Johnny Mathis
American singer
Johnny Mathis
John Royce "Johnny" Mathis is an American singer of popular music. Starting his career with singles of standard music, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts and Guinness World Record music chart historian Paul Gambaccini, confirms "Johnny Mathis has sold well over 350 million records worldwide".
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Filling The Void That Love Leaves Behind This Christmas
Huffington Post - 2 months
The holidays remind us where we belong, who our tribe is. They also remind us who we will never stop missing. This Christmas, I miss my Gran. It's been six years since she died and the void hasn't lessened. It stays gaping and hollow, no different from the day she left. Gran loved my family without conditions or constriction. There was never any question: She'd be there, when you needed her, however you needed her, no matter the reason why. If you were sick at school, her white Mazda would arrive in minutes, waiting to take you home. If you were singing in a choir concert, her big Italian eyes smiled at you from the front of the audience. You could see the blush pink roses, waiting for you on her lap. And if you were feeling blue, she'd take you in, make you homemade Pastina soup and an orange cake for dessert. She'd let you sleep beside her. Beside her, you'd also spend Christmas Eve. You'd rest your cup at the place setting next to her, claiming your spot. You'd admire her ...
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Huffington Post article
Johnny Mathis' Home In Hollywood Hills Damaged By Fire
Huffington Post - over 1 year
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The longtime home of Johnny Mathis in the Hollywood Hills was damaged in a fire on Monday. The 80-year-old singer had just flown back to Los Angeles to learn that his home of 56 years caught fire. He told reporters the blaze caused extensive damage and that only a few mementos were spared. "I'm OK, nobody got hurt -- that's always important. We can always replace things," Mathis said. Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the city's fire department, said a vegetation fire spread to the mansion. The cause of the fire was under investigation. Mathis is known for such hit songs as "Chances Are," ''It's Not for Me to Say" and "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late." He had launched a tour this year to celebrate his six decades in the music industry. According to his website, Mathis performed in Cleveland on Sunday.   Also on HuffPost: -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may b ...
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Huffington Post article
Johnny Mathis On Song Travels
NPR - over 1 year
The singer performs "On Such a Night As This" and "You'll Never Know" with host Michael Feinstein. » EMail This
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NPR article
Breastfeeding In Public: Mom Kristal Tomko Asked To Cover Up By Restaurant Owners
The Inquisitor - almost 2 years
Breastfeeding in public is often a touchy subject between parents and non-parents. On the one hand, it may be inconsiderate and a bit counterproductive to ask a parent to give up the one tool they have to calm a fussy infant. On the other, non-parents usually aren’t prepared for the visual, especially over dinner in a public restaurant. In Illinois, however, it doesn’t matter. Breastfeeding in public is legal whether you’re covered or not, private and public. That’s a lesson the owners and staff at Big Fish Bar and Grill in Wilmington are learning, too. That’s because they asked mother Kristal Tomko to cover up when she began feeding her 6-month-old son Ronan at the dinner table. Tomko said that Ronan had grown fussy and that since she breastfeeds, she decided to do what came naturally to her. “[My son] got fussy and as per norm I went ahead and started feeding him and I breast feed and I don’t use covers, they’re too hot and he’s too aware now,” she explained to Fox 32 (s ...
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The Inquisitor article
Johnny Mathis: Time for a full-scale comeback?
LATimes - almost 2 years
An unlikely act stole the show last month at the annual all-star gala Clive Davis hosts the night before the Grammy Awards.
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LATimes article
New 'American Hustle' Trailer: 'The Best We've Ever Done'?
Huffington Post - over 3 years
"It's got to be the best we've ever done," Christian Bale says at the end of the new "American Hustle" trailer. He's talking about a confidence scheme, but he might as well mean "American Hustle" itself. The expectations for David O. Russell's latest film are already impossibly high, and this new trailer does nothing to knock things back to Earth. Here's why: It (1) cribs Johnny Mathis' "It's Not For Me To Say" from the "Goodfellas" soundtrack, (2) gives co-star Amy Adams some Karen Hill-y voice over, and (3) adds a dab of "Boogie Nights"-era ELO in for good measure. (Though "10538 Overture" wasn't actually used in Paul Thomas Anderson's film.) Starring Bale, Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle" is out in theaters on Dec. 13 with a nationwide rollout set for Christmas Day. Watch the full trailer above.
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Huffington Post article
Johnny Mathis On 'Song Travels'
NPR - over 3 years
The singer performs "On Such a Night As This" and "You'll Never Know" with host Michael Feinstein. » E-Mail This     » Add to
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NPR article
Johnny Mathis in hometown to sing with S.F. Symphony
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
Johnny Mathis in hometown to sing with S.F. Symphony Johnny Mathis in hometown to sing with S.F. Symphony Almost 60 years ago, Johnny Mathis, a star athlete from San Francisco's George Washington High School and then a high jumper and hurdler at San Francisco State, had a big decision to make: The fact that Mathis, now 77, is pop music royalty indicates he was wise to leave the high jumping behind him. [...] silky of voice and suave of style, Mathis returns to his hometown Friday and Saturday for performances with the San Francisco Symphony. On the phone from his Hollywood Hills home, Mathis talked about his roots and his longevity. Each person I've met along the way has influenced me, guided me, helped me, given me the benefit of their musicianship. There are so many gifted arrangers and musicians and producers, and I had to make myself available and have enough of an open kind of personality to not only meet them on their terms but go a little further in o ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Jay Weston: Paul Anka's "My Way," Reviewed from the Inside!
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
For most of the first decade of his amazing 60 year career, I was Paul Anka's publicist. So I read his new autobiography, MY WAY (St. Martin's Press) with special interest. It all began for me with a phone call in the late '50s from a Washington, D.C. drugstore owner-turned-talent manager named Irv Feld, who heard I had finished representing Sammy Davis, Jr. after several years. He asked if I would take on his new client, a young fifteen-year old singer/songwriter just down to N.Y. from Canada. The song he was pushing was "Diana" and I learned he was sleeping in the bathtub of an apartment in the President Hotel occupied by a fellow Canadian music group called The Rover Boys ("Graduation Day") who coincidentally were being managed by my best friend, Fred Amsel. For the first months of his New York visit, Paul camped out anywhere he could get a bed, although eventually the Anka family, father Andy, mother Camy, sister Mariam and brother Andy moved down from Ottawa to Tenafly ...
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Huffington Post article
Concetta Bertoldi: Love Lives On
Huffington Post - about 4 years
In my work as a medium, I've met so many folks who have lost a girlfriend, boyfriend, a partner or a spouse. And I've met many, as well, who are desperate to find love, who have never felt they had someone special to call their own love. This side of the veil has so many challenges -- it's a true blessing to have someone beside us to share the load, give comfort and also to share our many joys and good times with. To share life with a partner who loves you is truly a beautiful thing, and to be missing them is one of the hardest -- and brought home to us all the more on special days like anniversaries or on Valentine's Day. I had a client once -- a gentleman who had lost his wife, who struggled with his beliefs -- could he tell himself that she was sitting on a cloud somewhere and they'd be together again someday? Or was he just kidding himself and they'd never see each other again? As he sat across from me, I began to tell him things about his relationship that only he woul ...
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Huffington Post article
PLEASE Watch Old Navy's Incredible 'Twas The Jordan Knight Before Christmas' Commercial (VIDEO)
MTV News - about 4 years
Santa's been replaced by Jordan Knight in Old Navy's amazing new commercial. OK, Old Navy's ad team deserves a CLIO for their commitment to '90s pop culture nostalgia. First there was the "90210" commercial in which Kelly Taylor chooses JEANS. And who can forget the one with the Backstreet Boys tumbling out of an enormous boom box while peddling jeggings? (P.S. We bought a pair.) And now they're giving us a "Funky Funky Christmas" miracle: "Twas The Jordan Knight Before Christmas" commercial. The commercial opens with crooner Johnny Mathis (legend status -- Google it) telling what is quite frankly a much better version of "Twas The Night Before Christmas." He gets about one sentence into the tale before NKOTB's Jordan Knight bursts into the house looking young enough to be his own SON, rocking red (that suit may be a hat tip to Psy) and flanked by elves. Because Jordan K. feels so Christmasy! Watch Old Navy's "Twas The Jordan Knight Before Christmas" commercial after the jump. ...
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MTV News article
Tiny Label's Quest for Daring but Wearable
Wall Street Journal - over 4 years
By Christina Binkley It has been a breakout year for Creatures of the Wind. Now, the fashion label must top that at its first full runway show Thursday at New York Fashion Week. Shane Gabier and Chris Peters, designers of the Chicago-based label, snagged a runner-up award from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund last November and created a mini-collection for J. Crew. They dressed model-socialite Dree Hemingway, and picked up a financial backer, as well as sponsorship from Swarovski jewelry.Now, they are about to show their fifth collection, aiming to break fresh ground with a label that aims to be both avant-garde and wearable. It is that balance that has attracted so much attention from industry backers. Now that they have the attention of fashion cognoscenti such as Vogue editor Anna Wintour and retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, the designers—who are partners in life and work—must convince editors and retailers that they can produce hits season after season."The expectations grow every season ...
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Wall Street Journal article
Free Concert In Faust Park Tuesday, Chesterfield 7-9PM
Chesterfield Patch - over 4 years
Wow! Listen to the sound of these two by clicking here—they are good! Scott Laytham & Karl Holmes Duo is an entertaining mix of song and impersonations, performing 7-9pm Tuesday in concert No. 3 of Faust Park's free summer concerts, organized by the Chesterfield business community, and Chamber of Commerce. Holmes sings, often going by the name "Trickee", and does impersonations of artists' style including Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presely, Randy Travis, Smokey Robinson and Louis Armstrong. He has sung all over and with all kinds of stars. He performed opening night at the new Fox Theatre in 1982. Laytham also sings and plays guitar and piano. He is a prolific composer, performer, arranger. He has produced music for both local and national radio and television ads, according to the duo's website. Bring your own blanket or lawn chair. The Faust Park concert venue opens Tuesdays by 5:15pm (on Olive Boulevard next door to Friendship Villa ...
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Chesterfield Patch article
Macungie Resident Eric Kearns Celebrating 20 years & 4,000th Performance
Lower Macugnie Patch - almost 5 years
Unique Entertainer Celebrating 20 Years and 4,000th Performance as Vocal Impressionist What does seasoned entertainer Eric Kearns have in common with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Vinton, Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, and many other legendary singers?  During his live performances he has the uncanny ability to sound like all of them. Over the past twenty years - numbering some 4,000 performances - Kearns’ solo performance has consistently brought a ‘who’s who’ list of singers alive on stage. Six years ago he launched his unique Voices of Legends entertainment show. Allentown, PA–based Kearns has been delighting and amazing audiences throughout the country, delivering his Las Vegas-caliber show in various venues including Theaters, Country Clubs, Active Adult Communities, Resorts, and now Casinos. Some of his corporate clients have included Johnson & Johnson, Binney & Smith, Swiss Reinsurance, Kohl’s, Computer Aide, Inc., and Agere. A ...
Article Link:
Lower Macugnie Patch article
Southside Johnny, Broadway Star Top Date Night Options
Bloomfield Patch - almost 5 years
Wellmont Theatre, Montclair THIS WEEKEND  Friday — Folk-rock icon John Prine, with Kevin Gordon, 8 p.m.; Saturday — Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, 8 p.m.; Sunday — Alison Krauss & Union Station, featuring Jerry Douglas NEXT WEEK: No shows BOOK IT NOW: Marilyn Manson and The Pretty Reckless, 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 2; Chicago, 8 p.m., Friday, May 4; Willie Nelson & Family, 8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, May 16, 17; Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang, 8 p.m., Saturday, June 9; Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples, 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 19. Check out for more shows.   New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark THIS WEEKEND: Friday night — Audra McDonald, one of Broadway's most talented leading ladies, performs a concert of the greatest songs from the Broadway and Hollywood songbooks, 8 p.m., Prudential Hall NEXT WEEK: Daughtry has gone from American Idol contestant to Grammy-nominated pop band. He and his band rock Prudential Hall at 7:30 p.m., W ...
Article Link:
Bloomfield Patch article
Novato Music Association Chorus Warming Up for its Spring Concerts
Novato Patch - almost 5 years
The Novato Music Association Chorus proves that On A Clear Day You Can Sing Forever when it presents its spring concert series this weekend and next at Unity in Marin at 600 Palm Drive in Novato. For more than 35 years, the local group has brought song to Marin County and they will continue their mission this spring when its members take a musical look at life through love, laughter, tears, fears, hopes and dreams. Some of the solo presentations will include: Somewhere, sung by Vivien Von Ah of Novato Up on the Roof sung by Kim Wilding of Petaluma Dream a Little Dream, sung by Sue Kessler of Novato Unchain my Heart, sung by Dan Deshazo of Novato Sixteen Tons, sung by Mark Miller of Novato the Portugese song Ere Se Que Vou, sung by Ximena Bervejillo of Novato and Viva Las Vegas, sung by Skip Hunter of Sausalito. Presented under the direction of Cary Cedarblade of Fairfax, the show will feature songs such as Aquarius, Route 66, Heard it Through the Grapevi ...
Article Link:
Novato Patch article
Date Night: Music and Comedy Top Weekend Shows
Belleville Patch - almost 5 years
Wellmont Theatre, Montclair THIS WEEKEND Saturday — Comedian Aziz Ansari, one of the funniest character actors in TV and film, delivers his stand-up act to the Montclair audience, 8 p.m. NEXT WEEK   John Prine, with Kevin Gordon, 8 p.m., Friday, April 20; Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, 8 p.m., Saturday, April 21 BOOK IT NOW Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples, 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 19. Check out for more shows. New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark THIS WEEKEND: Tonight — Paco de Lucia, one of the great flamenco and jazz guitarists of his generation, performs with his band; 8 p.m., Friday; Prudential Hall; Theresa Caputo, star of TLC'sLong Island Medium, helps audience members connect with the dead; 8 p.m., Victoria Theater  NEXT WEEK: Audra McDonald, one of musical theater's most accomplished leading ladies performs the best of the Broadway and Hollywood songbooks; 8 p.m., Friday, April 20, Prudential Hall BOOK IT NOW: Daughtry has go ...
Article Link:
Belleville Patch article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Johnny Mathis
  • 2016
    Age 80
    On January 14, 2016, Mathis performed to a sold out audience in The Villages as part of his “60th Anniversary Concert Tour."
    More Details Hide Details Despite missing the Olympic high jump trials, he has never entirely abandoned his enthusiasm for sports and today is an avid golfer who has achieved nine holes-in-one, and has hosted several Johnny Mathis Golf Tournaments in the United Kingdom and the US. Since 1985 he has been hosting a charity golf tournament in Belfast sponsored by Shell corporation, and the annual Johnny Mathis Invitational Track & Field Meet has continued at San Francisco State University since it started in 1982. Mathis has undergone rehabilitation for both alcohol and prescription drug addictions. and he has supported many organizations through the years, including the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the YWCA and YMCA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the NAACP.
  • 2014
    Age 78
    On June 21, 2014, Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall Of Fame along with Linda Ronstadt, Shirley Jones, and Nat King Cole (his daughter Natalie Cole accepting the award on his behalf).
    More Details Hide Details
    Mathis served as narrator for '51 Dons, a 2014 documentary film about the integrated and undefeated 1951 San Francisco Dons football team.
    More Details Hide Details The team was denied a chance to play in a bowl game because it refused to agree to not play its two African-American players, Ollie Matson and Burl Toler, who were childhood friends of Mathis.
  • 2008
    Age 72
    Mathis eulogized him at his funeral in 2008, thanking him for giving him his first chance as a singer.
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  • 2007
    Age 71
    In 2007, Mathis was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details
    He appeared on the show with Carson's successor, Jay Leno, on March 29, 2007, to sing his song "The Shadow of Your Smile" with the saxophonist Dave Koz.
    More Details Hide Details Through the years, his songs (or parts of them) have been heard in 100 plus television shows and films around the globe. His appearance on the Live by Request broadcast in May 1998 on the A&E Network had the largest television viewing audience of the series. Also in 1989, Johnny sang the theme for the ABC daytime soap opera Loving.
    Mathis returned to the British Top 30 album chart in 2007 with the Sony BMG release The Very Best of Johnny Mathis in 2008 with the CD "A Night to Remember" and again in 2011 with "The Ultimate Collection"
    More Details Hide Details Mathis continues to perform live, but from 2000 forward, he limited his concert performances to about fifty to sixty per year. Mathis, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand carry the distinction of having the longest tenure of any recording artist on the Columbia Records label. With the exception of a four-year break to record for Mercury Records in the mid-1960s, he has been with Columbia Records throughout his career, from 1956 to 1963 and from 1968 to the present. He has had five of his albums on the Billboard charts simultaneously, an achievement equaled by only two other singers: Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. He has released 200 singles and had 71 songs charted around the world. Pieces of music from numerous Mathis albums continue to be used in motion pictures and television. For example, "Chances Are" was played during an extraterrestrial visit in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), "Wonderful! Wonderful! " in The X-Files episode "Home", albeit performed by a sound-alike singer. Various Mathis songs have been played more recently in the TV series Mad Men, which also features a recurring minor character named "John Mathis". Mathis's "Wonderful! Wonderful!" was used in the conclusion to the long running TV series Desperate Housewives as "Karen McClusky" died.
  • 2006
    Age 70
    He was also awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details
    On April 13, 2006, Mathis granted a podcast interview with The Strip in which he talked about the subject once again, and how some of his reluctance to speak on the subject was partially generational.
    More Details Hide Details In 2003, the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded Mathis the Lifetime Achievement Award. This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy's National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artist significance to the field of recording.
    In 2006, Mathis revealed that his silence had been because of death threats he received as a result of that 1982 article.
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  • 1998
    Age 62
    Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for three separate recordings - in 1998 for "Chances Are", in 2002 for "Misty", and in 2008 for "It's Not for Me to Say".
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  • 1982
    Age 46
    Mathis was quoted in a 1982 Us Magazine article, stating "Homosexuality is a way of life that I've grown accustomed to."
    More Details Hide Details However, he made no further comments on this, and Us Magazine later retracted the statement.
  • 1980
    Age 44
    During 1980-81, Mathis recorded an album with Chic's Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, I Love My Lady, which remains unreleased in its entirety, though three tracks appeared on a Chic box set in 2010 and a fourth, the title track, on Mathis' Ultimate Collection in 2011 and the Chic Organization's Up All Night in 2013.
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  • 1979
    Age 43
    Although he is frequently described as a romantic singer, his discography includes jazz, traditional pop, Brazilian music, Spanish music, soul music, rhythm and blues, soft rock, Broadway theatre, Tin Pan Alley standards, some blues and country songs, and even a few disco songs for his album Mathis Magic in 1979.
    More Details Hide Details Mathis also recorded six albums of Christmas music. In a 1968 interview, Mathis cited Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, and Bing Crosby among his musical influences.
  • 1978
    Age 42
    In 1978, Mathis recorded "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" with singer Deniece Williams.
    More Details Hide Details The lyrics and music were arranged by Nat Kipner and John McIntyre Vallins. Released as a single in 1978, it reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, number nine on the Canadian Singles Chart and number three on the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the US R&B and adult contemporary charts. "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" was certified gold and silver in the US and in the UK by the RIAA and the British Phonographic Industry respectively. It was his first number one hit since his 1957 chart-topping "Chances Are." The duo released a follow-up duet, "You're All I Need to Get By," peaking at number 47 on the Hot 100. The success of the duets with Williams prompted Mathis to record duets with a variety of partners, including Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Jane Olivor, Stephanie Lawrence, and Nana Mouskouri. A compilation album also called Too Much, Too Little, Too Late, released by Sony Music in 1995, featured the title track among other songs by Mathis and Williams.
  • 1976
    Age 40
    Johnny Mathis had a 1976 Christmas number one single in the UK with the song "When a Child Is Born".
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  • 1967
    Age 31
    After splitting from Noga, Mathis established Jon Mat Records, Inc., incorporated in California May 11, 1967, to produce his recordings (previously, he founded Global Records, Inc. to produce his Mercury albums), and Rojon Productions, Inc., incorporated in California September 30, 1964, to handle all of his concert, theater, showroom, and television appearances, and all promotional and charitable activities.
    More Details Hide Details His new manager and business partner was Ray Haughn, who, until his death in September 1984, helped guide Mathis's career. Since that time, Mathis has taken sole responsibility for it. While Mathis continued to make music, the ascent of the Beatles and early 1970s album rock kept his adult contemporary recordings out of the pop singles charts, until he experienced a career renaissance in the late 1970s.
  • 1964
    Age 28
    In October 1964, Mathis sued Noga to void their management arrangement, which Noga fought with a counterclaim in December 1964.
    More Details Hide Details Mathis purchased a mansion in Hollywood Hills, which was originally built by billionaire Howard Hughes in 1946, where he still maintains a residence.
  • 1962
    Age 26
    Mathis had two of his biggest hits in 1962 and 1963, with "Gina" (#6) and "What Will My Mary Say" (#9).
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  • 1958
    Age 22
    During the summer of 1958, Mathis left San Francisco with the Nogas, who sold their interest in the Black Hawk club that year, and moved to Beverly Hills, California, where the Nogas bought a house.
    More Details Hide Details Mathis lived with the family. In 1958, Johnny’s Greatest Hits was released. The album spent an unprecedented 491 consecutive weeks through 1967 (nine and a half years) on the Billboard top 100 album charts, earning him a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • 1957
    Age 21
    His appearance on the popular TV program The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 also helped increase his popularity.
    More Details Hide Details Critics called him "the velvet voice". Mathis also appeared during this period on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, as did fellow African-American entertainers Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey.
  • 1956
    Age 20
    In late 1956, Mathis recorded two of his most popular songs: "Wonderful!
    More Details Hide Details Wonderful! " and "It's Not For Me To Say". Also that year, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed him up to sing the latter song in the movie Lizzie (1957). Shortly afterwards, Mathis made his second film appearance for 20th Century Fox, singing the song "A Certain Smile" in the film of that title. He had small acting roles in both movies as a bar singer. This early visibility in two successful movies gave him mass exposure.
    His LP record album was released in late 1956 instead of waiting until the first quarter of 1957.
    More Details Hide Details Mathis's first record album, Johnny Mathis: A New Sound In Popular Song, was a slow-selling jazz album, but Mathis stayed in New York City to sing in nightclubs. His second album was produced by Columbia Records vice-president and record producer Mitch Miller, who helped to define the Mathis sound. Miller preferred that Mathis sing soft, romantic ballads, pairing him up with conductor and music arranger Ray Conniff, and later, Ray Ellis, Glenn Osser, and Robert Mersey.
    At San Francisco State, Mathis had become noteworthy as a high jumper, and in 1956 he was asked to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team that would travel to Melbourne, Australia, that November.
    More Details Hide Details Mathis had to decide whether to go to the Olympic trials or to keep his appointment in New York City to make his first recordings. On his father's advice, Mathis opted to embark on a professional singing career.
  • 1955
    Age 19
    In San Francisco while singing at a Sunday afternoon jam session with a friend's jazz sextet at the Black Hawk Club, Mathis attracted the attention of the club's co-founder, Helen Noga. She became Mathis' music manager, and in September 1955, after Noga had found Mathis a job singing weekends at Ann Dee's 440 Club, she learned that George Avakian, head of Popular Music A&R at Columbia Records, was on vacation near San Francisco.
    More Details Hide Details After repeated calls, Noga finally persuaded Avakian to come hear Mathis at the 440 Club. After hearing Mathis sing, Avakian sent his record company a telegram stating: "Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts."
  • 1954
    Age 18
    Mathis was a star athlete at George Washington High School in San Francisco. He was a high jumper and hurdler, and he played on the basketball team. In 1954, he enrolled at San Francisco State University on an athletic scholarship, intending to become an English teacher and a physical education teacher.
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  • 1935
    Mathis was born in Gilmer, Texas, United States, in 1935, the fourth of seven children of Clem Mathis and his wife, Mildred Boyd.
    More Details Hide Details The family moved to San Francisco, California, settling on 32nd Ave. in the Richmond District, where Johnny grew up. His father had worked in vaudeville, and when he saw his son's talent, he bought an old upright piano for $25 and encouraged him. Mathis began learning songs and routines from his father. His first song was "My Blue Heaven". Mathis started singing and dancing for visitors at home, at school, and at church functions. When he was 13, voice teacher Connie Cox accepted him as her student in exchange for work around her house. Mathis studied with Cox for six years, learning vocal scales and exercises, voice production, classical, and operatic singing. He is one of the relatively few popular singers who received years of professional voice training that included opera. The first band he sang with was formed by his high school friend Merl Saunders.
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