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Capitol Mines Vaults and Releases a Pile of Cole

Be careful who you pick this fight with, but the argument can be made that singer-pianist and smooth smiling man Nat “King” Cole was bigger than the Beatles. Cole may not have had swarms of crazed young women tailing him everywhere he went—though I’m sure he never suffered from a lack of love—but he did see more of his songs on the charts than his Liverpudlian Capitol Records label mates ever did. So you can tell the hippies and the rock and rollers to stick that in their pipes and smoke it.

In fact, Cole scored more charting singles than any other Capitol artist ever has, and the Cap’s roster has, in addition to the Fab Four, included hit makers like Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys and Garth Brooks. If you don’t believe it, witness this: One hundred of Cole’s singles have been collected and made available for purchase as Nat King Cole: The Classic Singles. The four-disc box set came out Tuesday and includes tunes Cole cut with the various incarnations of the King Cole Trio, as well as the hits he sang backed by a full orchestra, conducted by folks like Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins and Billy May. A number of these tracks are appearing on CD for the first time; all of the tracks have been sent through the 24-bit Remaster-o-Matic (patent pending), which makes every song it spits out sound positively brilliant.

Capitol’s biggest hit-maker gets the respect he deserves inside The Classic Singles‘ 60-page booklet. Writer Lynell George comments extensively on Cole’s entire career, but if you’d rather gaze at the star singer than read about him, no problem. The booklet is full of color and black-and-white photographs of Cole-in the studio, on stage, showing a wry smile in promotional shots, etc.—and many of the labels and jackets for the original single releases have been reproduced as well.

Here’s the track list:

Disc: 1

1. That Ain’t Right

2. All For You

3. I’m Lost

4. Straighten Up and Fly Right

5. Gee Baby, Aint I Good To You?

6. If You Can’t Smile And Say Yes

7. Sweet Lorraine

8. It’s Only A Paper Moon

9. I (Just) Can’t See For Lookin’

10. I Realize Now

11. I’m A Shy Guy

12. Don’t Blame Me

13. Come To Baby, Do

14. The Frim Fram Sauce

15. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66

16. You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)

17. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)

18. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons

19. You Don’t Learn That in School

20. Meet Me at No Special Place (And I’ll Be There)

21. What’ll I Do?

22. Kee-Mo Ky-Mo (The Magic Song)

23. Nature Boy

24. Little Girl

25. A Boy From Texas – A Girl From Tennessee

26. Lost April

Disc: 2

1. My Mother Told Me

2. Exactly Like You

3. I Almost Lost My Mind

4. Always You

5. Mona Lisa

6. Orange Colored Sky

7. Jet

8. Too Young

9. Because of Rain

10. Red Sails in the Sunset

11. Unforgettable

12. Walkin’ My Baby Back Home

13. Walkin’

14. The Ruby and the Pearl

15. Somewhere Along the Way

16. Funny (Not Much)

17. Can’t I?

18. Don’t Let Your Eyes Go Shopping…

19. Strange

20. Because You’re Mine

21. I’m Never Satisfied

22. Faith Can Move Mountains

23. Mother Nature and Father Time

24. Pretend

25. A Fool Was I

26. Lover Come Back to Me

Disc: 3

1. If Love is Good to Me

2. Tenderly

3. Return to Paradise

4. Make Her Mine

5. I Am in Love

6. Why

7. Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup

8. Answer Me, My Love

9. Alone Too Long

10. It Happens to Be Me

11. Unbelievable

12. Haji Baba (Persian Lament)

13. Smile

14. My One Sin (In Life)

15. The Sand and the Sea

16. A Blossom Fell

17. Forgive My Heart

18. If I May

19. Someone You Love

20. Ask Me

21. Too Young to Go Steady

22. Dreams Can Tell a Lie

23. My Personal Possession

24. That’s All There Is to That

25. Night Lights

26. To the Ends of the Earth

Disc: 4

1. Ballerina

2. Stardust

3. When I Fall in Love

4. With You on My Mind

5. Send for Me

6. Angel Smile

7. Looking Back

8. Come Closer to Me (Acercate Mas)

9. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps)

10. Non Dimenticar

11. You Made Me Love You

12. That’s You

13. Midnight Flyer

14. My Love

15. Let True Love Begin

16. Let There Be Love

17. Dear Lonely Hearts

18. Ramblin’ Rose

19. Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

20. That Sunday, That Summer

21. I Don’t Want to Be Hurt Anymore

22. L-O-V-E

23. The Christmas Song

24. L-O-V-E (medley in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian & Japanese) (Bonus Track)

Originally Published