Nat King Cole – Unforgettable Song Meaning

Unforgettable – Nat “King” Cole | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#12); 1952

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In 1951, Irving Gordon was a 36 year-old songwriter with a respectable resume of compositions. He’d penned Billie Holiday’s Me, Myself, And I in 1937, and (with Irving Mills) Prelude To A Kiss, popularized by Duke Ellington in 1938. In 1951 Patti Page took Irving’s Mister And Mississippi to #8, and in mid-1952 Eddy Howard scored a #7 hit with Be Anything (But Be Mine). However, a song released by Nat “King” Cole in between the latter two Top 10’s would ultimately outshine all of Irving’s other efforts. Unforgettable wasn’t even Cole’s biggest hit of his then-new solo career. Mona Lisa and Too Young spent multiple weeks at #1 in 1950 and 1951 respectively, while Unforgettable only reached #12. In the ensuing years, Nat did, indeed, become a “king:” of television, film, and recording. His stature continued to grow following his death in 1965 at age 45. He won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1990 and one for Unforgettable – with dubbed in vocals from daughter Natalie – in 1991.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Lee Gillette

Lyrics Written by:

  • Irving Gordon


  • Won 3 awards at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards in 1992: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance
  • Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000