Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Mom's Favorite Singer

Today is Nat "King" Cole's birthday....

My mom went to see him in concert at the - then - O'Keefe Center in Toronto, Canada when she was a girl, and has never forgotten what he wore that night - lavender velvet blazer, gray slacks, white puff hanky, white silk tie.

She was struck by how what a gentleman he was, his polish and class apparently coming right across the footlights, and still speaks of it to this day.

I read a terrific biography of Cole's life awhile ago.

This is a guy who was, literally, spat upon whilst performing on stage. There he was, doing nothing more than singing the American Songbook to his fans, and the neanderthals who spawned our very own present-day White Supremacists spit at him, threw bottles - and worse - up onto the stage to try to make him stop.

What did he do?

He sidestepped the abuse and kept right on singing, becoming a Legend along the way.

In this era of "tea party" protestors -

- carrying "Curious George" dolls dressed as President Obama -

- and elected officials making jokes about watermelon patches, it is perhaps important to remember that while we've come a long way since Cole's era, we still have a long way to go.

Enjoy "Stardust", best listened to while the sun sets over our beautiful mountain, preferably with a chllled martini in hand.