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A Tribute to Singer Natalie Cole

Still Unforgettable

Schomburg Communications Pre-Professional Alicia Perez looks back on the life and career of the late Natalie Cole, who was laid to rest on Monday in Los Angeles.

In 1975, the Rolling Stones called her a “gifted soul stylist in the mold of Aretha Franklin.” In 1977, Don Cornelius said she was the most important talent discovery of the decade. Now the world mourns the loss of Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, who passed away at age 65 on New Years Eve.

Cole touched all fans of all ages and walks of life with her show-stopping performances, earning her countless awards throughout her forty-year career. Her first hit, “This Will Be,” won the 1976 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance and kickstarted decades of success. Cole would go on to win seven additional Grammys though nominated for many more—including Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance for “Unforgettable,” a posthumous duet with her late father, legendary singer Nat King Cole. Still Unforgettable, her 2008 Grammy-winning studio album you can reference in our Digital Collections, also featured a duet with her father titled “Walkin' My Baby Back Home.” Cole also joined other greats like Bunny Briggs and Cab Calloway in a 1980 musical tribute to the Apollo Theater in Harlem with an energetic rendition of her 1979 hit "The Winner,” which is available in our Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division.

Cole gained recognition for her 2000 autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder, which detailed her longtime battle with drug addiction, her recovery, and her subsequent related health issues. Though it is her bravery and undeniable talent that continues to inspire people across the globe.

She will be missed.

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Good Bye Sweetie

Our mothers were first cousins, their mothers were sisters, from Bermuda. I grew up calling her Sweetie. Rest in Peace Sweetie. You have left a legacy to be proud of.

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