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Nat King Cole Got His Kicks on Route 66

(Editor’s Note: Happy New Year. I’ve given up on finding good music for the holiday. There isn’t too much. Check out yesterday’s post for what I could find.

TDMB periodically re-posts great music from earlier in the site’s existence. Here is Nat King Cole’s trio playing “Route 66.” The post originally appears on March 28, 2012.)


Nat King Cole started out as a pianist. His great voice and friendly demeanor enabled him to become a front man. I believe he was the first African-American to host a network entertainment program.

Here is Route 66 which, of course, was one of his big hits. There isn’t a wasted motion by anyone in the quartet. The guitarist is fantastic. According to the comments, he is Irving Ashby.

Three of his other big hits were Straighten Up and Fly Right, Unforgettable and Mona Lisa. PBS did an American Masters piece on Cole in 2006. Though there is a good deal of information here, I can’t find the actual download of the episode. Finally, here’s a discography.

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Also of Interest

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.