In 1956, a young man stepped in front of a microphone in a recording studio at Columbia Records in New York City and magic happened. With the guidance of Mitch Miller, who knew just what sort of song he should record, Johnny Mathis began a still-going-strong 57-year-long career. With his first Number One hit, “Chances Are,” and signature songs such as “Wonderful, Wonderful,” “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “A Certain Smile,” “Wild Is the Wind,” “The Twelfth of Never” and, of course, “Misty.” Mathis became a top-seller and the romantic balladeer of a generation. One writer put it best, stating, when a Johnny Mathis record came on, that “was the signal for the lights to go down, the curtains to be drawn and a kind of breathless hush to go over living rooms and dens and parked cars all over America.” He’s the only artist to have two spots on Billboard’s top-10 list of longest-charting albums: 1958’s Johnny‘s Greatest Hits with 490 weeks (almost 10 years!) and 1959’s Heavenly at 295. (By the way, Johnny was the first to release a “greatest hits” album.) At 78, his voice has barely diminished, the warmth and shimmer still present. He continues to tour and record, having just released another Christmas album. It’s only fitting that Johnny Mathis, who began his career in clubs in San Francisco and NYC, enters our Hall of Fame.
Category: Hall of Fame