The Legendary Natalie Cole Headlines MLK Concert

Courtesy of allaboutjazz.com
Courtesy of allaboutjazz.com

Natalie Cole is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a free concert at The Kennedy Center. The Let Freedom Ring concert is today at 6PM (Eastern standard time). The birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. is an American federal holiday. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Dr. King was the spokesman for nonviolence and the leader in the Civil Rights Movement. The film Selma is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. The marches were led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, and Hosea Williams. The film is nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Song at this year’s award show. 

Natalie Cole, daughter of the Nat King Cole, made a name for herself in the 1970s. Cole’s hit songs “This Will Be,” “Inseparable,” and “Our Love,” all made it to Number 1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singers chart. The next few years didn’t prove to be as successful, and Cole left R&B music after failing to produce another hit record. In 1987, Cole returned to the music industry as a pop artist. Her first album as a pop singer was entitled Everlasting. Cole’s hit “Pink Cadillac” charted on the Hot 100 charts. Ironically, her Everlasting album peaked at Number 8 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. Most fans still considered Cole an R&B singer, and urban radio stations continued to play her music despite her claims as a pop artist. 

The singer’s most successful album, Unforgettable…with Love, was a collection of re-recorded versions of her father’s songs. Unforgettable…with Love sold over seven million copies. The album also won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1992. Natalie Cole has won nine Grammy Awards, and she has respectively received twenty-one nominations. To date, Cole has sold over thirty million albums worldwide. Natalie Cole has also had a stellar acting career. Cole has made television appearances on I’ll Fly Away, Touched by an Angel, Grey’s Anatomy, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The singer received great praise for her autobiography Angel on My Shoulder. In the novel, Cole admitted to using heroin and crack cocaine. The book was adapted into a made-for-TV movie, Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story, in the year 2000. 

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