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Johnny Mathis

John Royce Mathis

The first time I ever heard a song from Johnny Mathis was the song “Chances Are“, and man that is a great song. His voice is so timeless from his Christmas songs to his pop and soul music. I am sure if I were on a date back in the 50’s or 60’s I would have had him playing in my car. Anyways here is some great info I found on him.

Johnny Mathis is impressive on just so many levels, I have nothing but admiration for the guy. He was born in 1935 in Texas. His ethnicity was mixed, African American and Caucasian. He showed an early aptitude for music and sports, excelling at track and field as well as basketball. He was discovered at 19 by producer George Avakian. Hollywood lore says after hearing Mathis for the first time, Avakian sent a telegram to Columbia Records that read ‘Have found phenomenal 19-year old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts. Mathis released his first album in 1956. It was a collection of jazz standards, and did not sell as well as was expected. The label, however, did not give up on him. They asked him to sing softer ballads and love songs. While recording the second album, he also had the chance to appear in two successful movies as a bar singer, Lizzie and A Certain Voice. That, along with a very successful appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, raised his celebrity as he was releasing the second album. The title cut from that album was Wonderful, Wonderful, and it was his first hit.


2 responses »

  1. Ah Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. Such a part of my growing up. From the start my mom had his romantic 45’s that would be part of the huge stack of other 45’s that would be dropping on the portable “stereo” over & over all weekend when she was home. She & her boyfriend danced cheek-to-cheek to them, and, as a teenager so did I (with MY OWN boyfriend of course ;- ) Not sure anyone can croon a romantic ballad like Johnny. And he seems to be such a sweet person too. Never, ever heard a bad word about him – only good. (Did you know that his brother worked for many, many years in the toll booths at the Golden Gate Bridge? Just a worthless bit of trivia to toss in. But it was exciting to hope we MIGHT get a glimpse of Johnny Mathis’s bother on the way to S.F. – when the toll was only a quarter! Haha!)



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