Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was the first black American to host a television variety show and has maintained worldwide popularity over 40 years past his death; he is widely considered one of the most important musical personalities in United States history. "Lush Life" is a jazz standard with lyrics and music written by Billy Strayhorn from 1933 to 1938. However, the song was only performed privately by Strayhorn until he and vocalist Kay Davis performed it on November 13, 1948 with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
The song's lyrics describe the author's weariness of the night life after a failed romance, wasting time with "jazz and cocktails" at "come-what-may places" and in the company of girls with "sad and sullen gray faces/with distingu traces". Strayhorn was only 16 when he wrote the majority of the song, which was to become.