Song:Autumn Leaves (Japanese version)
Album:Live In Tokyo
Of course Nat King Cole was one of the greatest singers of all time. He was the first black to host his own variety show. One of the curious aspects of Cole's career was that he recorded and performed in foreign languages. This wasn't usually done even back then unless the singer could speak different languages. Cole only spoke English so he had to learn the songs by rote. This began with the 1958 album Cole Espanol which he recorded in Cuba. The album was so popular not only in Spanish speaking countries but in the US that Capitol Records had Cole record two more Spanish albums. And they had him record in French, Portuguese and even Japanese. The records were released in foreign markets and he would sing live in those languages when he appeared in those countries. He sang Autumn Leaves in English, French and Japanese. I have chosen the Japanese version because I have a clip of Cole performing it in Japanese. Autumn Leaves was a French song that was adapted to English. Japanese lyrics were written for Cole's recording. Capitol released the French and Japanese versions of Autumn Leaves on an expanded edition of the 2005 comp The World of Nat King Cole. But the expanded edition was only released digitally. It is not available on CD. But I found this CD Live In Tokyo released last year by the European label In Crowd Records. The first part of the CD was recorded at the New Latin Quarter in Tokyo Feb. 22, 1963 with Cole's usual band of Reunald Jones on trumpet, John Collins on guitar, Charlie Harris on bass and Leon Petties on drums. Cole performs several of the Spanish songs he recorded. And he also performs Autumn Leaves and Love Is A Many Splendored Thing in Japanese. The second part of the CD is a 1963 BBC concert with an orchestra conducted by Ted Heath. I understand the recording quality isn't the best but it's a very rare recording so Cole fans will want to check it out. Here's Nat King Cole performing the Japanese version of Autumn Leaves on Japanese TV.