African-American singer and entertainer Nat King Cole was born as Nathaniel Adams Coles on March 17, 1917 in Montgomery, Alabama to a poor family that was unable to get a birth certificate for him. It was only because he was born on Saint Patrick's Day that the date was remembered.
Nat moved with his family to Chicago at age 4 and, after an early interest in music, he began with formal music lessons at age 12. Eventually, Nat King Cole would learn to play jazz, gospel, and European classical music, with local influence by Louis Armstrong's music.
Nat King Cole dropped out from school at age 15 beginning his professional musical career in the 1930’s adopting the stage name "Nat King". Shortly after, his brother Eddie joined him and formed Nat's own band, "The Royal Dukes or the Rogues of Rhythm".
Nat's first album was recorded in 1936, although it was released on Decca Records under his brother's name as a matter of being underage at the time. After this time, Nat King Cole and his band became regulars at Chicago's nightclubs and then touring alongside other artists.
At one of those tours Nat formed the "King Cole Swingers" and met dancer Nadine Robinson and married her in 1937. They continued touring until a closing performance in Los Angeles. The newlyweds stayed there with Nadine's aunt while Nat found a job as a musician.
Although Nat King Cole was hired to led a big band, he later began to play solo piano in L.A. clubs circuit before returning to clubs with "The King Cole Trio". They eventually signed to Capitol Records in 1943, records label that would be Nat's company for the rest of his career.
Commercial success came immediately for both Nat King Cole and Capitol Records, the company that after erecting their Los Angeles circular building on Hollywood and Vine usually referred to it as "The House that Nat Build".
Nat King Cole recorded 48 albums from 1944 to 1965, in addition to around the same number of albums released posthumously. He died of lung cancer due to heavy smoking on February 15, 1965.