Thursday, March 24, 2011

A throne for a King

Here it is, the first No. 1 record on Billboard's album chart, which debuted on this day in 1945.

The sweet music of the King Cole Trio, consisting of Nat King Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar and Johnny Miller on bass, proved an incredible boon for fledgling Capitol Records.  This first record, which spent 12 weeks atop the chart (it was not updated every week at the start), was actually an album consisting of four two-sided 78 rpm records, and in 1950 would be released on a vinyl LP.

Cole's music at the time was beginning to dominate Billboard's Harlem Hit Parade and his hits were crossing over to the pop charts.  He was an accomplished pianist, but it was his mellow baritone voice that would spark his incredible popularity.  Jack Benny once introduced Cole on his show as "the best friend a song ever had," and we won't argue.

We wouldn't discover Cole until years later when "Ramblin' Rose" made it on radio in backwoods Wisconsin. 

Here were the songs on that first album:

1. Sweet Lorraine
2. Embraceable You
3. The Man I Love
4. Body and Soul
5. Prelude in C Sharp Minor
6. What Is This Thing Called Love?
7. It's Only a Paper Moon
8. Easy Listening Blues

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