#BlackHistoryMonth Moment: #NatKingCole was the 1st African-American to reach #1 on Billboard! [vid]



Did you know that Nat King Cole was the 1st AFRICAN-AMERICAN to reach #1 on Billboard and the 1st to host his own American TV series!!??

Born March 17th 1919, Cole recorded over one hundred songs that became hits on the pop charts. His trio was the model for small jazz ensembles that followed.

In 1946 the trio broadcast King Cole Trio Time, a fifteen-minute radio program. This was the first radio program to be sponsored by a black musician. Cole began recording and performing pop-oriented material in which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra. His stature as a popular star was cemented during this period by hits such as “All for You” (1943), “The Christmas Song” (1947), “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”, “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” (1946), “There! I’ve Said It Again” (1947), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Frosty The Snowman”, “Mona Lisa” (No. 1 song of 1950), “Orange Colored Sky” (1950), “Too Young” (No. 1 song of 1951),

In October 1944 Capitol released the first King Cole Trio album. The four 78 rpm records housed in the album comprised of 8 songs, ‘Body and Soul’, ‘Easy Listenin’ Blues’, Embraceable You’, ‘It’s Only A Paper Moon’, ‘Prelude in C-Sharp Minor’, ‘Sweet Lorraine’, ‘The Man I love’ and ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’.

It would prove to be an historic album as it topped the very first Billboard ‘Best Selling Popular Record Albums’ chart on 24 March 1945. It spent most of the rest of the year on the best seller list, many of them at No.1. In the Billboard yearbook for 1944, ‘Straighten Up And Fly Right’ and ‘All For You’ were on the list of the 15 best selling Race Records for the year; only Duke Ellington had more, with four.

On November 5, 1956, The Nat ‘King’ Cole Show debuted on NBC. The variety program was one of the first hosted by an African American.



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