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What are some facts about Johnny Mathis?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, American singer Johnny Mathis is one of the best selling artists of all time, with more than 350 million records sold worldwide. Mathis has had a hit record in every decade since his first number one single, “Chances Are,” in 1957.

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Full Answer

Mathis, who went to San Francisco State University on an athletic scholarship, was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic team in 1956 after setting a high jump record. At the same time, he was recording music and performing in a nightclub, and when Columbia Records invited him to a recording session in New York City, he gave up athletics to pursue a career in music.

Mathis recorded two of his most popular songs, "Wonderful! Wonderful!" and "It's Not For Me To Say,” in 1956, and became an international superstar after his 1957 appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” His 1958 album, “Johnny’s Greatest Hits,” spent an unprecedented nine and a half years on the Billboard top 100 albums charts.

In 1972, Mathis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2003, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Mathis shares a distinction with Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow of having five albums on the Billboard charts at the same time. In 1982, Mathis published a cookbook called “Cooking for You Alone.”

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