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God's Gift of Music: Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis

"The fourth of seven children, John Royce Mathis was born on September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, Texas to Clem and Mildred Mathis. As a small boy, the family moved to Post Street in San Francisco. It was there that he learned an appreciation of music from his father who taught him his first song, “My Blue Heaven”. At age eight, his father purchased an old upright piano for $25. When he brought it home, it wouldn’t fit through the front door. So that evening, Johnny stayed up all night to watch his father dismantle the piano, get it into the small living room of their basement apartment and then reassemble it.

Clem Mathis, who worked briefly as a musician back in Texas playing the piano and singing on stage, would continue to teach his son many songs and routines. Johnny had proven to be the most eager of the children to learn all about music. He sang in the church choir, school functions, community events, for visitors in their home as well as amateur shows in the San Francisco area.

Johnny was 13 years old when Clem took him to see Connie Cox, a Bay Area voice teacher, who agreed to take on the youngster in exchange for his doing odd jobs around her house. Johnny studied with Connie for six years learning vocal scales and exercises, voice production, classical and operatic skills.

At George Washington High School, Johnny was known not only for his singing ability but his athleticism as well. He became a star athlete on the track and field team as a high jumper and hurdler and played on the basketball team.

In 1954, Johnny enrolled at San Francisco State College (now called San Francisco State University) with the intention of being an English and Physical Education teacher. While there, Johnny set a high jump record of 6’-5 1/2”. This is still one the College’s top jump heights and was only two inches short of the Olympic record of the time. Just as when he was in high school, Johnny’s name was frequently mentioned in the sports sections of the Northern California newspapers. In fact he & future NBA star Bill Russell were featured in a 1954 sports section article of the San Francisco Chronicle demonstrating their high jumping skills (Russell #1 & Johnny #2 in the City of San Francisco at that time). During one meet at the University of Nevada Johnny beat Russell’s highest jump attempt that day. He was often referred to as “the best all-around athlete to come out of the San Francisco Bay Area”.." from his website biography at

Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs

Our Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs list takes a look at one of music’s most eclectic artists. He’s not just known for singing one genre of music. He sings r&b, pop, country, gospel and jazz music. Mathis has recorded almost 100 albums and has over 200 singles. He has sold 350 million albums throughout his career. His biggest hits include “Chances Are” “It’s Not for Me to Say” and “Misty.” The singles are inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame. His career spans over 65 years. Let’s get to know more about Johnny Mathis..

..He ended up recording his first album in 1956. He released his debut eponymous album in 1956. Unfortunately, the album didn’t do well on the charts. The album features the singles “Wild Is the Wind” and “Twelfth of Never.” He began working on his next project Wonderful, Wonderful. The album was released in 1957. The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 charts. This album did much better than his debut album. It features the singles “All Through the Night,” “Too Close for Comfort” and “That Old Black Magic.”

Mathis released Warm in 1957. The album featured standards of romantic hits as well as two original songs. The album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 charts. The album was on the charts for 113 weeks. It features the singles “My One and Only Love,” “By Myself,” “I’m Glad There Is You,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” and “By Myself.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. Goodnight, Dear Lord was released in 1958. The album peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You” and “Deep River.”.." from the article: Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs

Johnny Mathis Oldies but Goodies Songs - Johnny Mathis Greatest hits

Video from Eva Anderson

"Johnny Mathis Oldies but Goodies Songs - Johnny Mathis Greatest hits John Royce Mathis (born September 30, 1935) 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 to date. Guinness world records and music charts historian Paul Gambaccini confirms Mathis record sales have surpassed well over 360 million worldwide to date. This makes Johnny Mathis the 3rd biggest selling artist of the 20th century after Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra." from video introduction

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