The dawning of the rock age put a lot of great singers on the list of forgotten talent. To be remembered they had to be really big stars such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin whose songs are still played today. Unfortunately for others who weren’t such big talents, they have been lost to the ages. There is one other talent who stands out from the rest and that is Johnny Mathis whose velvety voice made people sit up and take notice, gained him lots of fans, and his songs are still popular today. Mathis was born on September 30, 1935, in Gilmer, Texas.
“Chances Are” became Johnny Mathis’s signature song.
Mathis spent his childhood in San Francisco, California. When he was a teen of 13 he started to train his voice. The one other thing that he was really great at was athletics and while at San Francisco State University he was invited to the U.S. trials in track and field for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. However, it was music that won because Mathis appeared to have all the signs of becoming a great musician. While he was singing in nightclubs on the weekends he caught the attention of George Avakian who was the head of jazz A&R for Columbia Records. So Mathis was off to New York City to record his debut album.
His first album didn’t make a great impact but his second one made him a star. In the summer of 1957, he recorded some great singles like “Wonderful, Wonderful” and “It’s Not For Me To Say”. These were followed by other hits such as “Chances Are” and “Twelfth of Never”. During the next five years, he had thirteen more top-40 hits among them “A Certain Smile”, “Misty” and “Gina”. Mathis had a wonderful voice and a smooth pop style. In 1958 he came out with the album Johnny’s Greatest Hits which stayed on the Billboard magazine album charts for an amazing 490 weeks.
Today he is a very young 84 years old and still performing.