100 years ago today, Nat King Cole was born. A jazz pianist and vocalist, he dropped out of high school in Chicago to pursue a music career at 15. He reached the heights of stardom in the mid 20th century, recording over 100 hit songs—often with a trio that became the model for small jazz ensembles—including the 1951 gem, Unforgettable. Cole also acted in films, performed on Broadway, and was the first African-American man to host a television series, The Nat King Cole Show on NBC in 1956. He died at age 45 of lung cancer, but his daughter Natalie Cole carried on the family legacy. She mixed her singing with her father’s smooth-as-silk 1961 recordings, and the result, Unforgettable… with Love, won seven Grammy awards in 1992 for Best Album and Best Song. WATCH him sing it… (1919)

Many people know his voice, alone, from his famous rendition of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting…). Other top hits include, The Very Thought of You, and Just the Way You Look Tonight.

Here is a wonderful performance that really shows his style and charm, when as chats with the audience. Definitely listen to Unforgettable at 3:20.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The rubber band was invented (1845)
  • The Kingdom of Italy was founded (1861)
  • A showing of 71 Vincent van Gogh paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, created a sensation (1901)
  • The Camp Fire Girls was founded (1910)
  • The National Gallery of Art opened in Washington, D.C. (1941)
  • Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Brussels, a precursor to the NATO Agreement (1948)
  • A referendum to end apartheid in South Africa was passed by 68.7% of voters (1992)

And, Happy St. Patrick’s Day – the annual holiday when Americans celebrate all things Irish. It began in New York City with immigrants from Ireland for the first time honoring their religious patron saint at the Crown and Thistle Tavern 263 years ago today.

Parade in Albany, NY, by sebastien barre, CC license

(Lenten restrictions on drinking alcohol are officially lifted among Christians for this day.) The city’s 255-year-old St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the biggest parade in the world. (1756)

Also on this day in 1978, U2 won a talent contest in Limerick, Ireland. Winnings included $500 and studio time to record a demo and audition for the CBS Ireland record label. Sponsored by The Evening Express and Guinness Harp Lager, the Limerick Civic Week Pop ’78 Competition afforded them the opportunity to make the first U2 recording and earned them some much-needed recognition.