Definitive Four Disc Anthology Brings Together 87 Non-LP and Compilation-Only Tracks including Landmark Hits “It’s Not For Me to Say,” “Chances Are” and “The Twelfth of Never”
Legacy Recordings and Columbia Records will celebrate the 80th birthday of legendary crooner Johnny Mathis with the release of Johnny Mathis: The Singles, a definitive four disc anthology, on September 25, 2015.
Born September 30, 1935, a then-teenaged Johnny Mathis signed with Columbia Records in 1956, first entering the Pop charts with his inaugural Columbia single, “Wonderful! Wonderful!” the following year. Peaking at #14, “Wonderful! Wonderful!” laid the foundation, and predicted the future, for one of the most remarkable careers in pop music history, leading to a string of singles successes which includes perennials like “It’s Not For Me To Say,” “Chances Are,” “The Twelfth Of Never” and many others.
Johnny Mathis: The Singles brings together, for the first time in one anthology, every Johnny Mathis recording which was first issued for the singles market, as well as tracks released exclusively on compilations (1958’s Johnny’s Greatest Hits, considered the first “greatest hits” collection ever created by the music industry, 1959’s More Johnny’s Greatest Hits and 1981’s The First 25 Years–The Silver Anniversary Album).
31 of the 87 tracks on Johnny Mathis: The Singles, are being released on CD for the very first time. The four-disc anthology compiles, for the very first time, every non-LP single side re-leased for the label between 1956 and 1981.
“When over the course of a career you record as many songs as I have recorded, you tend to for-get a few,” said Johnny Mathis. “Revisiting this music was a complete surprise. I was thrilled beyond belief that some of the songs that I recorded specifically for single records, some of which had simply disappeared once they had been released, are now going to be heard again. Listening to this collection, not only was I amazed at how great it sounds, but I was being re-minded of some songs I had totally forgotten. It is my greatest hope that my fans will share my enthusiasm.”
Johnny Mathis is one of the longest-running artists on the Columbia Records label, with 17 million RIAA certified album and singles sales in the US alone. A sublime vocalist whose approach to pop music transcends passing fads and trends, Mathis has performed songs in an incredible variety of styles and categories — from music composed for stage and film to golden era jazz standards, contemporary pop hits, and holiday music both sacred and secular — assuring his reputation as one of the most enduring traditional pop vocalists in music history.
Perhaps best-known for his landmark singles (three of his recordings–“Chances Are,” “It’s Not For Me To Say,” and “Misty“–have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame) Mathis was one of the very first musical artists to embrace the album concept and record fully-realized thematically and sonically coherent collections of songs. His 1958 release, Johnny’s Greatest Hits inaugurated the ongoing “greatest hits” anthology phenomenon becoming one of the most popular albums of all time after spending an unprecedented 490 continuous weeks (almost ten years) on the BILLBOARD Top Albums Chart; 1959’s Heavenly spent 295 consecutive weeks on the same chart. Johnny Mathis was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2003.
Mathis had 18 Top 40 hits between 1957 and 1963 and 19 Top 40 albums between 1957 and 1978. He has earned 10 gold, 4 platinum and 2 multi-platinum awards from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Mathis was a star student athlete in San Francisco who sang weekends at a local jazz club. Columbia Records’ George Avakian was in attendance during one performance, and famously wired back to the label office: “Have found phenomenal 19-year old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.” After his jazzy debut LP was largely ignored upon its release in 1956, Mathis began working closely with Columbia’s vice-president and producer Mitch Miller to develop an unbeatable lush pop style, picking romantic ballads that made extensive use of his recognizable, vibrato-heavy croon. Continue reading