*News of Natalie Cole’s passing on December 31, 2015 traveled quickly across social media. Posts from her fans, friends and peers read like an outpouring of love and respect for her revered lineage.
Bowlegged Lou of multiplatinum selling singing group/production team Full Force displayed a heartwarming photo of Natalie and her father, Nat King Cole, on his Facebook wall. Natalie was just a young girl in the black and white still, missing front teeth, wearing a bow in her hair. Resting atop her father’s knee, the pair appeared to be singing. Next to them was a Christmas tree, a reminder she famously sang on her father’s Christmas album at age 6. Lou wrote in this post Natalie “joins her dad in heaven.”
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Some may refer to Natalie’s singing as angelic. The first single from her 12th album, 1991’s Unforgettable…With Love, was a heavenly remake of her father’s classic, “Unforgettable.” Remarkably, with a nod to studio magic, the pair were able to perform the song together. Millions of their admirers joined them, singing backup in their cars, at concerts, or wherever their personal audio devices would allow. It’s highly likely these same people will still be singing along with Natalie Cole for years to come. Right now, however, they’re mostly singing how much she’ll be missed.
It’s been reported Natalie began experiencing health issues in 2008. Complications with Hepatitis C affected her kidneys, which she attributed to well-documented drug abuse earlier in her life. She disclosed the extent of her troubled past in her autobiography Angel on My Shoulder, a compliment to her NBC movie, 2000’s Livin for Love: The Natalie Cole Story. Born February 6, 1950, her life story came to a close at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in her native Los Angeles. Cole’s cause of death has been reported as congestive heart failure. She was 65.
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When it came to her music, Natalie Cole did anything but fail. A multi-time Grammy winner, including Best New Artist in 1976, she amassed a catalog of 21 albums during her nearly six-decades-long career. Her debut LP, 1975’s Inseparable, spawned two #1 R&B hits – “This Will Be” and the title track. Natalie’s sophomore release, Natalie in 1976, delivered “Sophisticated Lady” and “Mr. Melody.” Popular soul ballad “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” led the way for 1977’s Unpredictable. Adding jazz and contemporary to her repertoire, Natalie’s recording success would continue through the 80s, 90s, and well into the 2000s. Since her passing, many of her hits are being shared via social networking along with the emotional state of those she touched.
Multiplatinum-selling writer/producer/musician Shaun LaBelle, also expressed his feelings for Cole on Facebook. He wrote she was “a friend and a major talent.” LaBelle says to EURweb, “We lost a great one. She was a very talented, kind hearted soul!”
Rest In Peace, Natalie Maria Cole (Feb. 6, 1950 – Dec. 31, 2015)
Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, Mr. Joe Walker is a biographer, journalist, and columnist, currently a senior writer for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and writer for Concrete Magazine’s Concrete615.com. Also co-creator of TheGrooveSpot.com, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Like him on Facebook, follow on Twitter @mrjoewalker, and visit his official blog.