Quincy Jones, songwriter Diane Warren, producer David Foster, the Supremes’ Mary Wilson and Bobby Brown were among the industry colleagues, close friends and family members who attended a private memorial for Natalie Cole at the Beverly Hills, Calif., restaurant Crustacean Monday on night. The event followed the late singer’s funeral service earlier that day at West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles.
The song-filled celebration was organized and hosted by Cole’s longtime business manager Howard Grossman. Foster, who co-produced Cole’s multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning 1991 album Unforgettable … With Love, emceed the upbeat evening which featured performances by R&B hitmakers Wilson, Macy Gray, Johnny Gill, Freda Payne and Keith Washington. Actress and singer Dawnn Lewis performed Cole’s “Inseparable” while O’Jays member Eddie Levert fulfilled the crowd’s request to sing “Love Train.”
Brown delivered his take on the Donny Hathaway ballad “You Were Meant for Me,” inserting Cole’s first name into the lyrics. Before he sang, Brown noted, “I’ve always wanted to perform this song for someone and now I am.”
Also on hand were Cole’s son Robert Yancy and her uncle, singer/pianist Freddy Cole, the latter of whom concluded the celebration with a touching performance of “It’s Easy to Remember (But So Hard to Forget).”