For other uses, see King Cole (disambiguation). Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965) was a popular American singer, songwriter, and jazz pianist.
Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama. His father was a butcher and a deacon in the Baptist church. His family moved to Chicago, Illinois, while he was still a child. There, his father became a minister; Nat's mother Perlina was the church organist. Nat learned to play piano from his mother until the age of 12, when he began formal lessons. His first performance, at age four, was of "Yes, We Have No Bananas." He learned not only jazz and gospel music, but European classical music as well, performing, as he said, "from Johann Sebastian Bach to Rachmaninoff."
The family lived in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, which was famous in the 1920s for its nightlife and jazz clubs. Nat would sneak out of the house and hang outside the clubs, listening to artists such as Louis Armstrong, Earl "Fatha" Hines, and Jimmie Noone. He participated in Walter Dyett's renowned music program at ...