April 1976: Natalie Cole Hits Gold with "Natalie"

"Natalie"
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(Capitol)

By 1976, Natalie Cole had arrived. Her debut album, Inseparable, was a hit, coming with a pair of successful singles: the title track and "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)." She won Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal R&B Performance at the 18th annual Grammys. With Marvin Yancey and Chuck Jackson (politician Jesse Jackson's half-brother) serving as her primary songwriters, Cole would strike gold again with her sophomore effort, Natalie.

Opening with the sublime "Mr. Melody," the album would cement Cole's status as an artist worthy of attention. It would reach #10 on the Hot R&B Songs chart, peaking at #49 on the Hot 100.

The big single from Natalie was the exceedingly funky "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)." The song would hit #1 on the Hot R&B Songs chart in June 1976. Peaking at #25 on the Hot 100, the track would be a global hit, reaching the top 10 in such countries as New Zealand and Italy.

The album would find Cole taking on "Good Morning Heartache," a song made famous by the legendary Billie Holiday.

Released on April 9, 1976, Natalie the album climbed as high as #13 on the Billboard 200 for the week of July 17, 1976. The #1 album in America that week: Paul McCartney & Wings' Speed of Sound. On the Top R&B Albums chart, it would peak at #3 for the week of July 10, 1976. The #1 R&B album in America that week: George Benson's Breezin'.

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