29¢ Nat “King” Cole
Issue Date: September 1, 1994
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.2
Described as “one of the greatest singers of the century,” Nat “King” Cole is best remembered for his satiny-smooth voice, although he originally began his career as a jazz pianist. In fact, his style of using the piano as a solo, rather than a rhythm instrument inspired other pianists to form similar groups and is an influence still felt in the jazz world today.
The organist at his father’s church, he began playing at jazz clubs and later formed the popular King Cole Trio – one of the first black groups to have their own radio show. In 1943, his recording of “Straighten up and Fly Right” won him fame as a singer, and although he would continue to perform as a jazz musician, his image as a singer would dominate the rest of his career. By the early 1950s, Cole’s music turned to pop with “Walking My Baby Back Home,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” and “For Sentimental Reasons.”
Riding on the success of what is considered his best remembered hit “When I Fall in Love,” Cole broke color barriers and made musical history when he was given his own musical TV series. Popular for more than two decades, other successes such as “Mona Lisa” and “Unforgettable,” helped him attain lasting acceptance by audiences throughout the world.