R&B, jazz and pop songstress Natalie Cole has passed away on December 31st. She was 65 and for the last four decades she has been a tour de force on the Billboard charts with hits such as "Unforgettable," "I Miss You Like Crazy," "This Will Be," and "I've Got Love on My Mind."
It was reported on January 1, 2016, that Cole had died on December 31 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Her family stated that at the time of her death, Cole had "ongoing health issues." According to Cole's publicist, Maureen O'Connor, the singer's death was the result of congestive heart failure.
In an interview with CBNmusic, Cole was a Christian who turned to God for help during her bouts with drugs, particularly heroin. Though she had a ups and downs in her Christian walk, she firmly believes that the Lord is good. "God surrounded me with people of faith, people of strong faith, people of power, spiritual power, and I saw little miracles happen in their lives. By it happening in their lives, I started believing it could happen to me. I'm a little like Thomas: I doubt. I know that the Lord is good, but I have been a doubter of His goodness for me."
In memory of the late Cole, here's a look at our favorite albums by her.
5. "Ask a Woman Who Knows"
Released in 2002, the album won Cole 4 Grammy nominations. Courtesy of the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, Cole projects her aura on to songs once recorded previously by great singers like Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, and Nat "King" Cole. Natalie Cole's musical choices include songs that depict the various aspects of love-its joy, its sorrow, its loneliness, and its consolation.
Released in 1987, the album is considered Cole's commercial comeback album. Everlasting is Cole's most diverse album featuring the dance hit "Jump Start", her rock-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac," her adult contemporary ballad, "I Live For Your Love," and her jazz excursion with "When I Fall in Love" bringing her another step closer to tapping into her father's era of the Great American Songbook.
3. "Snowfall on the Sahara"
One of Cole's most over-looked album. Released in 1999, Cole takes a step back from her foray into jazz and standards and delivers what is her arguably best pop record from the latter part of her career. This is also her last time working with the late great producer Phil Ramone. Featuring a unique mix of covers and originals, the title track "Snowfall on the Sahara" is a true gem.
2. "Unforgettable... With Love"
Cole's 1991 album is her most successful album to date. Containg covers of standards previously performed by her father, Nat King Cole, it was also her debut for Elektra Records. The record was very successful in the Pop, Jazz, and R&B markets and was considered the major comeback recording that had been brewing since her late 1980s releases. The album was certified 7x platinum as of 2009 by the RIAA, winning the 1992 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and five additional Grammys: Record of the Year, Traditional Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, Arrangement Accompanying Vocals and Producer of the Year, as well as the Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Female the same year.
1. "Good to Be Back"
Working with the best of the 80s producers including Ric Wake, Narada Michael Walden and Michael Masser, Cole's 1989 album finds her at her melodic best. Her single "I Miss You Like Crazy," crafted by Whitney Houston's songwriter Michael Masser, is her best ballad to date. Sublime in its melody with Cole demonstrating her full vocal range, "Crazy" is easily her best song to date. Add to that other ballads like "Starting Over Again" and "I Do," you can't go wrong with this record.