The CD and DVD, made with the cooperation of Cole's family, will be issued on January 25, 2005, and will be available separately and in a limited-edition set. The CD will include 28 of Cole's hits, from the 1944 "Straighten Up and Fly Right" to the 1991 "virtual duet" version of "Unforgettable" with his daughter Natalie.
The documentary, created by Stuart Watts, Ian Hunt, and Kari Lia, will also be broadcast on television in the United States and the UK starting in February 2005. In a statement, Lia said it would have a particular focus on Cole's role in the civil rights movement. "Nat King Cole was one of the first African Americans to break through major race barriers in the entertainment industry," she said, "and we found that to be an area of his life that has never been fully explored until now."
Cole first emerged as a jazz pianist in the late 1930s, and his King Cole Trio was popular and influential. But by the late 1940s he turned almost exclusively to singing pop songs, and in the 1950s and '60s was second only to Frank Sinatra in popularity. He died in 1965 of lung cancer.