A Man and his Music – William Price King Meets Natalie Cole – Part two – Into the 90s

In part one of the Natalie Cole story we discovered more about her childhood and early musical influences which of course included both her father, Nat King Cole and her mother, Maria Cole, who was also a talented jazz singer. William Price King picks up the story….


Natalie was determined to follow her own musical path and had a meteoric rise to fame in the 70’s but unfortunately her health and her career were badly affected by her addiction to drugs. Following the release of her album in 1980, Don’t Look Back it became far more difficult to hide the impact her lifestyle was having on her music.

Finally in 1983, after the release of her album I’m Ready, Natalie spent several months in a rehab centre following which she signed with a new label, Modern Records and released Dangerous in 1985; heralding her return to the music charts and a resurgence in her career. Here is Natalie with a live version of the title track. Uploaded by 70s80sVidz

The album had moderate success charting at 140 on the Billboard 200 and reaching No. 48 on the R&B Albums Chart.

With this success under her belt, Natalie moved to EMI-Manhattan Records and released the album Everlasting. Both the albums and the singles released subsequently, did much better in the charts. The album made gold status in the US and reached No 42 on the Billboard 200 and No 8 on the R&B Albums. It also did well in the UK charts at No 62.

The tracks included a crossover cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Pink Cadillac and singles hit with I Live For Your Love. Uploaded by Luckysmusic.

In 1989 came the next album which reflected Natalie’s return to her career and was aptly named Good to be Back. The album not only did well in the US charts, but also achieved acclaim internationally getting to No. 10 and Gold status in the UK Chart. Miss You Like Crazy was released as a single and reached No7 in the US charts and No. 2 in the UK.

In between those the two albums, Natalie released some singles that had also done well in the charts including Miss You and the re-release of Jump Start. There were also duets with Freddie Jackson with I Do and Over You with Ray Parker Jnr. Uploaded by Kirby Drice.

1991 was to prove to be an extraordinary year for Natalie Cole. Now firmly back in sync with both the music industry and her personal life, it was time to bring her style and interpretation to a project that she had once said would never happen. The album Unforgettable; With Love featured covers of her father’s hits, taking 40 year old songs with Natalie adding her own vocal arrangements, and being accompanied by her uncle Ike Cole on the piano.

This debut album with her new label Electra, contained all the classic tracks inlcuding The Very Thought of You, Paper Moon, Straighten Up And Fly Right, Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup and Our Love Is Here To Stay.

At the same time, Natalie’s label released the interactive duet with her father that was to wow audiences around the world. A fusion of technological magic and stunning voices across the decades splicing the talent of father and daughter together beautifully. The single Unforgettable reached No. 14 on the Billboard Top 100 and No. 10 on the R&B charts going gold.

The album reached No. 1 for five weeks selling over 14 million copies and won six Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. This was not without some controversy as one of the Grammy Awards was for Song of the Year. Critics felt that a 40 year old song should not be included in the category and the following year the rules changed for inclusion in this award.

As well as confirming Natalie’s position in the music industry, it also reminded the fans, buying public and the record company executives that great music does not go out of style and the album and the single received a lot of airtime.

Natalie Cole said this of its remarkable success.

“It’s absolutely shocking to see it between Van Halen and Skid Row on the charts, totally out of its element. It should be encouraging to record companies and my contemporaries.”

Here is the incredible duet between father and daughter that made music history. Uploaded by Car2929

As Natalie reclaimed her career in the charts and also with her fans, she cemented her presence in the industry with performances in high profile concerts such as the 1988 Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute. She dueted with jazz vocalist Al Jarreau on the song Mr. President on HBO’s Comic Relief special alongside Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. She had previously collaborated with Johnny Mathis on one of her specials in the 80s and in 1992 he invited her to be part of his television tribute to her father for the BBC in the UK. It delighted audiences and led to the release of an album A Tribute to Nat Cole.

Following the success of Unforgettable: With Love, PBS broadcast a special based on the album which received Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program and Natalie also received the nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance, losing to Bette Midler. In 1993 Natalie was also invited to perform at the 65th Academy Awards performing two of the hits sung by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, Run to You and I have Nothing.

This was followed by Natalie Cole’s next album Take A Look featuring jazz standards that included her recording of the title track her idol Aretha Franklin had recorded 30 years previously. This album went gold as did the Christmas album Holly & Ivy that ended 1994.

Her album Stardust that was released in 1996 delighted her fans with American standards including another duet with her father on a modern version of When I Fall In Love. It went platinum and Natalie Cole wan another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Uploaded by Haddu4all1

Buy Natalie Cole Music: http://www.amazon.com/Natalie-Cole/e/B000APXL9M

Next time the rest of the 1990s the new millennium

About William Price King

williampricekingWilliam Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:


We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks. Please join us next week for part three of the Natalie Cole Story.

Thanks for dropping by.. Sally

A Man and His Music – William Price King meets Mel Tormé – Part Three – The 50s

Mel torme album

It is time to pick up the story of Mel Torme’s career in the 50s and early 60s which in many respects was an unsettled and frustrating period commercially. Mel blamed the increasingly popular rock and roll music for the demise of Jazz as music of choice and even referred to it as “three-chord manure”

After leaving Capitol records in 1952, a year passed in limbo until Mel signed up with the Coral label which was a subsidiary of Decca Records. It had been formed in 1949 and had signed and released music from both swing, Jazz and the new dreaded Rock and Roll with the likes of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Mel recorded a number of singles with Coral and then in December 1954 a live performance was recorded at the very popular Crescendo Club in Los Angeles that would mark the beginning of Mel’s many “Live” albums.

The Crescendo Club via Hollywood Pictures.

 Crescendo club. hollywoodphotographs.com

It was time for Mel to move on again and this time back to his roots with a small Jazz label, Bethlehem Records, who had released first albums for up and coming singers such as Nina Simone. Mel released a ballad LP, It’s a Blue World with Bethlehem in 1955 and this marked the first of many recordings in association with pianist/arranger Marty Paich. They formed the Marty Paich Dek-tette with a strategy to try and loosen Frank Sinatra’s hold on the charts at the time by recording little known songs that Frank had not covered as yet… This included the perennial favourite “Lulu’s Back in Town” in 1956 written in 1935 by Al Dubin and Harry Warren.

Along with recording, Mel also began to tour more including overseas visiting Australia in 1955. In 1956, a single from the live album Mel recorded with Coral, the Rodgers & Hart song “Mountain Greenery,”was released as a single in the UK reaching the top ten in time for Mel’s first tour in Europe.

On his return to Los Angeles in late 1956 Mel recorded an new LP – Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire with Marty Paich. This should have been a time of consolidation for Mel and a new opportunity to get a foothold in the charts. Unfortunately his record company Bethlehem was having problems and despite recording another Live Album at the Crescendo in 1957 and a further LP, Songs for Any Taste” the label went out of business. Mel returned to England that summer and cut a record for his fans there with Philips Records – Tormé Meets the British. Back in the US he signed a contract with a small label, Tops, and recorded the concept album Prelude to a Kiss in 1958. The album charted the course of a relationship with the songs linked with dialogue. One of the songs on the album is “I’ve Got the World on a String” by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler

This was followed by a new label signing back to his Jazz roots with Verve Records where Ella Fitzgerald was recording. Over the next four years he released eight albums under the label Tormé; Olé Tormé: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Billy May; Back in Town (with the Mel-Tones); Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley; Swingin’ on the Moon; Broadway, Right Now! (with Margaret Whiting); I Dig the Duke! I Dig the Count!; and My Kind of Music. All the albums did well with Jazz fans but were not huge sellers and by the early 60’s Mel decided to move on to the Atlantic Record Label.

A great boost to Mel’s career came along in the form of a revival in his acting career including in the television drama The Comedian and in appearances in a number of films including Girls Town and Walk Like a Dragon in 1960 with the added bonus of the title song being written and performed by Mel.

A final performance from the CD, “Olé Tormé: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Billy May.” Mel Tormé is accompanied by the great Billy May and His Orchestra. Originally released on the Verve label, April 2, 1959. Vaya con Dios was composed in 1953 by Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper. Courtesy of davidhertzberg1

On Wednesday another featured iconic song performed by William Price King and next Saturday we follow Mel into the 60s and early 70s.

Here are Part One and Part Two of the series so far.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme/ Part One.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme-part-two-1940s/ Part Two

Links to the Nat King Cole series.

Album covers – http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Torme/e/B000APVACW

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

Price King Eric Sempe

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484