Monday, August 25, 2008

Nat King Cole - 'Nature Boy'

Think this is the best version of 'Nature Boy' - it's all paired back to essentials so the meanings of the lyrics are more potent, and the line of the music and voice more intelligible. The black and white footage, and sparsely orchestrated arrangement with few instruments. Nat King Cole looks amazingly fresh! And sounds so velvety.

I love the idea of understanding something of such great importance from an unexpected source - a wise mysterious enchanted younger person, 'a little shy and sad of eye'.

'The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return'

Haunting and thought-provoking.

Thanks Alan for reminding me of this great song!


Derek just commented he preferred John Leguizamo's version in 'Moulin Rouge', so I've posted it here too.


  1. Have you ever heard "Nature Boy" as rendred into Portuguese by the Bossa Nova poet Vinicius de Moraes and performed by Maria Bethânia?
    I think it is sublime...

    P.S. btw, I have had one hell of a time trying to post any comments here as the 'word verification' changed alphabets on me. Wish me luck and tell me how you've been

  2. yvw

    Alan down in Florida

  3. no, i haven't heard Maria Bethânia - i'll start googling! i hate that word verification thing - i'll try to get rid of it. i didn't add it - so it's obviously an automatic thing. canvassed a bit about how things are here in my last comment to you. am thinking of traveling again and soon. maybe for a month or two. asia way probably. itching to pack the bag and be on the road, free of all else. did you have much trouble winding down after your franco-scapade? i plan my next as a way of spirit-raising, even if very fictive! be in touch. nick

  4. I agree, this is probably my favorite version of Nature Boy.... simple melody, with a heart wrenching message.

    Still gives me a lump in my throat after many years

  5. hey paul. i have pretty much the same reaction - it's done with such great restraint - the emotion is held right back and not gushed out - and i think this is what makes it so powerful.

  6. Aesthetically, I prefer John Leguizamo's version in Moulin Rouge (not to be confused with David Bowie on the soundtrack).

    But I much prefer how Nat runs the bits at the end of the verses faster.

  7. hey derek, just posted John Leguizamo's version in Moulin Rouge - in my original post. it is so different in a way that doesn't detract from Nat King Cole's more jazz arrangement. but we each have our own preferences. thanks for reminding of the later cover. cya. nick

  8. Actually, that's the David Bowie version.

    It is similar to the John Lequizamo version. But Leguizamo has a... smoother timbre, compared to Bowie's crisper voice. It gives the song a sadder feeling, that I think plays off the movie's theme of Love Lost.

  9. hey derek. you're right - thanks for pointing it out. and yep, it has a sadder more melancholic feeling. take care. nick