The father of songwriter, music publisher John Mathis Jr. passed away at his home on September 27th, 2011. ‘Country’ Johnny Mathis, not to be confused with the pop singer of the same name, 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 50’s, 60’s and 70’s 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 50’s.
As a songwriter, Country Johnny Mathis has had songs recorded by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Paycheck, Charlie 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 his 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 Louderdale, Kenny and Amanda Smith Band and Brad Davis.
Country Johnny Mathis spent most of his time during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s 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.