalie’s then husband former Rufus drummer Andre Fischer, Tommy LiPuma (George Benson, Diana Krall) and David Foster (Chicago, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand), they go about the task of selecting which songs to record. They pare the list down to twenty two songs which include the standards “Paper Moon”, “Too Young”, “Mona Lisa”, “Nature Boy”, “Route 66” (featuring Natalie’s uncle Ike Cole on piano), “Smile”, “L-O-V-E” and “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup”. The albums centerpiece is the title track “Unforgettable”, which is turned into a virtual duet by lifting the vocal track from Nat King Cole’s 1961 re-recording. To add additional authenticity and reverence to the new version, they also use arranger and orchestra conductor Nelson Riddle’s original arrangement. Released in the late Spring of 1991, the album is an enormous artistic and commercial triumph, giving Natalie Cole the opportunity to honor her father’s legacy, while also becoming the most successful album of her career. “Unforgettable” sweeps the 34th Annual Grammy Awards in 1992, winning six awards including the three major prizes, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Album Of The Year. “Unforgettable… With Love” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number five on the R&B album chart, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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JET magazine covers from 1977

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JET magazine covers from 1977

1970s Ebony Magazine Covers

1970s Ebony Magazine Covers

On this day in music history: February 26, 197…

On this day in music history: February 26, 1977 – “I’ve Got Love On My Mind” by Natalie Cole hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 on April 30, 1977. Written and produced by Marvin Yancy and Chuck Jackson, it is the fourth number one single for the Los Angeles born R&B vocalist.The track is recorded at PS Recording Studios in Chicago, IL, with many of the same musicians employed by Curtis Mayfield while working on Aretha Franklin’s “Sparkle” soundtrack including guitarist Phil Upchurch and keyboardist Tennyson Stephens. Issued as the first single from Cole’s third album “Unpredictable”, it quickly becomes an R&B smash before crossing over to the pop chart. The chart success of the single drives the accompanying album to Platinum status in the US, topping the Billboard R&B album chart for 3 weeks in April of 1977, and peaking at #8 on the Top 200 the same month. “I’ve Got Love On My Mind” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Nat King Cole with daughters Natalie and Car…

Nat King Cole with daughters Natalie and Carole at home circa 1962.

On this day in music history: October 4, 1975 …

On this day in music history: October 4, 1975 – “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on November 22, 1975. Written by Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancey, it is first R&B chart topper for Los Angeles, CA born R&B vocalist. The daughter of legendary singer and musician Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole meets Marvin Yancey and Chuck Jackson, both former members of the Chicago based R&B band The Independents (“Leaving Me”) in New York City in 1974. The trio soon begin collaborating together on what becomes Natalie’s debut album “Inseparable”. After receiving rejections from several different record labels, Capitol Records, her father Nat’s former label signs Cole in 1975. The uptempo and soulful “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” is selected as Natalie Cole’s debut single and is an immediate smash. The song wins Cole two Grammy Awards in 1976, including Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. She also becomes the first African American artist in history to win the Best New Artist Grammy. The latter of the two awards she wins is the first time another artist other than Aretha Franklin has won in that category since it had first been awarded in 1968. Ironically, Franklin had been offered several of the songs that end up on “Inseparable”, but had turned them down. Over the years, “This Will Be” is featured in numerous films including “While You Were Sleeping”, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”, “The Parent Trap” and “Must Love Dogs”. The song is also used on the reality TV series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in an episode where Natalie Cole appears as a guest judge. And “This Will Be” is featured in a series of television commercials for the online dating website “e-Harmony”.

Natalie Cole photographed by Bobby Holland, …

Natalie Cole photographed by Bobby Holland, 1978.

Nat King Cole with wife his daughters Carole…

Nat King Cole with wife his daughters Carole and Natalie during a Capitol recording session circa 1955.