‘Country’ Johnny Mathis, not to be confused with the pop singer of the same name, passed away in his home on September 27th, 2011. Mathis was born September 28, 1930 and was known as both a singer and songwriter during his career in Country Music.
Johnny Mathis began his career as a recording artist on the record label StarTalent in 1949. He would go on to record for a number of record labels during the 50s, 60s and 70s including Chess, Columbia, D Records, Mercury, Decca, United Artists, Little Darlin’, Hilltop and Stonegate. As a part of the duet, Jimmy and Johnny, he scored a Top 10 hit in 1953 with the song, “If You Don’t Somebody Else Will” released on Chess Records. Johnny’s highest charting single as a soloist, “Please Talk To My Heart”(Top 15), occurred while recording for United Artists in 1963. He’s appeared on the Louisiana Hayride, Big D Jamboree, The Grand Ole Opry, The Wilburn Brothers Show and TNN’s Nashville Now to name a few. In fact, ‘Country’ Johnny Mathis was a regular performer on the Louisiana Hayride through much of the 50s.
As a songwriter, Country Johnny Mathis has had songs recorded by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Paycheck, Charley Pride, Johnny Horton, Jimmy Dean, George Hamilton IV, Freddy Fender, Webb Pierce, The Whites, Elvis Costello and many, many others. Seven (7) Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees and two (2) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees have recorded his music. Johnny Mathis has been credited with writing over 400 songs. Johnny also fell into the story of many Nashville songwriters of those days as he would often sell his share of rights to songs he had written, most still bare his name. His song accolades further include gold records, Country radio hits and BMI airplay performance awards. There has been a revival of Mathis songs in recent years with cuts by Jim Lauderdale, the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band and Grammy-Award winner Brad Davis.
Country Johnny Mathis spent most of his time during the 70s, 80s and 90s writing and singing Gospel music and spending time with his family. In 1999, Johnny suffered a massive stroke that left him incapacitated. More information regarding Johnny is available at www.CountryJohnnyMathis.com.
Visitation and funeral arrangements are being conducted by Lawrence Brothers Funeral Home of Chapel Hill, TN ( www.lawrencefuneral.net/) Johnny is preceded in death by one granddaughter, Kayla Michelle. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Jeannie Mathis, one daughter, Sherie Craver of Marshall, TX, 3 sons, John Jr, Bill and James, 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
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