Jan 10, 1981: Natalie Cole on Crack in Burning Hotel

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Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole, daughter of jazz/pop legend Nat King Cole, who passed away one year ago on New Year’s Eve, had a career that included both triumphs and low points. The one incident she refers to as “rock bottom” was when the 22-story Las Vegas Hilton caught fire 35 years ago on this day and she didn’t leave her room because she was smoking crack cocaine.

Two years later Cole went into rehab and successfully conquered her addiction issues that first began to plague Cole during her college years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 1987, she released the album Everlasting, which propelled her to the top of the charts thanks to singles such as her #5 hit cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac.”

On 1991’s Unforgettable…with Love, Cole finally relented to singing songs her famous father recorded after she initially had refused to cover his songs. Cole produced vocal arrangements for the songs, with piano accompaniment by her uncle Ike Cole. She released an interactive duet between herself and her father on the title song, “Unforgettable.” Unforgettable…with Love eventually sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone and won several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.

Cole announced in 2008 that she had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Four months after starting treatment, Cole experienced kidney failure and required dialysis three times a week for nine months. Following her appeal for a kidney on the Larry King Show, she was contacted by an organ procurement agency with a donated kidney from a family requesting that, if there was a match, it be given to Cole.

Which all goes to show that no matter how bad things may get, great days can still remain in the future.

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Best Classic Bands Staff

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