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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Johnny Mathis: Now and Then

If Elvis Presley was the king of rock ‘n roll, Johnny Mathis is the king of popular romantic music. He joins us this week for music and conversation.

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  • Mathis Let It Be Me

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    Photo: CD cover art

    Mathis' new CD features the singer's take on a variety of country-pop songs and has been nominated for a Grammy.

  • Johnny Mathis personal collection

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    Photo: CD cover art

    The 1993 box-set JOHNNY MATHIS: A PERSONAL COLLECTION offers a wide survey of Mathis' career.

  • Johnny Mathis

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    Photo: Wikimedia

    Chances are you've heard this man: Johnny Mathis.

If Elvis Presley was the king of rock ‘n roll, Johnny Mathis is the king of popular romantic music. Since his debut in the mid-1950s he’s made more than 100 albums and sold hundreds of millions of records around the world, becoming a prominent voice on many people’s personal soundtracks.

Although soft, romantic ballads are his forte, along the way Mathis has recorded a wide variety of songs. This week on Afterglow I talk with the singer about his recent CD Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville and some of his classic recordings as well. You’ll hear how he came to record “Misty,” nearly toured with a legendary jazz artist when he was 13, spent a giddy afternoon with Cole Porter, and much more.

Watch Johnny Mathis perform in the 1958 movie A Certain Smile:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3BZomaJUVY

Music Heard On This Episode

Stairway to the Stars
Johnny Mathis — I'll Buy You a Star/Live It Up (Collectors' Choice, 1961)
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Stairway to the Stars
Johnny Mathis — I'll Buy You a Star/Live It Up (Collectors' Choice, 1961)
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You Don't Know Me
Johnny Mathis — Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville (Columbia, 2010)
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Shenandoah
Johnny Mathis — Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville (Columbia, 2010)
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What a Wonderful World
Johnny Mathis — Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville (Columbia, 2010)
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What'll I Do
Johnny Mathis — Warm/Swing Softly (Sony, 1957)
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A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening (midpoint music bed)
Johnny Mathis — Heavenly (Sony Special Markets, 1959)
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Misty
Johnny Mathis — Heavenly (Sony Special Markets, 1959)
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Wonderful, Wonderful
Johnny Mathis — Johnny Mathis: a Personal Collection (Sony, 1956)
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All Through the Night
Johnny Mathis — Johnny Mathis: a Personal Collection (Sony, 1957)
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Yellow Roses On Her Gown
Johnny Mathis — Johnny Mathis: a Personal Collection (Sony, 1976)
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Kol Nidre
Johnny Mathis — Good Night Dear Lord (Columbia, 1958)
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Chances Are
Johnny Mathis — Johnny Mathis: a Personal Collection (Sony, 1957)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • http://www.libbyyork.com York

    Johnny Mathis has always been a real inspiration! What an artist!

  • Jerri Kestner

    Enjoyed your site, thanks. The music of my life, the one, the only, my Beloved Johnny Mathis.

  • Carol

    Have loved Johnny Mathis and his music since I first saw him in the UK in 1961,
    Really enjoyed this interview and the wide selection of music. Thankyou.

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