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The Classic Singles

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Nat King Cole 11/4/2003

Review

If you add up all the songs Nat King Cole placed in the various Billboard singles charts -- including not only the pop and R&B charts, but also the adult contemporary and even country ones, as well as the lists of discs "bubbling under" the main pop chart -- the total comes to a remarkable 123, and that's not including the many repeat appearances of "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)." The entries begin with "That Ain't Right," the King Cole Trio recording that entered the "Harlem Hit Parade" in the fall of 1942, and end with "Let Me Tell You, Babe," which dropped off the easy listening chart in the summer of 1966 more than two years after Cole's death; they range in popularity from "Straighten Up and Fly Right," which topped the black chart for ten weeks and the country chart for six while also placing in the pop Top Ten in 1944, to "Cappuccina," which spent one week bubbling under the pop chart at number 115 in 1961. Capitol Records chronicles this run of chart singles on a four-disc box set running close to five hours and containing 101 tracks. "Cappuccina" is understandably not among them, and many of Cole's other down-chart discs have been omitted (particularly ones from the late '50s to the '60s, when he was battling the incursion of rock & roll into the singles chart and had trouble making the Top 40). Also, the compilers have taken occasional liberties, including the odd U.K.-only hit, EP track, and, in the case of "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps)" from the Cole Español LP, a song that was never released as a single. (The collection is sequenced chronologically by recording date with the exception of "The Christmas Song," which is held until the end. The running order gives a good sense of Cole's development from his jazzy trio days to his years as a pop singer backed by an orchestra.) But the problem isn't so much what has been excluded, it's what has been included. Cole fans and pop music scholars may be happy to have a close-to-complete collection of the singer's chart singles, but as a listening experience many of the songs turn out to be justly forgotten. With his pleasurable pipes, Cole shared with Bing Crosby the knack for raising mediocre material to listenability, but for the average fan it is still sometimes a long wait from one big hit to the next on this set. Many of these singles really are classic, but many others are not. Capitol's 1992 box Nat King Cole, which mixes in key album tracks, remains a better overview of Cole's career, and a two-disc reduction of this collection focusing on the more popular tracks would be better for most listeners. ~ William Ruhlmann
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 That Ain't Right Nat King Cole 3:8
  3. 2 All for You Nat King Cole 3:22
  4. 3 I'm Lost Nat King Cole 3:5
  5. 4 Straighten Up and Fly Right Nat King Cole 2:24
  6. 5 Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You Nat King Cole 2:54
  7. 6 If You Can't Smile and Say Yes (Please Don't Cry and Say No) Nat King Cole 2:49
  8. 7 Sweet Lorraine Nat King Cole 3:7
  9. 8 It's Only a Paper Moon Nat King Cole 2:53
  10. 9 I Can't See for Lookin' Nat King Cole 3:5
  11. 10 I Realize Now Nat King Cole 2:52
  12. 11 I'm a Shy Guy Nat King Cole 2:46
  13. 12 Don't Blame Me Nat King Cole 3:22
  14. 13 Come to Baby, Do! Nat King Cole 3:2
  15. 14 The Frim Fram Sauce Nat King Cole 3:10
  16. 15 (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 Nat King Cole 3:0
  17. 16 You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love) Nat King Cole 3:2
  18. 17 (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons Nat King Cole 2:51
  19. 18 You Don't Learn That in School Nat King Cole 3:4
  20. 19 Meet Me at No Special Place (And I'll Be There at No Particular Time) Nat King Cole 3:9
  21. 20 What'll I Do? Nat King Cole 3:1
  22. 21 Kee-Mo Ky-Mo (The Magic Song) Nat King Cole 2:19
  23. 22 Nature Boy Nat King Cole 2:37
  24. 23 Little Girl Nat King Cole 2:21
  25. 24 A Boy from Texas, A Girl from Tennessee Nat King Cole 2:38
  26. 25 Lost April Nat King Cole 2:56
  27. 26 My Mother Told Me Nat King Cole 2:55
  28. 1 Exactly Like You Nat King Cole 2:39
  29. 2 I Almost Lost My Mind Nat King Cole 2:59
  30. 3 Always You Nat King Cole 2:57
  31. 4 Mona Lisa Nat King Cole 3:13
  32. 5 Orange Colored Sky Nat King Cole 2:31
  33. 6 Jet Nat King Cole 2:47
  34. 7 Too Young Nat King Cole 3:10
  35. 8 Because of Rain Nat King Cole 3:8
  36. 9 Red Sails in the Sunset Nat King Cole 3:14
  37. 10 Unforgettable Nat King Cole 3:9
  38. 11 Walkin' My Baby Back Home Nat King Cole 2:38
  39. 12 Walkin' Nat King Cole 2:47
  40. 13 The Ruby and the Pearl Nat King Cole 3:10
  41. 14 Somewhere Along the Way Nat King Cole 2:50
  42. 15 Funny (Not Much) Nat King Cole 2:56
  43. 16 Don't Let Your Eyes Go Shopping (For Your Heart) Nat King Cole 2:28
  44. 17 Strange Nat King Cole 2:26
  45. 18 Because You're Mine Nat King Cole 3:9
  46. 19 I'm Never Satisfied Nat King Cole 2:11
  47. 20 Faith Can Move Mountains Nat King Cole 3:10
  48. 21 Mother Nature and Father Time Nat King Cole 3:9
  49. 22 Pretend Nat King Cole 2:42
  50. 23 A Fool Was I Nat King Cole 2:48
  51. 24 Lover, Come Back to Me Nat King Cole 2:28
  52. 25 Can't I? Nat King Cole 3:12
  53. 26 If Love Is Good to Me Nat King Cole 2:44
  54. 1 Tenderly Nat King Cole 2:57
  55. 2 Return to Paradise Nat King Cole 2:56
  56. 3 Make Her Mine Nat King Cole 2:55
  57. 4 I Am in Love Nat King Cole 3:0
  58. 5 Why Nat King Cole 2:51
  59. 6 Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup Nat King Cole 2:48
  60. 7 Answer Me, My Love Nat King Cole 2:36
  61. 8 Alone Too Long Nat King Cole 2:53
  62. 9 It Happens to Be Me Nat King Cole 3:6
  63. 10 Unbelievable Nat King Cole 3:1
  64. 11 Hajji Baba (Persian Lament) Nat King Cole 3:5
  65. 12 Smile Nat King Cole 2:52
  66. 13 My One Sin (In Life) Nat King Cole 2:57
  67. 14 The Sand and the Sea Nat King Cole 2:30
  68. 15 A Blossom Fell Nat King Cole 2:30
  69. 16 Forgive My Heart Nat King Cole 2:58
  70. 17 If I May Nat King Cole 3:1
  71. 18 Someone You Love Nat King Cole 2:52
  72. 19 Ask Me Nat King Cole 2:54
  73. 20 Too Young to Go Steady Nat King Cole 2:52
  74. 21 Dreams Can Tell a Lie Nat King Cole 2:57
  75. 22 My Personal Possession Nat King Cole 2:56
  76. 23 That's All There Is to That Nat King Cole 2:18
  77. 24 Night Lights Nat King Cole 2:47
  78. 25 To the Ends of the Earth Nat King Cole 2:17
  79. 26 Ballerina Nat King Cole 2:48
  80. 1 Stardust Nat King Cole 3:13
  81. 2 When I Fall in Love Nat King Cole 3:8
  82. 3 With You on My Mind Nat King Cole 2:36
  83. 4 Send for Me Nat King Cole 2:35
  84. 5 Angel Smile Nat King Cole 2:28
  85. 6 Looking Back Nat King Cole 2:18
  86. 7 Acércate Más (Come Closer to Me) Nat King Cole 2:45
  87. 8 Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) Nat King Cole 2:42
  88. 9 Non Dimenticar Nat King Cole 2:48
  89. 10 You Made Me Love You Nat King Cole 2:52
  90. 11 That's You Nat King Cole 2:34
  91. 12 Midnight Flyer Nat King Cole 2:15
  92. 13 My Love Nat King Cole 2:39
  93. 14 Let True Love Begin Nat King Cole 2:28
  94. 15 Let There Be Love Nat King Cole 2:42
  95. 16 Dear Lonely Hearts Nat King Cole 3:6
  96. 17 Ramblin' Rose Nat King Cole 2:45
  97. 18 Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer Nat King Cole 2:23
  98. 19 That Sunday, That Summer Nat King Cole 3:10
  99. 20 I Don't Want to Be Hurt Anymore Nat King Cole 2:26
  100. 21 L-O-V-E Nat King Cole 2:31
  101. 22 The Christmas Song Nat King Cole 3:10
  102. 23 L-O-V-E [Multi-Lingual Version] Nat King Cole 2:39

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