I am interrupting the countdown of my reviewsrevues Top 10 books of the year because yesterday evening we had the very sad news of the death of Natalie Cole. Anyone who has read my 100 Essential CD reviews will know that I am a big fan of the Cole family, both father and daughter, and now daughter, like father, has passed away much too young at the age of 65.
It was back in Christmas 1975 that I received a present I had been itching for ever since I had heard Natalie’s joyful debut single “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” on the radio, her first album “Inseparable”. It was one of the first albums I ever owned and I played it until it wore out. That was 40 years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since (the words of that debut single prophetic). Of course over those years there have been ups and downs – there was a period in the late 70s-early 80’s when her material was just not that good. This was a time when Natalie was dogged with her own personal demons and addictions, which she bravely set out in her candid autobiography “Angel On My Shoulder”. But the career comeback happened in 1988 with the sublime “Everlasting” and soared to her career highlight, the Grammy Award winning Record Of The Year “Unforgettable – With Love” recorded as a tribute to her father in 1991.
Since then (some 24 years) Natalie has proved herself as one of the great song stylists of all time and all of her albums have been a treat. For me she was certainly up there with Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Aretha Franklin as she straddled all musical types and imbued every song she sang with great warmth and style. Her most recent album ( Natalie Cole En Espanol- 2014) features songs sung in Spanish and it is well worth a listen. I cherish the two occasions I saw her live (once at Hammersmith Apollo when “Pink Cadillac” had broken big and once at the Royal Albert Hall with her “Unforgettable” show.) I think despite the lengthy career she was very under-rated as a performer and it is time to acknowledge her as one of the all time greats. If you want to find out more please read the reviews of my two favourite albums, read “Angel On My Shoulder” or just watch the video of the song that started it all off for me.
Review of “Everlasting“- Natalie Cole
Review of “Unforgettable..With Love“- Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole (1950-2015) – Rest In Peace.