A new collection of Nat King Cole hits, including “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” along with previously unreleased material, will arrive in stores June 3, according to a news release from Universal Music.
The collection, titled “The Extraordinary Nat King Cole,” includes the big hits “Mona Lisa,” “Unforgettable,” and “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.”
“Route 66,” written by Bobby Troup during a cross-country trip on the highway, became a national smash in 1946 and has inspired hundreds of cover versions since then, including versions by Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, John Mayer and Glenn Frey.
Amazingly, a researcher at Capitol Records found previously unreleased material, some more than half-a-century old:
Originally lost and unissued, the rare tracks were finally rediscovered by Alex Luke, former EVP of A&R at Capitol Records. Luke, a big Nat King Cole fan, spent two years working tirelessly in the Capitol vaults attempting to physically locate missing master tapes, searching every variation of Nat Cole’s name, combing through photos, union records, paperwork and tapes. It began as an effort to solve the mystery of a specific week-long lost Cole session from Chicago. That search uncovered the tracks here. “We deduced the session we wanted was lost in late 1955,” Luke says, “almost certainly as the result of the tapes coming to L.A. from an unusual location (Chicago) at a time when Capitol was moving operations into the brand new Capitol Tower. Nat even re-recorded a few of the tracks in late 1955 and 1956, which was a strong indication they were lost at that time.” Luke adds, “Sadly the missing session tapes are still missing, but finding these completely unreleased tracks and alternate takes in the vaults was a big win.”
The previously unreleased material includes “The Magic Window,” “Little Fingers,” “You’re Wrong All Wrong” and an alternate take of “Sleeping Beauty.” The collection also features duets with Dean Martin.
More details about two versions of “The Extraordinary Nat King Cole”:
Available on CD and digital download, The Extraordinary Nat King Cole will be released in two distinct versions. The standard single-disc edition contains 22 classic Cole performances, while the two-CD Deluxe edition adds 14 rare and/or previously unreleased tracks, including four never-before-heard vintage songs and previously unissued, alternate takes of the Cole standards “Straighten Up And Fly Right,” “Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa,” “The Christmas Song,” and “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” taken from the Nat King Cole Story sessions. Also featured are “Ain’t She Sweet” and “What to Do,” recorded in 1954, both of which find Cole trading vocals with his daughters Carole and Natalie (whose cross-generational 1991 duet version of “Unforgettable” helped to introduce her father to a new generation of listeners).
The two-CD and single-disc versions of the album may be pre-ordered here. MP3s of the album also will be available when it’s released.
(Image of Nat King Cole in 1947 by the Library of Congress via Flickr)