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Wonderful, Wonderful: Johnny Mathis’ “Complete Global Albums” Box Coming From Legacy

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Mathis - Global Box Set

Chances are, Johnny Mathis fans are going to be counting down until November 17.

On that date, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will release The Complete Global Albums Collection, a first-of-its-kind set compiling the entire recorded output of Mathis during his Mercury Records period. A Columbia artist since 1956, Mathis departed his label home just once – recording some eleven albums (ten of which were released) under the imprimatur of his own Global Records production company between 1963 and 1967, at which time he returned to Columbia. Legacy’s new clamshell-design box set collects all eleven LPs plus two discs of singles and previously unissued rarities, plus a booklet containing album-by-album notes from Mathis.

The Complete Global Albums Collection features these ten LPs originally released on Global/Mercury, all remastered and in mini-LP jacket replicas:

  • The Sounds of Christmas (1963) – first-time reissue on CD in its original, unaltered form
  • Tender is the Night (1964)
  • The Wonderful World of Make-Believe (1964)
  • This Is Love (1964)
  • Olé (1965)
  • Love Is Everything (1965)
  • The Sweetheart Tree (1965, also contains all unique tracks from international edition, Away From Home, for first time on CD)
  • The Shadow of Your Smile (1966)
  • So Nice (1966)
  • Johnny Mathis Sings (1967)

The box then adds:

  • Broadway (a “lost” album largely consisting entirely of previously unreleased covers of classic Broadway showtunes, recorded 1964-1965 and first released in 2012 by Real Gone Music as part of Real Gone’s landmark series of first-time Global reissues); and
  • The Global Singles and Unreleased (2 CDs and 28 tracks: non-album singles and unreleased songs)!

After the jump, we have much, much more on The Complete Global Albums Collection including the track listing and pre-order links!

By 1963, Mathis had notched some eighteen Top 40 hits for Columbia and over fifteen albums that emphasized his romantic side. After a jazz-leaning debut in 1956, the label steered the young singer towards lush balladry, with productions and arrangements from Percy Faith, Ray Conniff, Nelson Riddle, Glenn Osser, Don Costa and Ralph Burns. He even returned to a jazz format with 1959’s Open Fire, Two Guitars, backed just by the guitars of Al Caiola and Tony Mottola plus an upright bass played by Frank Carroll and Milt Hinton. But Mathis’ versatile voice could handle swingers (see the Burns and Riddle sets), too, and he had long displayed an affinity with the wide-ranging material from the Hollywood and Broadway songbooks. At Mercury, he tackled both classics and contemporary songs. Moreover, he made the crucial decision to self-produce.

“All of a sudden,” Mathis notes in his new introduction, written especially for the box set, “I was in charge of my own decisions in the studio, and I didn’t have someone to guide me on what I was doing, right or wrong… I wasn’t a producer, and I didn’t realize until then how important producers were and how much they assisted me in my work. I tried to do what I could, but I had no idea what would be good for the market.”

After heralding his new label association with (what else?) a Christmas album, Mathis began his tenure in earnest with Tender is the Night. He teamed once again with Don Costa, perhaps best-known for his long association with Frank Sinatra. Film songs (“April Love” from the movie of the same name, “Call Me Irresponsible” from Papa’s Delicate Condition, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Walt Disney’s Cinderella) joined Broadway showtunes (“Somewhere” from West Side Story, “Where is Love” from Oliver!) on this resplendent collection. Tender is the Night was Mathis’ 23rd consecutive charting album, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard chart. Arranged and supervised by Allyn Ferguson, and conducted by Jack Feierman, The Wonderful World of Make-Believe followed its predecessor’s basic blueprint. The Disney catalogue was tapped again for “Alice in Wonderland” from the 1951 animated film, and the Academy Award-winning “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio. From the stage came Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Camelot,” then just a few years old, and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” from Harry Carroll and Joseph McCarthy’s 1918 musical Oh, Look!. Mathis even gave Bobby Darin a run for his money with a winning rendition of the Charles Trenet-penned “Beyond the Sea.”

An all-Broadway album must have seemed a natural, but 1965’s Broadway was ultimately shelved. Two songs from the album belatedly appeared on Legacy’s 1997 The Global Masters compilation of 24 Mercury tracks, but the completed album premiered in 2012 from Real Gone Music, adding Broadway staples spanning the decades, such as Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly!” and Rodgers and Hart’s “Manhattan”). This is Love and Olé, both collaborations with Allyn Ferguson, followed. The latter was, in particular, a great departure for Mathis. On it, he performed a number of Latin American songs in their original language. These weren’t just much-covered songs from the bossa nova boom (although Mathis did record “Manha de Carneval”) but also light classical pieces from the likes of Heitor Villa-Lobos and even Desi Arnaz’ signature “Babalu.”

For 1965’s Love Is Everything, Mathis reunited with his frequent Columbia collaborator, arranger Glenn Osser. Although Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Go Away, Little Girl” appears on the set, it’s generally drawn from the same well of Broadway and Hollywood tunes, including Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin’s “Long Ago and Far Away” (from the 1944 film Cover Girl) and Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s “People” from 1964’s Funny Girl. The Sweetheart Tree (1965) is titled after Henry Mancini’s theme from The Great Race, and its follow-up The Shadow of Your Smile (1966) took its title cue from the Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster song from The Sandpiper. The former largely saw Mathis wrapping his velvety vocals around familiar standards, while the latter took a more contemporary bent with two Beatles tunes, three songs from Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s Broadway musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, “A Taste of Honey” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado.” (The Sweetheart Tree was issued in the U.K. with a rejiggered track line-up including some additional songs, all of which are included here.)

So Nice (which hit No. 50 on the charts in 1966) took its title from Marcos Valle’s bossa nova ballad, and Mathis drew other songs from musicals (three songs from the then-current smash Man of La Mancha) and the pop charts (Bacharach and David’s “What the World Needs Now is Love,” Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”) Johnny Mathis Sings (which reached No. 103) was even more diverse, with more Bacharach and David (“Always Something There to Remind Me,” “Saturday Sunshine”) joined by Lennon and McCartney (“Eleanor Rigby”) and Bobby Hebb (“Sunny”). Mathis also tackled contemporary film and theatre songs on his tenth and final set for Mercury Records.

The popular singer may have been disappointed that, despite his fine work at Mercury, only the 1966 LP The Shadow of Your Smile hit the Top 10. In 1967, he returned to his old stomping grounds at Columbia, and he’s remained with the label to the present day. Columbia steered him towards so-called “middle of the road” covers of popular songs, to great success, but he scored an impressive No. 1 duet with Deniece Williams in 1977, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.” Mathis – as comfortable with R&B as with the Great American Songbook – also embarked on adventurous collaborations with Thom Bell of Spinners and Stylistics fame, and even disco legends CHIC, on an album that still remains unreleased except for a few songs. He’s still a prolific recording and touring artist today, with no signs of slowing down.

This chronicle of arguably the least well-known period of Johnny Mathis’ career – albeit one filled with rich music – arrives from Columbia and Legacy on November 17. You can pre-order at the links below!

Johnny Mathis, The Complete Global Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy 88843 09143 2, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Disc 1: Sounds of Christmas

  1. The Sounds of Christmas
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  3. A Marshmallow World
  4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  5. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  6. The Little Drummer Boy
  7. Have Reindeer, Will Travel
  8. The Secret of Christmas
  9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  10. Carol of the Bells
  11. Christmas is a Feeling in Your Heart
  12. Hallelujah Chorus

Disc 2: Tender is the Night

  1. Tender is the Night
  2. Laura
  3. No Strings
  4. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
  5. April Love
  6. Call Me Irresponsible
  7. A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
  8. A Ship Without a Sail
  9. Forget Me Not
  10. Where is Love?
  11. Somewhere
  12. Tomorrow Song

Disc 3: The Wonderful World Of Make Believe

  1. Camelot
  2. I’m Always Chasing Rainbows
  3. House of Flowers
  4. Beyond the Sea
  5. Sky Full of Rainbows
  6. Sands of Time
  7. Shangri-La
  8. Alice in Wonderland
  9. Dream, Dream, Dream
  10. The World of Make-Believe
  11. When You Wish Upon a Star
  12. Beyond the Blue Horizon

Disc 4: This is Love

  1. Put on a Happy Face
  2. Poinciana
  3. The Touch of Your Lips
  4. Just Move Along, Meadow Lark
  5. Under a Blanket of Blue
  6. Over the Weekend
  7. More (from Mondo Cane)
  8. You Love Me (From Tovarich)
  9. Limehouse Blues
  10. What Do You Feel in Your Heart
  11. The End of a Love Affair
  12. Fantastic

Disc 5: Olé

  1. Granada
  2. Without You (Tres Palabras)
  3. Medley: Genrique/Felicidade
  4. Manhã de Carnaval (Morning of the Carnival)
  5. Samba de Orfeu
  6. La Montaña
  7. Babalu
  8. Serenata
  9. Bachianas Brasileiras, Pt. 1-3

Disc 6: Love is Everything

  1. Never Let Me Go
  2. People
  3. A Thousand Blue Bubbles
  4. Love is Everything
  5. Young and Foolish
  6. An Affair to Remember
  7. Come Ride the Wind with Me
  8. Go Away Little Girl
  9. Dancing in the Dark
  10. Long Ago (and Far Away)
  11. This is All I Ask
  12. One More Mountain

Disc 7: The Sweetheart Tree

  1. A Wonderful Day Like Today
  2. Arrivederci Roma
  3. Clopin Clopant
  4. This is Love
  5. I’ll Close My Eyes
  6. The Very Thought of You
  7. Danny Boy
  8. The Sweetheart Tree
  9. Symphony
  10. The Skye Boat Song
  11. Autumn Leaves
  12. Mirage
  13. Try a Little Tenderness *
  14. If Love Were All *
  15. If I Had You *

* bonus tracks from Away from Home

Disc 8: The Shadow of Your Smile

  1. Moment to Moment
  2. The Shadow of Your Smile
  3. Michelle
  4. Yesterday
  5. Something’s Coming
  6. A Taste of Honey
  7. I’m in Love for the Very First Time
  8. Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)
  9. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
  10. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
  11. Melinda
  12. Come Back to Me

Disc 9: So Nice

  1. The Impossible Dream (The Quest)
  2. I Will Wait for You
  3. What the World Needs Now is Love
  4. Hurry! It’s Lovely Up Here
  5. Elusive Butterfly
  6. So Nice (Samba de Verao)
  7. Dulcinea
  8. What Now My Love
  9. Man of La Mancha
  10. The Music That Makes Me Dance
  11. I Dream of You
  12. Baubles, Bangles & Beads

Disc 10: Johnny Mathis Sings

  1. Saturday Sunshine
  2. Lovers in New York
  3. Eleanor Rigby
  4. Sunny
  5. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)
  6. Strangers in the Night
  7. (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
  8. Somewhere My Love
  9. Who Can Say
  10. I Wish You Love
  11. The Second Time Around
  12. Wake the Town and Tell the People

Disc 11: Broadway (unreleased album, first issued on Real Gone Music)

  1. Ain’t It De Truth
  2. Get Out of Town
  3. Independent
  4. Hello, Dolly!
  5. Manhattan
  6. Once in a Lifetime
  7. You’d Better Love Me
  8. Don’t Rain on My Parade
  9. Of Thee I Sing
  10. When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love
  11. Ridin’ High
  12. She Loves Me

Discs 12-13: The Global Singles and Unreleased

  1. Bye Bye Barbara
  2. No More
  3. The Fall of Love
  4. Funny Little Girl *
  5. A Great Night for Crying
  6. The Taste of Tears
  7. White Roses from a Blue Valentine
  8. All I Wanted (Mono) *
  9. Listen Lonely Girl (Mono)
  10. While Stephanie Sleeps *
  11. That Awkward Age *
  12. Two Tickets to a Candy Heart (Mono)
  13. Reserved for Lovers (Mono)
  14. Unbelievable *
  15. Keep It Simple *
  1. Blowin’ in the Wind
  2. Lover *
  3. But Beautiful *
  4. Shall We Dance *
  5. Some People *
  6. Take the Time
  7. The Slender Thread *
  8. Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
  9. The Glass Mountain
  10. After the Storm
  11. Portrait of My Love *
  12. Bluesette *
  13. The Jimmy Brown Song (The Three Bells) (Rehearsal) *

* previously unreleased

Written by Joe Marchese

September 15, 2014 at 16:07

5 Responses

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  1. Very exciting news for us Mathis fans especially the final two discs where almost all the tracks have never been released on CD or at all. My only disappointment is that this set is not the “complete” Mathis output for Global as released by Mercury Records. There are 3 additional tracks originally released as singles including “Dianacita” and 3 tracks recorded with The Young Americans (What’s New At The Zoo/Clap Yo Hands/Chim Chim Cheree.) This would have been a perfect release with these 6 additional tracks. Here’s hoping that Sony will schedule all the Columbia recordings for a box set to honour Mr Mathis on his 80th birthday in 2015.

    Paul Tassone

    September 15, 2014 at 19:26

  2. The three missing singles from this collection are “Dianacita” (Mercury 72432 B side to “Take The Time” included on this collection), “Your Teenage Dreams” and “Come Back” (A & B sides of Mercury 72184). “Your Teenage Dreams” was a minor hit for Mathis in 1963.

    Paul Tassone

    September 15, 2014 at 20:28

  3. Aside from The Sounds of Christmas and the unreleased material, how is this different from the the Real Gone releases of these albums last year? Are they newly remastered or the same remasters used previously? Why does the recording of Laura sound better on the 2 CD compilation released years ago over the Real Gone remastered version? Also where is a box set of his 70’s albums?


    September 23, 2014 at 05:18

  4. What about the 12th unreleased song from the “Ole'” Album…Another missing Single ” The Impossible Dream” (re-recorded version) released in the UK at the time… Maybe “Most Of All There’s You” from “The Biggest Bundle Of Them All” Soundtrack Album belongs in this collection…

    Jack DeLuca Gross

    September 26, 2014 at 15:50

  5. all of these people are right .those songs should have been released .the other columbia albums from the 70s and 80s should be released ..those albums are available from astonia via ebay and they are not very good reproductions but they are available. i don’t pretend to understand sony as these cds are selling like mad. keep in mind that john has sold over 370 000 000 records

    dr. paul kaufman

    October 24, 2014 at 11:43

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