Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Johnny Mathis

I don’t get too excited about Johnny Mathis. He is the anti-Elvis, a black man trying to sound white.

He had quite the chart career: 99 records on the hot 100 between 1957 and 1978. What I have here is Johnny’s Greatest Hits, most of More Johnny’s Greatest Hits, and few singles. This is all early stuff, ending in 1963.

Johnny Mathis:

Chances Are – His signature song. This was a hit in the fall of 1957, and it is a love song, obviously, and it seems to be about the capricious nature of romance. To my ears it’s facile, but that’s just one man’s opinion. The song made number 1 on Billboard
All The Time – He waxes operatic here, too much vibrato man. A hit in the summer of 1958.
The Twelfth Of Never – Another song of undying love, and an expression I used when my kids ask me when. From the fall of 1957. The B side of Chances Are.
When Sunny Gets Blue – Nobody is happy all the time.
When I Am With You – How love changes who we are. Not only is everything perfect, but our hero changes. He loves her for what he is when he is with her.
Wonderful! Wonderful! – No relation to Lawrence Welk. From the summer of 1957.
It’s Not For Me To Say – From the summer of 1957. I don’t know how two records by the same artist on the same label ended up on the chart at the same time.
Come To Me – Not The Tommy James & The Shodelles hit. From the winter of 1958. I think this would have been better sung by a woman. “My desire is that you possess me…”
Wild Is The Wind – From late 1957, nothing is wild about this song. David Bowie does a phenomenal version.
Warm And Tender – Lots of pizzicato going on here. It doesn’t help
No Love (But Your Love) – From late 1957. The A side of Wild Is The Wind.
I Look At You – How it feels to be attracted to someone who is unavailable.
Small World – Not the Disney song. How much we have in common. From the summer of 1959.
Let It Rain – Not the Derek & The Dominoes song. Another song using rain as a symbol for broken romance.
The Flame Of Love
A Certain Smile – From the summer of 1958.
Very Much In Love
Someone – A cloying song, by an artist who specialized in cloyingness. A hit in the spring of 1959, and covered by The Righteous Brothers, though they called it Guess Who.
Call Me – Not the 60s favourite that was a hit for Chris Montez. From the fall of 1958.
You Are Beautiful – From the winter of 1959.
Teacher Teacher – The DeCastro Sisters did Teach Me Tonight, and Doris Day did Teacher’s Pet, and this guy does this. It’s all sick. From the summer of 1958, the B side of All The Time.
Stairway To The Sea
Let’s Love – From the winter of 1959.
Misty – A song that became much bigger than Mathis’ recording of it. Not even Johnny could kill this one. Ray Stevens did a great version. From late 1959.
What Will Mary Say – A song about cheating, and a girl named Mary. Very blasé. From the winter of 1963.
Gina – The A side of Come To Me and a hit in the fall of 1962. The only Gina I ever knew was Mona’s younger sister. Mona? She was my classmate in last elementary / early junior high school.


Anonymous said...

I read your page with interest but you obviously do not recognise class when you see and hear it.
Johnny is just the best and the fact that he is celebrating almost 54 years at the top bears this out.
Sheer perfection.

Ray said...

He seems to fault Mathis for what was a general trend in that period in musical history.

Not a very smart musical commentary.

Anonymous said...

Who does this blogger think he is! He's no expert on music or singers, that's for sure. Johnny Mathis is in a class of his own and always will be!! What a very ignorant review of a great man's career! }:

Anonymous said...

Mr. blogger: listen to Johnny's interviews and you will see that he sings like he talks: you do know he is from Jamaica, don't you? Johnny Mathis is a world class talent whose voice is an Earthly treasure. There is no one else like him the world. He could have been an Olympian, but he chose music instead. There are millions who are glad he did!!!

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