Marvin Gaye’s A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole is being reissued March 15 in an expanded edition by Motown/Universal Music Enterprises for download purchase and streaming. It is part of the celebration of Cole’s centennial year.
The original Gaye album was released in November 1965, featuring the Motown star’s treatment of 12 Cole hits, including “Mona Lisa,” “Straighten Up And Fly Right,” “Unforgettable” and “Nature Boy.” It was recorded in Detroit and Los Angeles during 1965 with producers Hal Davis and Marc Gordon, and Harvey Fuqua.
The 26-track expanded edition will include the original mono mix of A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole, which is making its digital debut, and more than a dozen bonus recordings, including six alternate takes from the studio sessions. Among the bonus tracks are Gaye’s interpretations of “I Wish You Love” and “If I Had To Go,” recorded in New York with producer Mickey Stevenson.
Gaye was one of several Cole admirers at Motown, including founder Berry Gordy. Cole’s “velvet voice and piano playing could romance a song like no one else,” Gordy wrote in his autobiography, To Be Loved. Gaye originally aspired to be a singer in the same mold, but commercial realities at Motown moved him towards the company’s mainstream sound. Nonetheless, he recorded other albums of standards, including When I’m Alone I Cry and Hello Broadway.
Cole died February 15, 1965. He has four recordings in the Grammy© Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 by Ray Charles.