Nat "King" Cole

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Ray Charles
  • Category:
    Early Influences


A honey-voiced singer and swinging jazz pianist who improvised like a mind reader.

Nat "King" Cole’s music was laidback and mellow, but his impact on the music world was anything but. He released hit singles that presaged rock and roll, all the while working to integrate music.

Hall of Fame Essay


John Swenson and David McGee

Nat King Cole did plenty to justify his nick­name. He was a true superstar (even before the word was coined) whose enor­mous appeal transcended boundaries of race, age, gender and musical preference. 

Landing eighty-six singles and seventeen albums in the Top Forty between 1943 and 1964, he recorded ballads, jazz instrumentals, foreign language songs, Christmas carols, pop standards and what might now be termed pop rock.  

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program 2000
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