Still Great, Johnny Mathis Performs Again


December 17, 2015

By Steven Lieberman

Observer Reporter

Something magical unfolded on Friday at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. It was the legendary Johnny Mathis making a stop on his Christmas concert tour and spreading holiday cheer with Yuletide tunes and his classic hits, which included “Chances Are” and “It’s Not for Me to Say.”

Grammy Hall of Famer and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Mathis, 80 years old, did not disappoint. His voice was still golden and his stage presence pleasing. It seemed as if he discovered the fountain of youth.

Some people are blessed and he is one of them.

It also helped that he had a solid 33-piece orchestra backing him. He recognized his band multiple times throughout the show and presented the audience with an un-plugged segment of the show with his guitarist of 45 years.

Kudos also go out to the set designer who created a stage and holiday atmosphere with lighted Christmas trees and wreaths.

Mathis, who never tires of singing, has sold millions of albums, recording 80 originals, including six Christmas albums, the latest being “The Complete Christmas Collection: 1958-2010,” and before that it was “Sending You A Little Christmas” from last year, for which he received his fifth Grammy nomination (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album).

Next year he’ll celebrate 60 years as a recording artist and it’ll be 57 years with Columbia Records— he’s Columbia’s longest-running artist, and a Columbia compilation boxed set is in the works.

Mathis does four or five concerts a year and loves Christmas music. The reason he started to record Christmas music was because of his mom and dad, they made it so special.

He sang with all the choirs in school, and always went into the department stores during Christmastime and sang for people who were shopping. He learned a lot of songs, sometimes sung in different languages; his teacher would tell me to learn this song in French and German.

“Over the years that really kind of opened up a nice window for me...I sing a lot of them,” Mathis said. “Each one of the little lovely songs reminds me of when you’re pressing your face against the window looking into the Christmas displays. I’ve never gotten over that.”

When asked to put his career in perspective, he had this to say.

“I have to kind of chuckle when I think about the process that I’ve gone through from the time I was a little kid. People would say, ‘You’ll do this and get involved in this, don’t get discouraged.’ That was all well and good, but I often wondered if what I did, vocally, was going to mean anything to anyone. I still think that.”

I know I speak for all of his adoring fans when I say that what he’s done and accomplished in his musical career has meant the world to us all.

For information about upcoming concerts at CCPA, go to:


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2023

Rendered 03/26/2023 23:47