A Rockapaedia Obituary
Natalie Cole died aged sixty-five on 31st December 2015 of Congestive Heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Natalie had cancelled several events in December 2015 due to illness.
In official news on her cause of death, her family stated that Natalie Cole was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension after her kidney transplant in 2009. Though Natalie Cole was clean and sober at the time of her passing, her past intravenous drug use contributed to her demise.
Natalie Cole's funeral was held on 11th January 2016, at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. Among the mourners at the funeral were Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Eddie Levert, Mary Wilson, Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Jesse Jackson, Angela Bassett, Denise Nicholas, Marla Gibbs, Jackée Harry and Freda Payne. After the funeral, Natalie was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, U.S.A.
Natalie Natalie Cole was born at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., the daughter of the great American singer Nat King Cole and former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, and raised in the affluent Hancock Park district of Los Angeles. Regarding her childhood, Natalie Cole referred to her family as "the black Kennedys" and was exposed to many great singers of jazz, soul and blues. At the age of six, Natalie sang on her father's Christmas album and later began performing at age eleven.
Natalie Cole grew up with an older adopted sister, Carole, adopted brother Nat, and younger twin sisters Timolin and Casey. Through her mother, Natalie Cole was a grandniece of educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown.
Natalie Cole enrolled at an elite New England preparatory schoo, since 1971 known as Northfield Mount Hermon School, before her father died of lung cancer in February 1965. Shortly afterwards she began having a difficult relationship with her mother. She enrolled at the University of Massachusetts then transferred briefly to University of Southern California. She later transferred back to the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in Child Psychology and minored in German, graduating in 1972.
Natalie Cole grew up listening to a variety of artists from soul artists such as Aretha Franklin to psychedelic blues-rock icon Janis Joplin. After graduation she began singing at small clubs with her band, Black Magic. Clubs initially welcomed her because she was Nat King Natalie Cole's daughter, only to be disappointed when she began covering Rythm & Blues and rock numbers. While performing, she was noted by a couple of producers in the Chicago area, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who then approached her to do records. After cutting several records together, they passed off the music to several record labels. Most labels turned them down with one exception. Capitol Records, her father's label, heard the records and agreed to sign her.
Natalie Cole, went into studios in Los Angeles to polish the recordings she had made, resulting in the release of her debut album, 'Inseparable'. Natalie Cole also recorded "You". Released in 1975, the album became an instant success thanks to "This Will Be", which became a top ten hit and later winning Natalie Cole a Grammy Award for Best Female Rythm & Blues Vocal Performance. A second single, "Inseparable", also became a hit. Both songs reached number-one on the Rythm & Blues chart. Natalie Cole also won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards for her accomplishments, making her the first African-American artist to attain that feat. The media's billing of Natalie Cole as the "new Aretha Franklin" inadvertently started a rivalry between the two singers. The feud's apex boiled over at the 1976 Grammy Awards when Natalie Cole bested Franklin in the Best Female Rythm & Blues Vocal Performance category, of which Franklin had won awards for eight consecutive years prior to losing to Natalie Cole.
Natalie Cole released her first platinum record with her third release, Unpredictable, mainly thanks to the number-one Rythm & Blues hit, "I've Got Love on My Mind". Originally an album track, the album's closer, "I'm Catching Hell", nonetheless became a popular Natalie Cole song during live concert shows. Later in 1977, Natalie Cole issued her fourth release and second platinum album, 'Thankful', which included another signature Natalie Cole hit, "Our Love". Natalie Cole was the first female artist to have two platinum albums in one year. To capitalize on her fame, Natalie Cole starred on her own TV special, which attracted such celebrities as soul-group Earth, Wind & Fire, and also appeared on the TV special, "Sinatra and Friends." In 1978, Natalie Cole released her first live album, Natalie Live!
In early 1979, she released two more albums, I Love You So and the Peabo Bryson duet album, We're the Best of Friends. Both albums reached gold status in the U.S. continuing her popularity.
Following the release of her eighth album, 1980's Don't Look Back, Natalie Cole's career began to take a detour. While Natalie Cole scored an adult contemporary hit with the soft rock ballad "Someone That I Used to Love" off the album, the album itself failed to go gold. In 1981, Natalie Cole's personal problems, including battles with drug addiction, began to attract public notice, and her career suffered as a result. In 1983, following the release of her album I'm Ready, released on Epic, Natalie Cole entered a rehab facility in Connecticut and stayed there for a period of six months.
Following her release, she signed with the Atco imprint Modern Records and released 'Dangerous', which started a slow resurgence for Natalie Cole in terms of record sales and chart success. In 1987, she changed to EMI-Manhattan Records and released the album 'Everlasting', which returned her to the top of the charts thanks to singles such as "Jump Start", the top ten ballad, "I Live For Your Love", and her dance-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". That success helped 'Everlasting' reach one million in sales and become Natalie Cole's first platinum album in ten years. In 1989, she released her follow-up to 'Everlasting', Good to Be Back, which produced the number two hit "Miss You Like Crazy"; it also achieved international success, reaching the top ten in the United Kingdom.
Natalie Cole released her best-selling album with 1991's Unforgettable... with Love on Elektra Records, which saw Natalie Cole singing songs her famous father recorded, nearly twenty years after she initially had refused to cover her father's songs during live concerts. Natalie Cole produced vocal arrangements for the songs, with piano accompaniment by her uncle Ike Natalie Cole. Natalie Cole's label released an interactive duet between Natalie Cole and her father on the title song, "Unforgettable". The song eventually reached number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the Rythm & Blues chart, going gold. Unforgettable eventually sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone and won several Grammys, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance for the top song.
Natalie Cole followed that success with another album of jazz standards, titled Take a Look, in 1993, which included her recording of the title track in the same styling that her idol Aretha Franklin had recorded nearly 30 years earlier. The album eventually went gold while a holiday album, Holly & Ivy, also became gold. Another standards release, Stardust, went platinum and featured another duet with her father on a modern version of "When I Fall in Love", which helped Natalie Cole earn another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
In 1995, Natalie Cole was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berklee College of Music.
In 1999, Natalie Cole returned to her 1980s-era urban contemporary recording style with the release of 'Snowfall' on the Sahara on June and second holiday album The Magic of Christmas on October, which recorded with London Symphony Orchestra. A year later, the singer collaborated on the production of her biopic, Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story with Theresa Randle playing Natalie Natalie Cole. She also released the compilation Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 to fulfill her contract with Elektra.
Natalie cole changed to Verve Records and released two albums. 'Ask a Woman Who Knows' continued her jazz aspirations, while 'Leavin' in 2006 was an album of pop, rock, and Rythm & Blues songs. Her version of "Daydreaming" by Aretha Franklin was a minor hit on the Rythm & Blues chart. In 2008, seventeen years after 'Unforgettable', she released 'Still Unforgettable', which included songs made famous by her father and Frank Sinatra.
Natalie Cole pursued a career in acting. She appeared several times in concerts or other music related programs, including the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute with sidemen Richard Campbell, Jeffrey Worrell, Eddie Natalie Cole, and Dave Joyce. In 1990, she and Al Jarreau sang "Mr. President" on the television special Comic Relief special. After Johnny Mathis appeared on a special of Natalie Cole's in 1980, the two kept in contact, and in 1992 he invited her to be a part of his television special A Tribute to Nat King Cole for the BBC in England. An album of the same name was released. In 1992, following the success of the Unforgettable album, PBS broadcast a special based on the album. Unforgettable, Natalie Natalie Cole Sings the Songs of Nat "King" Natalie Cole received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program.
At the 65th Academy Awards she performed a medley of two Oscar-nominated songs: "Run to You" and "I Have Nothing", both performed by Whitney Houston in the film The Bodyguard. Natalie Cole made a number of dramatic appearances on television, including I'll Fly Away, Touched by an Angel, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Grey's Anatomy. She had the lead role in the TV movie Lily in Winter. She appeared in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely. In 2001, she starred as herself in Livin' for Love: the Natalie Cole Story, for which she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.
Natalie Cole was married three times. She married Marvin Yancy, songwriter, producer, and former member of the 1970s Rythm & Blues group The Independents in July 1976. She had a son, Robert Adam "Robbie" who became a musician who toured with her. Marvin was her producer, and an ordained Baptist minister who helped reintroduce her to religion. Under his influence, Natalie Cole changed from a lapsed Episcopalian to become a devout Baptist. Natalie Cole and Yancy got divorced in 1980. In 1989, Natalie Cole married record producer and former drummer for the band Rufus, Andre Fischer; they were divorced in 1995. In 2001, Natalie Cole married bishop Kenneth Dupree; they divorced in 2004.