Title - 'Johnny Mathis: The Singles' [4CD]
Artist - Johnny Mathis
This brilliant, well-constructed Johnny Mathis: The Singles 4CD collection brings together, for the first time in one anthology, every Johnny Mathis recording which was first issued for the singles market, as well as tracks released exclusively on compilations: 1958's Johnny's Greatest Hits (considered the first "greatest hits" collection ever created by the music industry), 1959's More Johnny's Greatest Hits and 1981's The First 25 Years - The Silver Anniversary Album.
As we are all aware by now, John Royce "Johnny" Mathis is an American singer of popular music and jazz. 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 to date.
Johnny Mathis has sold well over 350 million records worldwide, according to Guinness Book of World Records writer and charts music historian Paul Gambacini and other sources. This makes Mathis the third biggest selling artist of the 20th century.
This 4-disc set including landmark hits "It's Not For Me to Say," "Chances Are" and "The Twelfth of Never" and more. Also, and importantly, 31 of the 87 tracks are being released on CD for the very first time! OK, basically put, and for those following along at home, this 4-CD box set, released by Columbia Records to celebrate Mathis' 80th birthday, is the ULTIMATE ever coming together or his work that has EVER been compiled!
To go through each and every one of the tracks would take forever, so let me put it to you like this. Sometimes, whilst driving in my car, I have heard a song, such as "Take Good Care of Her" on the radio and thought, "I wonder which album that song is on?", Why? Well, because I liked it and wanted to own it. That song, and many others, have been unavailable for decades except on their original 45's which were extremely difficult to find and usually in dubious condition.
However, now, and at long, some extremely fine songs are available and have been given a fresh digitalized refurbishing by Legacy Recordings. The result is this 4CD, wondrous compilation of all-things Johnny Mathis, Johnny Mathis: The Singles. Something as beautiful as this definitely has to be in your thoughts as an early Christmas gift for that Mathis fan in your life (as we all have one; even if it's probably just ourselves! In truth, there are many, many treasures here on these four discs, such as Johnny's surprising interpretation of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Last Time I Saw Her" or a little known Henry Mancini gem, "Sometimes."
For me, the highlight of all four CD's is an astoundingly poignant offering of Jimmy Webb's masterpiece, "Evie." Some people might balk at the cost of a box set but, for me, having these almost impossible to find recordings by one of the great singers of our time is worth every penny. I'm sure you will also agree once you have purchased it and, one after the other, put all these incredible discs/songs into your CD player, and sat back and listened to them yourselves.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk