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.
Johnny Mathis was born John Royce Mathis on September 30, 1935. He started singing at a young age. He sang at churches, schools, and games while he was in school. He received voice lessons for six years. Mathis was an athlete. He played basketball as well as track and field. He didn’t want to be a singer at first. He wanted to be a teacher. Helen Noga discovered him while he was singing in a nightclub. She wanted to manage his singing career. She wanted a record producer named George Avakian to hear Mathis sing. Avakian was a producer at Columbia Records. After Avakian heard Mathis sing, he signed him to the record label. He wanted to work on his first album with him.
Mathis went back to his schoolwork and was invited to be at the 1956 Olympic trials. Avakian wanted him to start recording his first album. Mathis had to decide whether or not to compete in the Olympics or record his first album. 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.”
He released Swing Softly in 1958. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 charts. This album was a break from his romantic ballads. It features up-tempo cover songs. The album also has two original songs. It features the singles “This Heart of Mine,” “Like Someone in Love,” “Sweet Lorraine” and “Can’t Get Out of This Mood.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. For the next several years, Mathis continued to release successful cover albums and Christmas albums. In 1961, Mathis released I’ll Buy You a Star. The album peaked at number 38 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features original songs and cover songs. It features the singles “The Best Is Yet to Come,” “Smile,” “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” and “Stairway to the Stars.”
He released Live It Up in 1961. The album peaked at number 14 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Just Friends,” “Live It Up,” “ The Riviera” and “Why Not.” Mathis released Rapture in 1962. The album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “My Darling, My Darling,” “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Stella By Starlight” and “Moments Like This.” He released two more albums at Columbia Records. He released his first album at Mercury Records in 1963. His first album with the label was a Christmas album. Tender Is the Night was released in 1964. The album peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Laura,” “Tender Is the Night” and “April Love.”
This Is Love was released in 1964 the year the Beatles arrived in America. It peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “The Touch of Your Lips,” “Under a Blanket of Blue” and “Over the Weekend.” Mathis released several more standard albums. Mathis left Mercury Records and went back Columbia Records. Up, Up and Away was released in 1967. The album peaked at number 60 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 19 on the r&b charts. It features the singles “Up, Up and Away,” “The More I See You,” “Morning Side of the Mountain” and “Misty Roses.”
Love is Blue came out in 1968. It spent 40 weeks on the charts. It peaked at number 26 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 44 on the r&b charts. It features the singles “I Say a Little Prayer,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Never My Love” and “Walk On By.” Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head came out in 1970. The album peaked at number 38 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “Odds and Ends,” “Watch What Happens,” “Alfie” and “A Man and a Woman.” Throughout the rest of his career, he would go on to record several duet, compilation and Christmas albums.
Johnny Mathis has had a very long career. He recorded so many albums that there were too many to list here. He is the voice of romance and has pleased fans with his work. He managed to become famous without sticking to one genre of music. He was able to have hits in different genres of music. This list was difficult to compile because he has over 200 singles. Narrowing it down to 10 songs was a challenge. This Top 10 Johnny Mathis Top 10 Songs list will feature his best songs.
# 10 – A Certain Smile
The first song on our Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs list is “A Certain Smile” from his greatest hits album More Johnny’s Greatest Hits and from the soundtrack A Certain Smile. It has a pop sound to it. This beautiful song is a love song for the movie. The music has an orchestral buildup that is breathtaking. The string section is phenomenal and gives the song a classical feel to it. The soft piano makes the song sound romantic. The melody compliments the song.
The music was suitable for the time it was released. The melody is similar to something Nat King Cole would have performed. Johnny Mathis’ voice is smooth like butter. His vocals are soothing to match the calming music. He doesn’t perform any high notes, but they weren’t needed for the song. He did everything he needed to do to make the song sound perfect. The song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song and it’s easy to see why that happened. This captivating song should have won the award instead of just being nominated.
# 9 – The Twelfth of Never
The next song on our Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs list is “The Twelfth of Never” from the Johnny’s Greatest Hits album. It has a pop sound. This killer ballad is about loving someone forever. The title lets you know how long he plans on loving the person in his life. He will never stop loving the person he loves. The lyrics are so romantic and smooth. They are sure to sweep someone off of their feet. They would cry tears of joy listening to the romantic lyrics. Here is some trivia about the song. Mathis wasn’t thrilled with this song despite the fact that it was a success for the hitmaker. He thought the song wasn’t original.
He wanted to do something risqué and felt the song was too safe. Luckily he decided to record the song because it was a hit for him. The music will send chills up and down your spine. It’s starts off softly and gives you a chance to focus on Mathis’ velvety voice. The music has an orchestral swell, which gives the song a classical feel. It’s classic music meets pop music. He sounds different on this song. He tries vocal gymnastics. He goes up and down in the song. His diction is perfect throughout the track. He does runs at the end of each lyric that sound incredible. It’s hard to believe he didn’t like the song because he nails it.
# 8 – It’s Not for Me to Say
The poetic song is from the Wonderful, Wonderful album. It has a pop beat to it. The compromising song is about meeting someone halfway in a relationship. He believes that people should see things from the other person’s viewpoint. The lyrics are soulful and tender. It’s easy to get hooked on the song as soon as you hear the pounding piano chords. The piano gives the song a jazz feel. The song is mostly the piano. It’s perfect for slow dancing or when you just want to relax.
You can get hypnotized listening to the instrumental pause in the song. The melody is similar to his massive hit “Chances Are.” Mathis croons soulfully throughout the song. His vocals are out of this world. He sings in a slightly higher key than his other songs. He sings the song softly and it works with the music. You can hear the passion in his voice as he sings each lyric. There aren’t enough compliments to describe how remarkable he sounds on this track. It’s no surprise the song was a hit for the singer.
# 7 – When Sunny Gets Blue
The heartbreaking song is from the Wonderful, Wonderful album. It has a jazz and pop sound. This is a tearjerker about a woman’s broken heart. She used to be happy and then her heart was broken once her relationship ended. The lyrics will make you feel emotional while you hear them. It’s relatable if you have dealt with a broken heart. The song is perfect to listen to in order to feel better. The lyrics are sad, but the music is uplifting. It keeps it from being depressing.
The string section isn’t to be missed. The piano is soothing and will put you in a relaxing mood. His vocals are silky and smooth. He takes risks by singing in a higher octave. He proved why he was one of the Kings of Romance in this song. He managed to turn a sad song into a romantic one. He sounds so passionate and his pristine vocals are outstanding. He shows so much control while he’s singing. He is commanding his listeners to notice his smooth and breezy vocals.
# 6 – Wonderful, Wonderful
The sensual song is from the album of the same name. It has a jazz sound to it. The sultry song is about being with the person he loves. He describes his relationship in detail in the lyrics. The music starts softly and then soars towards the second verse. The arrangement is powerful. The orchestral swell gives the song its jazzy edge. It sounds like it belongs in a musical on Broadway. The song is a classic, but can still be appreciated now.
The song is so popular that it appeared on different television shows. There’s no mistaking Mathis’ silky voice. His crooning will leave you breathless. He has a magical voice and proves he can sing the alphabet and make it sound smooth. He belts as the music gets louder and turns the song into a big ballad. As the true professional singer he is, he never misses a beat while he’s belting throughout the song. This song showcases just how “wonderful” his vocal instrument truly is.
# 5 – Without Us ft. Deniece Williams
The first duet on our Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs list is “Without Us” from the That’s What Friends Are For album. The song has a pop sound. The romantic song is about a couple wondering how they got along without the other one before they got together. Most of Johnny Mathis’ fans know this song gained more popularity when it was used as the theme song for the hit series Family Ties. It wasn’t just a theme song for the comedy. It was an actual love song from their album.
The song is now closely linked to the show so it’s easy to forget that it’s a song about a couple being in love. This is one of the many songs Mathis and Williams recorded together. They have a lot of musical chemistry with each other. They sound like they are singing the song to each other. Their voices compliment each other. They are another version of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. She sings the song in a high key and he sings it in a lower key. The choices they made work for the song. If you love the snippet that’s played for the comedy, you’ll love the full-length song. They both win the vocal battle with the song.
# 4 – Misty
The emotional song is from the Heavenly album. The song has a jazz beat to it. The romantic song is about getting emotional over a person he loves. The lyrics are sentimental and touching. The song is perfect for people who aren’t sure how they feel about someone in their lives. The instrumentation is outstanding. It mixes classical with jazz music. The arrangement is stellar and is perfect for his tone of voice. The song may have come out a long time ago, but the music is still breathtaking today.
The music is mesmerizing. Mathis was making music with his voice. At one point, it was hard to distinguish his voice from the music. This is a testament on how great his voice is. His smooth and emotional vocals really sell the song. He sounds exquisite as he enunciates each lyric. His phrasing is stellar. He performs little runs in the song and they were a great touch. This is one of his signature songs and he does an excellent job with it.
# 3 – Chances Are
The dramatic song is from the Johnny’s Greatest Hits album. The song has a pop sound. This is Mathis’ first number one song. It’s one of his signature songs. This is a dreamy song about the chances of a couple getting together. The music is captivating and will grab your attention the second you hear the first piano note. The piano intro is fantastic and gets song off to a great start. It sets the tone for the rest of the track. This is a terrific song with flawless arrangement.
The melody sounds heavenly and matches his angelic vocals. Mathis’ vocals are absolutely superb and flawless. His vocals are tender and sweet. He sings in a higher octave than his other songs. The change in his voice works with the tender music. His vocals are just as smooth as the music. There’s no way to imagine anyone else singing the song. The song is tailor made for Mathis. It’s no surprise this song is one of his biggest hits. Chances are you may have thought this was going to be number one on our list (pun intended). It was hard to decide which song would get the top spot on our list.
# 2 – Friends in Love ft. Johnny Mathis
The loving song is from the album of the same name. It’s a song from Dionne Warwick’s album. It has an r&b, pop and adult contemporary sound. The romantic song is self-explanatory. This is a song about friends becoming lovers. The song is relatable to anyone who has feelings for a friend. This is the second duet to appear on the list. The song grabs you as soon as you hear the catchy music. The type of music used for the song is a departure from Mathis’ songs. The guitar riffs give the song a slight rock edge that wasn’t included in his songs.
It doesn’t have the classical sound like his other songs. The guitar section gives Mathis and Warwick a chance to belt so they can be heard. They sound great together. Their vocals are superb. This song was a change for both artists and they were able to adapt to the change. They turn the song into a power ballad towards the end of it. They both won the vocal challenge. It’s hard to believe this song wasn’t number one on the Billboard 200 charts. This song is flawless and could have been number one on our list, but another duet won the coin toss.
# 1 – Too Much, Too Little, Too Late ft. Deniece Williams
The number one song on our Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs list is “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” from the You Light Up My Life album. It has a soul, r&b and soft rock beat to it. The bittersweet song is about a couple breaking up. They tried everything, but the relationship no longer works. This is the third duet on our list. It’s also the second duet to feature Deniece Williams. The song was a comeback track for Mathis and it’s the second biggest hit of Williams’ career. They work well together and it’s easy to see why it was a big hit for the duo.
The music is absolutely perfect. The somber music is perfect for the theme. It’s heartbreaking and it was just what was needed considering it’s a song about the end of a relationship. Everything about this song works from the amazing singing to the memorable hook. The song is definitely an earworm and will stay in your head long after it’s done. Mathis and Williams voices are fire. They hold notes after the bridge and towards the end of the song. They definitely saved the best for last and so did we by choosing to pick this song as the number one song on our list.
Top 10 Top 10 Johnny Mathis Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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