He had a voice like cappuccino, swung like no other, and inhabited some of the greatest love songs ever written — and his music both typified its era and proves everlasting in 2022. Now, to celebrate Nat King Cole’s birthday, March 17, some of his rarest tracks are joining the digital age.
Capitol Records and Universal Music Enterprises today announce Capitol Rarities (Vol. 1), a collection of 14 tracks by Nat King Cole, five of which will be available on streaming platforms for the first time ever. Sourced from Cole’s fruitful creative stretch between 1949 and 1952, highlights like “Tunnel of Love,” “I’ll Always Remember You” and “My First and My Last Love” feature all the effervescent swing and moonlit balladry that made Cole one of the most iconic performers ever to emerge from the jazz/pop sphere.
Bruce Resnikoff, UMe’s President & CEO, said, “As guardians of Nat King Cole’s legendary Capitol tapes, we look forward to making even more of his vast catalog of recordings available, from his biggest hits to deeper tracks that have been unavailable for decades. Whether you’re a long-time fan or just beginning to discover this incredible American talent, this series will provide much more insight into his repertoire from across his storied musical career. With more Nat King Cole projects in the works, I can’t wait to release even more material from the vaults.”
Even the most casual music listeners probably know one or two hits by memory — such is his ageless appeal — but Capitol Rarities (Vol. 1) provides deeper insights into the Book of Nat. While lesser known than Nat’s biggest chart hits, these early and currently unavailable hidden gems are astonishing high-quality recordings. Most haven’t been reissued in many years and, before this series, many had not been available digitally (and all are currently unavailable). The collection contains collaborations with some of the very best in the business — composers Frank Loesser, Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke, arrangers Nelson Riddle and Pete Rugolo, vocalists Alyce King and the Ray Charles Singers, and bongo player Jack Costanzo — it contains tender duets with his wife, Maria Cole.
Indeed, she sings in tandem with her husband on three tracks: The 1950 version of Larry Shay, Charles Tobias and Roy Alfred’s “Get Out and Get Under the Moon”; Roy Alfred’s “Hey, Not Now! (I’ll Tell You When);” and Marvin Fisher and Alfred’s “It’s a Man Every Time.” Many of the tracks feature Cole’s inimitable trio, which featured guitarist Irving Ashby and bassist Joe Comfort. And it all concludes with the radiant “Easter Sunday Morning,” which acts as both a fitting capper for this revelatory collection and a harbinger of more euphoric songs by an American treasure — ones that Capitol and UMe are lovingly restoring to their rightful place in the digital landscape.
Even though Cole passed away in 1965 at just 45 years old, he left behind a vast catalog of recordings that remind us, even on what would have been his 103rd birthday, of his extraordinary talents. When it comes to American geniuses like Cole, digging a little deeper every now and again is always an excellent idea.
Capitol Rarities (Vol. 1) (2022)
Roses And Wine
Tunnel Of Love
Get Out And Get Under The Moon (featuring Maria Cole)
The Way I’m Loving You
Hey, Not Now! (I’ll Tell You When) (featuring Maria Cole)
The Magic Tree*
Home (When Shadows Fall)
It’s A Man Every Time (featuring Maria Cole)
I’ll Always Remember You
The Day Isn’t Long Enough*
My First And My Last Love*
Easter Sunday Morning*
*making digital debut