Nat King Cole Playing Piano

Veteran songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans wrote a song titled “Prima Donna” and sent the music to Cole. He rejected the song, as had Frank Sinatra before him. The songwriters asked if they could come to his house and perform the song for him. He agreed out of respect for the writers’ reputation. They arrived to sing the song, now titled “Mona Lisa,” with a few changes in the music and lyrics. Cole asked, “What kind of a song is that?” However, when he heard the song played and sung, he changed his mind. Cole’s wife, Maria, asked, “Why are you doing an Italian song?” She couldn’t change her husband’s mind though she was convinced the song was all wrong for him. The song won the Academy Award and became the biggest selling song of Cole’s career.

related song(s)
Mona Lisa
related performer(s)
Nat King Cole
related songwriter(s)
Jay Livingston
Ray Evans