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Nat 'King' Cole L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set)

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In many ways, the last five years of Nat King Cole 's recording career was his most successful... more

Nat 'King' Cole: L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set)

In many ways, the last five years of Nat King Cole's recording career was his most successful period: despite the insurgence of rock 'n' roll and other non-traditional pop musics, Nat King Cole was riding higher than ever. He had more big hits in these years than ever before, and he mastered the technique of turning hit singles into best selling albums. The years 1960-1964 found Cole collaborating extensively with a new and outstanding musical director, the highly talented Ralph Carmichael, as well as creating some of his best-remembered albums with old friends like Billy May and Gordon Jenkins. There also were wonderful one-shot projects like his team-up with the great pianist George Shearing and Cole's only official live recording.

This second 11-CD set is the first complete collection of all of Nat King Cole's recordings from the final half-decade of his career, a total of 292 masters. The set includes all of the following albums, in many cases including rare 'bonus' material from the same sessions: Nat King Cole's only in-concert recording, 'Live At The Sands' (1960) ' universally regarded as one of the great live albums of all time. 'Wild Is Love' '
Nat King Cole's only original-story concept album, containing the classic title song, and his last collaboration with the great arranger Nelson Riddle (1960). 'The Magic Of Christmas' ' The King's only all-original Christmas concept album, a collection of traditional carols that marked his first project with the wonderful musical director Ralph Carmichael (1960). 'The Touch Of Your Lips' ' One of Cole's all-time greatest ballad albums, with sumptuous arrangements by the brilliant Mr. Carmichael (1960). 'Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays' '  

Another brilliant collection of love songs, Cole's only meeting with the marvelous jazz pianist, backed by more deluxe string arrangements from Ralph Carmichael ' including many bonus tracks (1961). 'The Nat King Cole Story' ' Nat King Cole's massive autobiographical statement of 1961, in which he recreated his classic hits of the '40s and '50s in state of the art stereo with the original orchestrations in an elaborate three-LP package ' including several bonus tracks. 'Let's Face The Music!' ' Cole's last teaming with his old chum Billy May proved to be one of the hardest-swinging albums of his career, in which he not only swung the hell out of 12 great songs but contributed five solos (the only ones of his career) on electric organ (1961)! 'More Cole Espanol' ' Nat King Cole's final Spanish-language album brought him South of the border to Mexico City, both musically and literally! With Ralph Carmichael (1962). 'Ramblin' Rose' ' Nat King Cole's first mega-hit of this period, a blockbuster country song 'by two Jewish boys from Brooklyn' that became one of his all-time best-sellers and led to an equally succesful album (1962). 'Dear Lonely Hearts' ' The second of Nat King Cole's country albums. (1962). 'Where Did Everyone Go' ' The only time that Nat King Cole recorded a set of saloon-and-suicide songs in the style of
Frank Sinatra's 'Only The Lonely.' An all-time classic if under-appreciated album of quality pop music, orchestrated in high style by the great Gordon Jenkins and featuring several all-time Nat King Cole classics, such as the title song and the haunting I Keep Going Back To Joe's (1962). 'My Fair Lady' ' Nat King Cole's marvelous but little-known recording of the complete score to the 1956 classic musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, with marvelous orchestrations by Ralph Carmichael (1963). Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer, one of the biggest hits of the early '60s, and a song that all but defined an era, expanded into a marvelous sing-a-long album ' 12 warmly nostalgic songs of the good old summertime, featuring Nat King Cole, Carmichael's orchestra and a large chorus. Includes That Sunday, That Summer, among the most beautiful songs Nat King Cole recorded in the later period (1963). 'I Don't Want To Be Hurt Anymore ' ' 

Cole's final country album, the most modern sounding of the three, with sophisticated charts by Ralph Carmichael, and including many bonus tracks and singles (1964). L-O-V-E  Nat King Cole's last hit was a German import by Bert Kaempfert that he and Ralph Carmichael worked into a classic album, all of hard-swinging, Basie-esque love songs with a continental flavor. Nat King Cole's final album featured some of the best singing (and swinging!) of his entire career. Plus over 40 singles, nearly none of them ever reissued on LP or CD, including some wonderful, hidden gems, such as : - Several outstanding showtunes, such as Look No Further from 'No Strings,' and Magic Moment from 'The Gay Life.' -
Nat King Cole's little-known 1960 reunion session with Stan Kenton and his Orchestra.

Nat King Cole's only date with arranger Richard Wess, which resulted in the swinging 'Cappuccina'.
A marvelous selection of foreign language versions of his hit songs, most never commonly available in any country! - Several outstanding movie songs, including Nat King Cole's vocals from his last film, the classic comedy-western 'Cat Ballou.'
Most of these singles tracks have only been heard in the last 40 years with over-dubbed rhythm section ' this package marks their first compilation in the orginal, untampered masters, as they were meant to be heard.

The hardcover book features the usual Bear Family amenities: 184 pages of full-color photos from the Capitol vault, extensive analysis and background by Will Friedwald, the definitive Nat King Cole scholar, as well as a complete discography and tune index by Michel Ruppli, Jordan Taylor, Russell Wapensky & Richard Weize.

Article properties: Nat 'King' Cole: L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set)

  • Interpret: Nat 'King' Cole

  • Album titlle: L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set)

  • Label Bear Family Records

  • Genre Pop

  • Deluxe Edition
  • Price code KL
  • Artikelart Box set

  • EAN: 4000127167170

  • weight in Kg 3
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 1
01 Ballerina Nat 'King' Cole
02 Funny (Not Much) Nat 'King' Cole
03 The Continental Nat 'King' Cole
04 I Wish You Love Nat 'King' Cole
05 You Leave Me Breathles Nat 'King' Cole
06 Thou Swell Nat 'King' Cole
07 My Kinda Love Nat 'King' Cole
08 The Surrey With The Fringe On Top Nat 'King' Cole
09 Where Or When (instrumental) Nat 'King' Cole
10 Miss Otis Regrets (She's Unable To Lunch ...) Nat 'King' Cole
11 Joe Turner's Blues Nat 'King' Cole
12 Mr. Cole Won't Rock And Roll Nat 'King' Cole
13 Introduction Nat 'King' Cole
14 Wild Is Love Nat 'King' Cole
15 Wild Is Love Nat 'King' Cole
16 Hundreds And Thousands Of Girls Nat 'King' Cole
17 It's A Beautiful Evening Nat 'King' Cole
18 Tell Her In The Morning Nat 'King' Cole
19 Are You Disenchanted? Nat 'King' Cole
20 Pick-Up Nat 'King' Cole
21 Beggar For The Blues Nat 'King' Cole
22 World Of No Return Nat 'King' Cole
23 In Love Again Nat 'King' Cole
24 Stay With It Nat 'King' Cole
25 Wouldn't You Know Nat 'King' Cole
26 He Who Hesitates Nat 'King' Cole
27 Wild Is Love (reprise) Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 2
01 Steady Nat 'King' Cole
02 My Love-1 Nat 'King' Cole
03 Magic Night Nat 'King' Cole
04 Is It Better To Have Loved And Lost? Nat 'King' Cole
05 Someone To Tell It Too Nat 'King' Cole
06 Baby Blue Nat 'King' Cole
07 When It's Summer Nat 'King' Cole
08 You Are Mine Nat 'King' Cole
09 Away In A Manger Nat 'King' Cole
10 I Saw Three Ships Nat 'King' Cole
11 Silent Night Nat 'King' Cole
12 The First Noel Nat 'King' Cole
13 Joy To The World Nat 'King' Cole
14 Deck The Halls Nat 'King' Cole
15 Hark The Herald Angels Sing Nat 'King' Cole
16 Adeste Fideles 1 Nat 'King' Cole
17 Adeste Fideles 2 Nat 'King' Cole
18 O Tannenbaum Nat 'King' Cole
19 A Cradle In Bethlehem Nat 'King' Cole
20 God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen Nat 'King' Cole
21 Caroling, Caroling/O Holy Night Nat 'King' Cole
22 O Little Town Of Bethlehem Nat 'King' Cole
23 The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) Nat 'King' Cole
24 Buon Natale Means (Merry Christmas To You) Nat 'King' Cole
25 The Happiest Christmas Tree Nat 'King' Cole
26 Toys For Tots (Marine Corps Release) Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 3
01 If I Knew Nat 'King' Cole
02 I Remember You Nat 'King' Cole
03 Sunday, Monday Or Always Nat 'King' Cole
04 A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square Nat 'King' Cole
05 My Need For You Nat 'King' Cole
06 Poinciana Nat 'King' Cole
07 The Touch Of Your Lips Nat 'King' Cole
08 You're Mine, You! Nat 'King' Cole
09 Illusion Nat 'King' Cole
10 Funny (Not Much) Nat 'King' Cole
11 Not So Long Ago Nat 'King' Cole
12 Only Forever Nat 'King' Cole
13 Lights Out Nat 'King' Cole
14 It's Only A Paper Moon Nat 'King' Cole
15 Sweet Lorraine Nat 'King' Cole
16 (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 Nat 'King' Cole
17 Straighten Up And Fly Right Nat 'King' Cole
18 (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons Nat 'King' Cole
19 Embraceable You Nat 'King' Cole
20 Answer Me My Love Nat 'King' Cole
21 Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup Nat 'King' Cole
22 Smile Nat 'King' Cole
23 Pretend Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 4
01 The Sand And The Sea Nat 'King' Cole
02 A Blossom Fell Nat 'King' Cole
03 Nature Boy Nat 'King' Cole
04 Too Young Nat 'King' Cole
05 Somewhere Along The Way Nat 'King' Cole
06 Unforgettable Nat 'King' Cole
07 Mona Lisa Nat 'King' Cole
08 Send For Me Nat 'King' Cole
09 If I May-1 Nat 'King' Cole
10 Looking Back Nat 'King' Cole
11 Goodnight Little Leaguer Nat 'King' Cole
12 Take A Fool's Advice Nat 'King' Cole
13 The First Baseball Game Nat 'King' Cole
14 Because You Love Me Nat 'King' Cole
15 Make It Last Nat 'King' Cole
16 Capuccina Nat 'King' Cole
17 Let True Love Begin (Let's Begin Again) Nat 'King' Cole
18 Let True Love Begin (Let's Begin Again) (with Nat 'King' Cole
19 chorus) Nat 'King' Cole
20 Love Nat 'King' Cole
21 I Heard You Cried Last Night Nat 'King' Cole
22 Orange Colored Sky Nat 'King' Cole
23 To The Ends Of The Earth Nat 'King' Cole
24 Non Dimenticar Nat 'King' Cole
25 Blue Gardenia Nat 'King' Cole
26 Night Lights Nat 'King' Cole
27 Calypso Blues Nat 'King' Cole
28 I Am In Love Nat 'King' Cole
29 Lush Life Nat 'King' Cole
30 Walkin' My Baby Back Home Nat 'King' Cole
31 Ballerina (Dance, Ballerina, Dance) Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 5
01 Ebony Rhapsody Nat 'King' Cole
02 Day In, Day Out Nat 'King' Cole
03 Too Little, Too Late Nat 'King' Cole
04 When My Sugar Walks Down The Street Nat 'King' Cole
05 Cold, Cold Heart Nat 'King' Cole
06 Let's Face The Music And Dance Nat 'King' Cole
07 Something Makes Me Want To Dance With You Nat 'King' Cole
08 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself... Nat 'King' Cole
09 The Rules Of The Road Nat 'King' Cole
10 Warm And Willing Nat 'King' Cole
11 Bidin' My Time Nat 'King' Cole
12 Moon Love Nat 'King' Cole
13 Azure-Te Nat 'King' Cole
14 A Beautiful Friendship Nat 'King' Cole
15 Everything Happens To Me Nat 'King' Cole
16 Pick Yourself Up Nat 'King' Cole
17 September Song Nat 'King' Cole
18 Let There Be Love Nat 'King' Cole
19 I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good Nat 'King' Cole
20 Serenata Nat 'King' Cole
21 The Game Of Love Nat 'King' Cole
22 Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) Nat 'King' Cole
23 Guess I'll Go Back Home Nat 'King' Cole
24 I'm Lost Nat 'King' Cole
25 Don't Go Nat 'King' Cole
26 There's A Lull In My Life Nat 'King' Cole
27 Lost April Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 6
01 Step Right Up Nat 'King' Cole
02 Magic Moment Nat 'King' Cole
03 The Right Things To Say Nat 'King' Cole
04 Look No Further Nat 'King' Cole
05 La Feria De Las Flores Nat 'King' Cole
06 Guadalajara Nat 'King' Cole
07 La Golondrina (The Swallow) Nat 'King' Cole
08 Tres Palabras (Withut You) Nat 'King' Cole
09 Piel Canela Nat 'King' Cole
10 Solamente Una Vez (You Belong To My Heart) Nat 'King' Cole
11 Las Chiapanecas (While There's Music, ...) Nat 'King' Cole
12 Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You) Nat 'King' Cole
13 Adios Mariquita Linda (Adios And Farewell...) Nat 'King' Cole
14 No Me Platiques Nat 'King' Cole
15 Aqui Se Habla En Amor (Love Is Spoken Here) Nat 'King' Cole
16 A Media Luz Nat 'King' Cole
17 Dear Lonely Hearts Nat 'King' Cole
18 Ramblin' Rose Nat 'King' Cole
19 Nothing Goes Up Without Coming Down Nat 'King' Cole
20 The Good Times Nat 'King' Cole
21 Who's Next In Line? Nat 'King' Cole
22 When You're Smiling Nat 'King' Cole
23 Wolverton Mountain Nat 'King' Cole
24 One Has My Name, The Other Has My Heart Nat 'King' Cole
25 Skip To My Lou Nat 'King' Cole
26 Sing Another Song (And We'll All Go Home) Nat 'King' Cole
27 Your Cheatin' Heart Nat 'King' Cole
28 Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight Nat 'King' Cole
29 I Don't Want It That Way Nat 'King' Cole
30 Twilight On The Trail Nat 'King' Cole
31 He'll Have To Go Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 7
01 Farewell To Arms Nat 'King' Cole
02 Happy New Year Nat 'King' Cole
03 When The World Was Young Nat 'King' Cole
04 Spring Is Here Nat 'King' Cole
05 No, I Don't Want Her Nat 'King' Cole
06 Say It Isn't So Nat 'King' Cole
07 Am I Blue? Nat 'King' Cole
08 Laughing On The Outside Nat 'King' Cole
09 I Keep Going Back To Joe's Nat 'King' Cole
10 The End Of A Love Affair Nat 'King' Cole
11 That's All There Is Nat 'King' Cole
12 Someone To Tell It To Nat 'King' Cole
13 If Love Ain't There Nat 'King' Cole
14 Where Did Everyone Go? Nat 'King' Cole
15 Miss You Nat 'King' Cole
16 Oh How I Miss You Tonight Nat 'King' Cole
17 All Over The World Nat 'King' Cole
18 Lonesome And Sorry Nat 'King' Cole
19 My First And Only Lover Nat 'King' Cole
20 Near You Nat 'King' Cole
21 Why Should I Cry Over You? Nat 'King' Cole
22 Yearning Nat 'King' Cole
23 All By Myself Nat 'King' Cole
24 It's A Lonesome Old Town Nat 'King' Cole
25 Misery Loves Company Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 8
01 In The Cool Of The Day Nat 'King' Cole
02 Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer Nat 'King' Cole
03 Felicia Nat 'King' Cole
04 You'll See Nat 'King' Cole
05 Mr. Wishing Well Nat 'King' Cole
06 On The Sidewalks Of New York Nat 'King' Cole
07 Get Out And Get Under The Moon Nat 'King' Cole
08 After The Ball Is Over Nat 'King' Cole
09 There Is A Tavern In The Town Nat 'King' Cole
10 On A Bicycle Built For Two Nat 'King' Cole
11 In The Good Old Summertime Nat 'King' Cole
12 That Sunday, That Summer Nat 'King' Cole
13 Our Old Home Town Nat 'King' Cole
14 Don't Forget Nat 'King' Cole
15 You Tell Me Your Dream Nat 'King' Cole
16 That's What They Meant Nat 'King' Cole
17 Wouldn't It Be Loverly? Nat 'King' Cole
18 I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face Nat 'King' Cole
19 I Could Have Danced All Night Nat 'King' Cole
20 With A Little Bit Of Luck Nat 'King' Cole
21 You Did It Nat 'King' Cole
22 Show Me Nat 'King' Cole
23 I'm An Ordinary Man Nat 'King' Cole
24 Hymn To Him Nat 'King' Cole
25 Get Me To The Church On Time Nat 'King' Cole
26 The Rain In Spain Nat 'King' Cole
27 On The Street Where You Live Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 9
01 Silver Bird Nat 'King' Cole
02 My True Carrie Love Nat 'King' Cole
03 I Don't Want To Be Hurt Anymore Nat 'King' Cole
04 A Rag, A Bone, A Hank Of Hair Nat 'King' Cole
05 People Nat 'King' Cole
06 Let Me Tell You, Babe Nat 'King' Cole
07 Brush Those Tears From Your Eyes Nat 'King' Cole
08 You're Crying On My Shoulder Nat 'King' Cole
09 Was That The Human Thing To Do? Nat 'King' Cole
10 Only Yesterday Nat 'King' Cole
11 Road To Nowhere Nat 'King' Cole
12 Go, If You're Going Nat 'King' Cole
13 I'm Alone Because I Love You Nat 'King' Cole
14 Don't You Remember? Nat 'King' Cole
15 I'm All Cried Out Nat 'King' Cole
16 I Don't Want To See Tomorrow Nat 'King' Cole
17 You're My Everything Nat 'King' Cole
18 L-O-V-E Nat 'King' Cole
19 Wanderlust Nat 'King' Cole
20 Marnie Nat 'King' Cole
21 More And More Of Your Amore Nat 'King' Cole
22 The Ballad Of Cat Ballou Nat 'King' Cole
23 They Can't Make Her Cry Nat 'King' Cole
24 How I'd Love To Love You Nat 'King' Cole
25 Coquette (Little Coquette) Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 10
01 More Nat 'King' Cole
02 Your Love Nat 'King' Cole
03 My Kind Of Girl Nat 'King' Cole
04 Thanks To You Nat 'King' Cole
05 There's Love Nat 'King' Cole
06 Swiss Retreat Nat 'King' Cole
07 The Girl From Ipanema Nat 'King' Cole
08 Three Little Words Nat 'King' Cole
09 No Other Heart Nat 'King' Cole
10 Je Ne Repartirai Pas (french version) Nat 'King' Cole
11 Les Feuilles Mortes (french version) Nat 'King' Cole
12 Le Bonheur C'est Quand On S'aime (french) Nat 'King' Cole
13 Crois-Moi Ca Durera (french version) Nat 'King' Cole
14 Passing By (french version) Nat 'King' Cole
15 L-O-V-E (italian version) Nat 'King' Cole
16 Tu Sei Cosi Amabile (italian version) Nat 'King' Cole
17 Amor (spanish version) Nat 'King' Cole
18 Tu Eres Tan Amable (spanish version) Nat 'King' Cole
19 Muetterlein (german version) Nat 'King' Cole
20 L-O-V-E (german version) Nat 'King' Cole
21 I Don't Want To Be Hurt Anymore (japanese) Nat 'King' Cole
22 L-O-V-E (japanese version) Nat 'King' Cole
23 Kareha (japanese version) Nat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - L-O-V-E The Complete Capitol Recordings 1960-1964 Vol.2 (11-CD Deluxe Box Set) Box set 11
01 Magic Night Nat 'King' Cole
02 Is It Better To Have Loved And Lost? Nat 'King' Cole
03 Baby Blue Nat 'King' Cole
04 When It's Summer Nat 'King' Cole
05 You Are Mine Nat 'King' Cole
06 If I Knew Nat 'King' Cole
07 Looking Back Nat 'King' Cole
08 Take A Fool's Advice Nat 'King' Cole
09 Because You Love Me Nat 'King' Cole
10 Make It Last Nat 'King' Cole
11 Capuccina Nat 'King' Cole
12 Let True Love Begin (Let's Begin Again) Nat 'King' Cole
13 Magic Moment Nat 'King' Cole
14 Farewell To Arms Nat 'King' Cole
15 Happy New Year Nat 'King' Cole
16 Felicia Nat 'King' Cole
17 You'll See Nat 'King' Cole
18 Mr. Wishing Well Nat 'King' Cole
19 Silver Bird Nat 'King' Cole
20 People Nat 'King' Cole
21 Let Me Tell You, Babe Nat 'King' Cole
22 Marnie Nat 'King' Cole
23 No Other Heart Nat 'King' Cole
24 Unforgettable Nat 'King' Cole
25 Felicia Nat 'King' Cole
26 A Rag, A Bone, A Hank Of Hair Nat 'King' Cole
27 I Don't Want To See Tomorrow Nat 'King' Cole
28 Song Of Raintree Country Nat 'King' Cole
Nat King Cole "Some performers - like myself - have to be loud and rambunctious. But Nat was... more
"Nat 'King' Cole"

Nat King Cole

"Some performers - like myself - have to be loud and rambunctious. But Nat was just Nat."
- Sammy Davis, Jr.


On December 20, 1954, a little more than a week before the start of the period covered by this box set, Nat King Cole and his musical director Nelson Riddle recorded A Blossom Fell. The song would be one of Cole's big hits of 1955; in 1956 it would become the lead track of his album 'Ballads Of The Day,' a popular compilation of successful singles. Empirical evidence suggests that Cole and his producer, Lee Gillette, regarded A Blossom Fell as one of the singer's all-time greatest hits. Cole would land more than a hundred songs on various hit charts over a 25-year period in his lifetime alone yet A Blossom Fell was one of the 36 songs they chose to re-record in stereo in 1961, for the retrospective album, 'The Nat King Cole Story.'

A Blossom Fell was in many ways, a typical Nat King Cole song. Like many of his hits in the '50s and '60s, it was a European import. Cole must surely hold the record, you should forgive the expression, for doing more foreign-born songs than any other American entertainer – with the possible exception of Louis Armstrong. In this particular case, the song came from England, where it had been written by three rather obscure authors named Harold Cornelius, Dominic John and Howard Barnes. (The only other fact I have been able to find out about them is that they also wrote one other song that Cole put on the charts: the 1955 Dreams Can Tell A Lie. This tune was neither anywhere near as good a song nor, correspondingly, nearly as big a hit as A Blossom Fell.)

For most of his career, not only did a significant portion of Cole's material come from outside the United States, a large percentage of his market resided there as well. Around the same time A Blossom Fell was released in America, Cole's disc also charted in the song's native country, where Cole's version climbed considerably higher than rival recordings by home-grown crooners, Dickie Valentine and Ronnie Hilton.

The song is also an archetypical Nat King Cole hit in that, with no disrespect intended to Mr. Valentine and Mr. Hilton, I doubt that anyone would remember this particular song – and many others - were it not for Cole. In a sense, this was the opposite of the traditional path into The Great American Songbook. In many cases, the original source of the great songs is irrelevant; only scholars and music nerds would care that All The Things You Are was introduced by a singer no one has ever heard of (even in 1939) in a show called 'Very Warm For May' that quickly flopped. A Blossom Fell is precisely the reverse scenario: we care about the song only because Nat Cole had a hit with it. We would have no reason to remember the song were it not for Cole; he not only put it on the map, he was the whole map.

Even though it has been recorded by a handful of other singers, the song's only cred comes from the Cole-Riddle hit recording. The Austrian jazz singer Simone Kopemajer recently included it on an album because, as she told me, she loved the Cole performance of it. To Frau Kopemajer, Blossom represents a slice of the Great American Songbook and of the Cole canon – I don't think she was aware that the song had actually originated in Europe.

But in contrast to All The Things You Are - which is, admittedly, an unfair standard of excellence to compare it to - A Blossom Fell is by no means a classic example of songwriting. The lyric pivots on two points, the first being the use of plants as a metaphor. Cole would sing other songs that used variations on this idea, most notably the famous Blue Gardenia (1953), the obscure Sweet William (1952), and the classic Autumn Leaves (which he would perform for the first of many times later in 1955).

The lyric also employs another time-honored conceit of songwriters: the idea that gypsies, being fortune-tellers, are a race of mystics who have the inside dope on fate. While many of the ethnic stereotypes of Tin Pan Alley had disappeared by the postwar era, the preconceived idea regarding gypsies was apparently alive and well. In songs like Golden Earrings and The Gypsy (and even Cole's own, earlier That Ain't Right), lovers evaluate their affairs based on tell-tale signs read by gypsies in tea leaves and crystal balls.

I have no idea if the tradition presented in A Blossom Fell is a genuine gypsy custom, or if it was invented wholly for the song. In fact, it's kind of an awkward idea, one of those concepts that's so goofy, I would almost like to think it really was part of the folklore of real-life Romany. According to the lyric, if two lovers are sitting beneath a tree, exchanging vows of affection, and a blossom happens to fall off a branch and touch the lips of one of the two lovers, it means he or she isn't telling the truth when he or she says he loves him or her.

It's an awkward idea to express in song, and make no mistake, it is very awkwardly expressed. The song opens, "A blossom fell / From off a tree / It settled softly / On the lips you turned to me." That's the A section, and the last two lines are very cumbersome. They make little sense when you read them in print, especially considering that even if this is a genuine gypsy tradition, it's certainly one that not many people would be familiar with. As the late Sammy Cahn once observed, it's a mortal sin for a lyricist to put something in a line that has to be explained: a songwriter's job is to make his point immediately understandable, and if it's deep and profound, like Cole Porter or Alan Jay Lerner, so much the better.

The most obvious point was that only a really top drawer vocal artist - a Cole, a Sinatra, a Clooney, a Holiday - could take a lyric like this and not only make it crystal clear, but sing it so compellingly that millions of listeners would want to rush out and buy the single. As he so often did, Cole compensates for any inadequacies a text might have - he puts over exactly what the lyricist wanted to say even on those frequent occasions where the lyric is lacking. The lyric needs help, and it gets it.

Arranger-conductor Nelson Riddle does the same for the melody: he opens with a glorious string flourish that actually suggests the wind blowing threw leaves and branches in a cherry orchard with blossoms falling all over the place. The secondary voice on Blossom is valve trombonist Juan Tizol, who appears frequently on Cole's sessions in the mid-'50s, most prominently on the 1956 album 'After Midnight.' (When Cole remade the arrangement in 1961, he took the chart slightly slower and replaced the valve trombone with the customary slide instrument.) Yet Riddle doesn't deserve all the credit; Cole, more than nearly all other pop singers, had a unique capacity for improving any melody, for emphasizing the parts of the tune that worked and minimizing its shortcomings. It's no insult to Sinatra to say that, for all his musical strengths (including a remarkable sense of timing), that he had to take a backseat to Cole in the realm of pure melody. The only major singers who compete with Cole in this respect were Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. But neither of those grand divas was the interpreter that Cole was.

Bing Crosby or Carmen McRae could have sung A Blossom Fell and put the meaning across, but Cole does something I don't feel any other singer could have possibly done with it, and that is to make us believe it. Cole sings it as if he was imparting wisdom gained from actual experience, and he makes the words and music sound unique to his idiom. As much as I love Sinatra, I somehow don't think he could convince me that he exists in this particular world - a stylistic universe where liars can be readily identified by the blossoms sticking to their prevaricatin' lips. I don't mean that at all disingenuously: Cole makes you believe it in the most literal and direct way. There never would have been any Watergate or Monica-gate in this world, because Nixon and Clinton would have had blossoms all over their faces.

Nat Cole is the kind of talent that's hard to fully fathom in the world of 21st century popular culture - where almost nothing means what it's supposed to mean. Everything in the millennial era would appear to be ironic or sarcastic, a series of codes where meaning is hidden and nothing is obvious. Yet Cole is precisely the opposite: when he sings about blossoms falling on the lips of liars, he doesn't mean it metaphorically, he isn't singing symbolically, he means exactly what he sings.

In fact, the song is precisely suited to Cole, not Sinatra or anyone else, great as they may be, simply because in this world that he creates, Cole himself would never have a blossom stuck to his own lips. If the song has any kind of symbolism at all, it's that which describes the singer himself.

That, in fact, is the central tenet of Cole's music. Sinatra, contrastingly, was about singing great songs with multiple levels of meaning - songs with deep gray areas between black and white, like Glad To Be Unhappy. Even when Sinatra sings something simple, he makes it deeper and more complicated, and adds in gradations of feeling - Johnny Hodges-like microtones and emotional glissandos in between points A and B. Cole, on the other hand is more direct. Sinatra can take a simple song and make it profound; Cole takes a complex song and makes it simple...

Nat King Cole 1955-1959 Vol.1 (11-CD)
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.de/cole-nat-king-1955-1959-vol.1-11-cd.html
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