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Merry Christmas, Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis

November 30th, -0001

Birth Name:
John Royce Mathis

Born:
September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, TX

Genre:
Pop

Years Active:
'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s






Johnny Mathis

Biography

One of the last and most popular in a long line of traditional male vocalists who emerged before the rock-dominated 1960s, Johnny Mathis concentrated on romantic readings of jazz and pop standards for the ever-shrinking adult contemporary audience of the '60s and '70s. Though he debuted with a flurry of singles chart activity, Mathis later made it big in the album market, where a dozen of his LPs hit gold or platinum and over 60 made the charts. While he concentrated on theme-oriented albums of show tunes and traditional favorites during the '60s, he began incorporating soft rock by the '70s and remained a popular concert attraction well into the '90s.. One of the last and most popular in a long line of traditional male vocalists who emerged before the rock-dominated 1960s, Johnny Mathis concentrated on romantic readings of jazz and pop standards for the ever-shrinking adult contemporary audience of the '60s and '70s. Though he debuted with a flurry of singles chart activity, Mathis later made it big in the album market, where a dozen of his LPs hit gold or platinum and over 60 made the charts. While he concentrated on theme-oriented albums of show tunes and traditional favorites during the '60s, he began incorporating soft rock by the '70s and remained a popular concert attraction well into the '90s.

Unsurprisingly, given his emphasis on long sustained notes and heavy vibrato, Mathis studied with an opera coach prior to his teenage years, and was almost lured into the profession; his other inspirations were the smoother crossover jazz vocalists of the 1940s — Nat "King" Cole, Billy Eckstine, and Lena Horne. Mathis was an exceptional high-school athlete in San Francisco, but was wooed away from a college track scholarship and a potential spot on the Olympic squad by the chance to sing. He was signed to a management contract by club owner Helen Noga, who introduced the singer to George Avakian, jazz producer for Columbia Records. Avakian signed him and used orchestras conducted by Teo Macero, Gil Evans, and John Lewis to record Mathis' self-titled debut album in 1957. Despite the name talent and choice of standards, it was mostly ignored upon release.

Columbia A&R executive Mitch Miller — known for his desperately pop-slanted Sing Along albums and TV show — decided the only recourse was switching Mathis to Miller's brand of pop balladry, and the formula worked like a charm; the LP Wonderful Wonderful didn't include but was named after a Top 20 hit later in 1957, which was followed by the number five "It's Not for Me to Say" and his first number one, "Chances Are." From that point on, Johnny Mathis concentrated strictly on lush ballads for adult contemporary listeners.

Though he charted consistently, massive hit singles were rare for Johnny Mathis during the late '50s and '60s — half of his career Top Ten output had occurred in 1957 alone — so he chose to focus instead on the burgeoning album market, much like Frank Sinatra, his main rival during the late '50s as the most popular traditional male vocalist. Mathis moved away from show tunes and traditional pop into soft rock during the '70s, and found his second number one single, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late," in 1978. Recorded as a duet with Deniece Williams, the single prompted Mathis to begin trying duets with a variety of partners (including Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, and Nana Mouskouri), though none of the singles enjoyed the success of the original.

Mathis continued to release and sell albums throughout the '90s — his fifth decade of recording for Columbia — and beyond, among them 1998's Because You Loved Me: Songs of Diane Warren and 2000's Mathis on Broadway. Mathis followed the Broadway album with 2002's The Christmas Album and 2005's Isn't it Romantic: The Standards Album, both of which found the iconic vocalist in fine form. In 2008, Mathis released the Walter Afanasieff-produced and arranged A Night to Remember, his first straight-ahead adult contemporary album in over a decade. Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville, Mathis' first full-length album of country music, appeared in September of 2010.

Top Albums

Merry Christmas, Johnny Mathis
1. Merry Christ..
The Essential Johnny Mathis, Johnny Mathis
2. The Essentia..
The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection, Johnny Mathis
3. The Christma..
Johnny Mathis: The Ultimate Hits Collection, Johnny Mathis
4. Johnny Mathi..
The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection, Johnny Mathis
5. The Christma..
Sending You a Little Christmas, Johnny Mathis
6. Sending You ..
A Night to Remember, Johnny Mathis
7. A Night to R..
Johnny Mathis: Super Hits, Johnny Mathis
8. Johnny Mathi..
Johnny Mathis Gold: A 50th Anniversary Christmas Celebration, Johnny Mathis
9. Johnny Mathi..
Christmas With Johnny Mathis, Johnny Mathis
10. Christmas Wi..
Let It Be Me - Mathis In Nashville, Johnny Mathis
11. Let It Be Me..
Better Together - The Duet Album, Johnny Mathis
12. Better Toget..
Open Fire, Two Guitars, Johnny Mathis
13. Open Fire, T..
Heavenly, Johnny Mathis
14. Heavenly
For Christmas, Johnny Mathis
15. For Christma..
Give Me Your Love for Christmas, Johnny Mathis
16. Give Me Your..
Christmas Eve With Johnny Mathis, Johnny Mathis
17. Christmas Ev..
Heavenly / Greatest Hits / Live, Johnny Mathis
18. Heavenly / G..
Good Night, Dear Lord, Johnny Mathis
19. Good Night, ..
Johnny Mathis: Love Songs, Johnny Mathis
20. Johnny Mathi..

Top Songs

NameAlbumTimePrice
1.
MistyEssential Johnny Mathis3:33$0.99
2.
Chances Are (Single Version)Essential Johnny Mathis3:01$0.99
3.
Last Time I Felt Like ThisBetter Together - The Duet ..2:56$0.99
4.
Wonderful! Wonderful! (Single Versio..Essential Johnny Mathis2:47$0.99
5.
It's Not for Me to SayEssential Johnny Mathis3:03$0.99
6.
Twelfth of Never (Single Version)Essential Johnny Mathis2:25$0.99
7.
What I Did for LoveEssential Johnny Mathis2:44$0.99
8.
Too Much, Too Little, Too LateEssential Johnny Mathis2:58$0.99
9.
Too Much, Too Little, Too LateBetter Together - The Duet ..2:56$0.99
10.
MistyHeavenly3:33$0.99
11.
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your ..Essential Johnny Mathis5:59$0.99
12.
What Will My Mary SayEssential Johnny Mathis3:09$0.99
13.
My Funny ValentineEssential Johnny Mathis3:35$0.99
14.
Wonderful! Wonderful! (Single)Johnny Mathis: Super Hits2:46$0.99
15.
Chances AreJohnny Mathis: Super Hits3:01$0.99
16.
What'll I DoGreat American Song Book2:58$0.99
17.
Time for UsEssential Johnny Mathis2:54$0.99
18.
GinaEssential Johnny Mathis2:45$0.99
19.
MistyJohnny Mathis: The Ultimate..3:32$1.29
20.
Twelfth of Never (Single Version)Johnny Mathis: The Ultimate..2:25$0.99
21.
It's Not for Me to SayJohnny Mathis: The Ultimate..3:02$0.99
22.
12th Of Never20 All Time Greats Of The 5..2:29$0.99
23.
Let It Be Me (feat. Alison Krauss)Let It Be Me - Mathis In Na..3:29$0.99
24.
MistyJohnny Mathis - Misty (Rema..3:33$0.99
25.
Because You Loved MeEssential Johnny Mathis4:36$0.99

Top Music Videos

Winter Wonderland, Johnny Mathis
1. Winter Wonder...


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