Written by M Fisher and J Segal
John Royce "Johnny" 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. Johnny Mathis has sold over 350 million records worldwide, as confirmed by Guinness Music charts historian Paul Gambacini.
Johnny Mathis was spotted at a jam session by Helen Noga, the former head cocktail waitress and co-owner of the Black Hawk Club in San Francisco and The DownBeat Club, along with her husband John and Guido Caccienti. She became his musical manager. The clubs attracted the world's finest jazz musicians, including Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday. John Noga and Guido Caccienti had opened the Black Hawk in the fall of 1949. In September 1955, after Noga had found Mathis a job singing weekends at Ann Dee's 440 Club, she contacted the jazz producer George Avakian, who she had found out was on vacation near San Francisco. Avakian came to listen to Mathis sing, and after doing so, he sent a telegram to Columbia Records stating: Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.
He has had five of his albums on the Billboard charts simultaneously, an achievement equaled by only two other singers: Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. He has released 200 singles and had 71 songs charted around the world. Recordings historian Paul Gambaccini confims Mathis's recordings have sold well over 350 million copies worldwide, and he is the third most successful recording artist in the US. This makes Johnny Mathis the third biggest selling recording artist of the 20th century, after only Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.