Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column -William Price King – Summer Jazz – Roberta Flack Part One.


Welcome to the start of the Summer Jazz Season where we revisit some of the amazing artists featured at the beginning of the music column back in 2015. William Price King will be taking a break from July 5th until September, but we don’t want you to miss out on the music.

The Music Column will now be posted on Tuesday mornings, just after midnight.

The first series for the summer is the fabulous Roberta Flack who has now officially retired from touring, but still delights her fans from time to time with performances.

Roberta Flack – The Early Years.

indexRoberta Flack is a musician and singer best known for her gentle arrangements and performances of Gospel, Soul, Jazz, Pop, R&B and folk music. Some of her most well-known hits include The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Killing Me Softly With His Song and Feel Like Making Love.

Here is one of the most haunting arrangements of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. The folk song was written by Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger in 1957. When they eventually married they would perform the song in folk clubs around Britain and whilst covered by various singers, it would not become a major international hit until recorded by Roberta Flack in 1972. It won Grammy awards for both Record and Song of the Year and it was ranked number one song of the year in 1972

Over her long career Roberta Flack has influenced and opened doors for many other female singers who were empowered by her spirit and talented dedication to outstanding music. She is a member of the Artist Empowerment Coalition which advocates the right of artists to control their creative properties and Roberta also founded The Roberta Flack School of Music in the Bronx in New York City. In partnership with the Hyde Leadership Chart School. The programme provides free music education to underprivileged students.

The Early Years.

Roberta was born in 1937 in Black Mountain, North Carolina to Laron and Irene Flack. Her mother was a church organist and Roberta and her family moved to Arlington, Virginia where she was brought up. She was introduced to outstanding musicians such as Sam Cooke through the family Baptist church. And she was influenced by one of the great Gospel singers of the day, Mahalia Jackson. Here is Mahalia’s powerful version of Amazing Grace.

By age nine Roberta began learning to play the piano. It was clear as she entered her teens that she was a very talented classical pianist and she was accepted into Howard University on a full music scholarship. At only 15 she was one of the youngest ever to enrol and it was here that she became interested in using her voice as another instrument. She changed her major from piano and eventually became the assistant conductor with the university choir. Whilst at Howard, Roberta met Donny Hathaway who would become her singing partner on hits such as Where Is The Love.

The song was written by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter and recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in 1972. It reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and a week each at number one on the Easy Listening and R&B charts. It also won best Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with vocal.

Unfortunately, after graduating and continuing her studies in music, her father Laron died and to help support the family, Roberta took a job teaching music and English in North Carolina. She also taught private music lessons at her home but in the evenings and weekends her own music career began to take off in the Washington D.C hot spots.

At first she employed her wonderful musicality as a pianist and would accompany other singers including an opera singer at The Tivoli Club. During the breaks she would entertain in a back room playing piano, singing blues and folk songs with some of the pop standards of the day. These short performances developed into her own gigs several nights a week at the 1520 Club.

Roberta was still taking voice lessons and her teacher, Frederick Wilkerson told her he thought her future lay in pop music rather than in the classics. She took his advice and changed the content of her performances. Her reputation began to spread and in 1968 her professional career took off with a regular engagement at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant, in Georgetown.

Eventually Roberta was performing three or four shows a day to a very appreciative audience and that audience included some famous and influential artists of the time including Burt Bacharach and Johnny Mathis.

To close this first part of the Roberta Flack here is Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye from the 1969 album First Take released in 1969. The song had been written by Canadian Leonard Cohen and released originally in 1967

Next week we follow the meteoric rise in Roberta Flack’s career in the 70s and 80s.

Buy Roberta Flack’s music : http://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Flack/e/B000APXOJE

Additional Sources
http://www.robertaflack.com/

Photographs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Flack

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

Thank you for tuning in today and I hope you will join us again next Tuesday for the second part of the Roberta Flack series. Thanks Sally and William.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban up to date.


Josh Groban is an extremely talented singer, songwriter and actor, who has wowed audiences around the world with his distinctive baritone voice.

He has been nominated for four Grammy Awards. In 2005 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for ‘You Raise Me Up’. 2009 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for ‘Noel’, which was also nominated for International Album of the Year in 2008 for the Juno Awards. 2016 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for ‘Stages’ and again in 2017 for ‘Stages Live’

In 2017 Josh was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance of an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical in ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812′

Josh Groban has released 7 Studio Albums, 4 Live Albums and 30 singles with over 30 million records sold worldwide. Josh Groban Discography

This week William Price King brings us up to date with the most recent hits and news.

You can catch up with the story and hits so far in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

An active arts education philanthropist and advocate, Groban is a member of Americans for the Arts Artists Committee, on whose behalf he testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior on the value of the arts during Arts Advocacy Day in 2009. In July 2011, Groban established the “Find Your Light Foundation,” which helps enrich the lives of young people through the arts, education, and cultural awareness. It covers a wide array of possibilities, from providing instruments and funding for arts programs in schools to introducing people to the arts and culture around them through the use of technology. He also participated in the “Global Poverty Project” and was appointed by Nelson Mandela as the Official Ambassador for Mandela’s “Project 46664,” a campaign to help raise Global awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

“Le Temps des Cathedrales” (The Time of the Cathedrals) is a song composed for the musical “Notre-Dame de Paris” and Groban performs this piece at Aarhus Musikhus in a concert dedicated to Margrethe II of Denmark. “Notre-Dame de Paris” is a sung-through French and Québécois musical which debuted in 1998 in Paris. It is based upon the novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” by the French novelist Victor Hugo. The music was composed by Riccardo Cocciante (also known as Richard Cocciante) and the lyrics are by Luc Plamondon.

“All I Ask of You,” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” is considered an operatic pop piece. Its lyrics serve as dialogue between the two characters and discuss themes such as commitment and romance. This song is found on Groban’s album “Stages.”

“Symphony” is the first release from Josh’s forthcoming album “Bridges.”

In “Symphony,” the narrator sits in a hotel room, lamenting the fact that his work keeps him away from the object of his affection. Groban co-wrote this song with Toby Gad, who has also written songs for Beyoncé, John Legend, Madonna and others.

Josh Groban will kick off his “Bridges Tour” with Tony Award-winning special guest, actress, singer, and songwriter Idina Menzel. The tour begins October 18th, 2018 in Duluth, Georgia and concludes at Madison Square Garden in New York City November 18th.

Read the reviews and buy the music of Josh Groban US: https://www.amazon.com/Josh-Groban/e/B000APOD76

Read the reviews and buy the music of Josh Groban UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Josh-Groban/e/B000APOD76

Find out more about Josh Groban and ‘Bridges’ tour information: http://www.joshgroban.com/tour

Other sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Groban

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

My thanks to William for another wonderful series and thank you for dropping in today and please tune in again next week for some summer music selected from the previous classical and Contemporary series. At a new time of just passed midnight on Tuesdays.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban- Part Three


Welcome to part three of the Josh Groban story, and William Price King shares more of his chart hits and albums from the first part of the 2000s.  You can catch up with the story and hits so far in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

“Let Me Fall” from the Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam” is another gem from the album “Josh Groban,” and was penned by James Corcoran and Benoît Jutras. The Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun or Sun Circus) is a Canadian entertainment company. It is the largest theatrical producer in the world. Situated in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul on 7 July 1984, by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix. “Quidam” was the ninth stage show produced by the “Cirque du Soleil.”

In 2003, he received the Billboard Music Award for No. 1 Classical Crossover Artist of the Year. Some of Groban’s musical influences have been Radiohead, Steve Perry, Paul Simon, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Freddie Mercury, and Bjork. He cites as vocal influences “anyone who told a story with their songs,” including “Mandy Patinkin, Klaus Nomi, George Hearn, and Luciano Pavarotti.

You Raise Me Up” is from Groban’s second studio album “Closer,” released in 2003. David Foster decided to produce this song after being introduced to it by Frank Petrone of Peermusic, the song’s publisher. He chose Groban to record the song, which was accompanied by the tenor Craig Von Vennik of the Establishment. Groban’s version made it to #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart in early 2004 and remained there for six weeks. This version also peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100, his first single to do so, and was nominated for a 2005 Grammy award. Groban performed the song in a special NASA commemoration for the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. A special surprise performance by Groban, for Oprah Winfrey’s 50th birthday, also gave “You Raise Me Up” massive international prominence.

The song was originally composed as an instrumental piece and titled “Silent Story.” Some have claimed there is a strong resemblance to the traditional Irish tune “Londonderry Air,” to which Løvland has commented: “There are similarities but no plagiarism. When I made “You Raise Me Up” I asked myself – what is the inner essence of Irish music?” Løvland later approached Irish novelist and songwriter Brendan Graham to write the lyrics to his melody, after reading Graham’s novels.

“Remember When It Rained,” written by Groban and Eric Mouquet, is from the album “Closer” and also on the live album “Live at the Greek” (2004). When he plays the piano on this piece, he is outstanding. He performs with a freedom and expression that is engaging, as if the instrument were feeding his emotional core. This is an incredible performance.

Groban said that he believed that this second album was a better reflection of him, and that his audience would be able to get a better idea of his personality from listening to it.
What most people know about me, they know through my music. This time, I’ve tried to open that door as wide as possible. These songs are a giant step closer to who I really am and what my music is all about. Hence the title.”

In the summer of 2004, Groban returned to Interlochen, Great Performances” special on PBS. Also in 2004, Groban performed “Remember When It Rained,” backed by a full orchestra, at the American Music Awards, where he was nominated for Favorite Male Artist in the pop category; he was also nominated for a People’s Choice Award in that year.

Groban earned his first Grammy nomination in 2005 for his single “You Raise Me Up” in the “Best Male pop Vocal Performance category.

“You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)” is the second track and the first single from Groban’s third album, “Awake,” released in November 2006. The song’s music and lyrics were written by Tawgs Salter. The single peaked at #9 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The music video was directed by Meiert Avis. This song was featured in the TV series “The Simpsons,” episode “Lisa the Drama Queen” where Lisa and Juliet sing this piece while on the playground at their school.

Groban’s “Awake” world tour visited 71 cities between February and August 2007, and toured Australia and the Philippines with Lani Misalucha as his special guest in October 2007.

As to his future, Groban was open to a plethora of possibilities. He said, “I am fortunate enough to have had many really big moments in my career. I think the mistake a lot of people in my position make is to always search for the next big thing. I am looking forward to playing some small theaters. I’m looking forward to writing more. I want to delve further into my acting career and explore some of the film and TV opportunities that I haven’t had time for. My outlook is to expect the unexpected. And when the next step comes, I’m prepared to take it.”

“Petit Papa Noël” (literally Little Father Christmas) from Groban’s album “Noël,” is a 1946 song originally recorded by French singer Tino Rossi. Written by Raymond Vincy and Henri Martinet, this song was performed by Rossi in Richard Pottier’s film “Destins.” It is currently the best-selling single of all time in France, with over 5,711,000 units sold. “Noël is Groban’s Christmas and fourth studio album, which was released in October 2007. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album sold 3,699,000 copies in 2007 after its release, making it the overall best-selling album in the US for all of 2007.

Read the reviews and buy the music of Josh Groban US: https://www.amazon.com/Josh-Groban/e/B000APOD76

Read the reviews and buy the music of Josh Groban UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Josh-Groban/e/B000APOD76

Find out more about Josh Groban and tour information: http://www.joshgroban.com/

Other sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Groban

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

Thank you for dropping in today and please tune in again next week for part four of the Josh Groban series.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Aretha Franklin up to date.


Over the last few weeks William Price King has taken us through the early years and career of Aretha Franklin.

From the age of fourteen to the present day Aretha Franklin has been entertaining and delighting audiences with her incredible voice. She has recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history.

She has also won prestigious awards, honorary degrees and Presidential recognition.

You can find the previous posts in the series with hits and honours and awards in this directory.  https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

This legendary artist has been entertaining fans for six decades and today William shares just some of the massive hits from the 70s through to today.

“Amazing Grace” is the third live album that Aretha Franklin recorded. Released on June 1, 1972 by Atlantic Records, it sold over two million copies in the United States alone, earning a double platinum certification. As of 2017, it stands as the biggest selling disc of Franklin’s entire fifty-plus year recording career as well as the highest selling live gospel music album of all time. It won Franklin the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance.

The double album was recorded at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles during January 1972.

Rolling Stone, in a review of the album wrote: “Amazing Grace is more a great Aretha Franklin album than a great gospel album. She plays havoc with the traditional styles but she sings like never before on record. The liberation and abandon she has always implied in her greatest moments are now fully and consistently achieved.”

“Jump To It” is the thirty-first studio album by Aretha Franklin, produced by Luther Vandross and released in the summer of 1982. This disc gave Aretha her tenth #1 R&B album – at the time it was the all-time record. It enjoyed a seven-week run at #1 on Billboard’s R&B albums chart and also reached #23 on Billboard’s main album chart. It was hailed as a comeback album, given that it provided Aretha with her first Gold-certified disc and Top 40 song since “Sparkle” in 1976. The title track, “Jump To It,” was Aretha’s first Pop Top 40 hit since 1976 and her first #1 R&B hit since 1977’s “Break It To Me Gently”. The infectious song was nominated for a Grammy Award. The album itself received an “American Music Award for Best Soul Album.

“Jump To It” was written by Vandross and Marcus Miller and features background vocals performed by Vandross and Cissy Houston. This major hit held the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart for four consecutive weeks.

“Freeway of Love” is a Grammy Award-winning hit song released as the first single from Franklin’s Platinum-certified 1985 album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” It was produced by Narada Michael Walden. It was one of 1985’s biggest hits in the US, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and topping the Hot R&B Singles chart for five weeks. The accompanying promotional music video was filmed entirely in Detroit, Michigan and was one of the most popular videos of the year. In a remixed “rock” version, the song also topped the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

This single became Aretha’s fifteenth Top 10 pop hit in the United States and earned her 12th Grammy Award, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song features a notable contribution from Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Sylvester and Jeanie Tracy provided backup vocals.

“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) is also a Grammy Award-winning number-one song recorded by Aretha Franklin and George Michael as a duet in 1987. It was written by Simon Climie and Dennis Morgan, and produced by Narada Michael Walden. It is Franklin’s biggest hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, spending several weeks at number two.

The song was a one-off project that helped Michael achieve his ambition to sing with one of his favorite artists, and it reached #1 in both the UK Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100. The song was Franklin’s first and only UK number-one hit, and only her fourth top ten achievement in the country since “I Say a Little Prayer,” nearly two decades earlier.

“A Rose is Still a Rose” is Franklin’s thirty-seventh studio album. Released in March, 1998, it resulted in the singer’s most critically acclaimed and best-selling album of the 1990s. It was also Aretha’s first Gold-certified studio album in twelve years and received two Grammy nominations: for “Best R&B Album” and “Best R&B Song” for the title track “A Rose Is Still A Rose”. The single became a success on release, reaching #26 on the Hot 100, the forty-fifth top 40 Pop hit of Franklin’s long career. The album was issued in March 1998, a month behind Franklin’s show stopping Grammy performance. It had robust sales from the start, debuting at #30 on the Billboard 200 and #7 on the R&B chart.

“A Rose is Still a Rose” was written and produced for Aretha Franklin by Lauryn Hill. The song is feminist-based, focused on a motherly figure giving advice to a younger woman who keeps getting into bad relationships. Throughout the song, Franklin advises that in spite of everything and despite the woman’s “scorned and thorn crowns” that the woman is “still a rose.”

“Rolling in the Deep” is a song written by and originally recorded by British singer Adele for her second studio album, “21.”

In 2014, Franklin covered the song on her “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” album. It was released in September 2014 as the collection’s lead single. This version peaked at #1 on the US dance chart, giving Aretha Franklin her sixth number one on the chart. It also debuted at number 47 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Franklin thus becomes the first female, and fourth artist overall to place 100 songs on the charts (with her first entry on the chart being “Today I Sing the Blues” in 1960).

About Adele’s “21” album, Franklin explained:“I absolutely loved her CD. In addition to being a great singer, she’s a great writer, a deep, heavy writer. She doesn’t write the usual or the norm.”

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. This 1967 single was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner Jerry Wexler. As recounted in his autobiography, Wexler, a student of African-American musical culture, had been mulling over the concept of the “natural man,” when he drove by King on the streets of New York. He shouted out to her that he wanted a “natural woman” song for Aretha Franklin’s next album. In thanks, Goffin and King granted Wexler a co-writing credit.

The record was a big hit for Franklin, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and became a standard song for her. Franklin also included a live recording on the album “Aretha in Paris” in 1968. Versions have also been performed and recorded by King herself, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and many others. At the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, Aretha Franklin performed the song to honor award-recipient Carole King.

Buy Aretha Franklin Music: https://www.amazon.com/Aretha-Franklin/e/B000APBG6M

Official website: http://arethafranklin.net/

Additional Information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretha_Franklin

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

 William will be starting a new series on the American Singer, Songwriter, actor and producer Josh Groban shortly… I hope you will tune in.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Aretha Franklin – The Rise to Fame.


Welcome to the second part of the Aretha Franklin story and here is a reminder of this incredible artist’s honours and achievements.

From the age of fourteen to the present day Aretha Franklin has been entertaining and delighting audiences with her incredible voice. She has recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history.

She has also won prestigious awards, honorary degrees and Presidential recognition. Here is just some of the highlights.

  • Twenty Grammy Awards including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best Gospel Performance every year from 1968 to 1975 and further awards in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 2006 and 2009. Aretha Franklin also one three special Grammy Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
  • Three American Music Awards – Favorite Soul/R&B Album “Jump to it” in 1983, Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist in 1984 and 1986.
  • Three NAACP Awards – Hall of Fame in 1997, Vanguard Award in 2008 and Outstanding Album for “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” in 2015.
  • Some of her other honors include Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as the first woman to be inducted in 1987.
  • Kennedy Center Honors in 1994, at the time the youngest recipient.
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 presented by President W. Bush
  • Induction into the Music Hall of Fame in the UK in 2005 only the second woman to be inducted.
  • In 2008, a panel of peers and musical experts convened by Rolling Stone magazine voted Aretha Franklin the greatest singer of all time.
  • Aretha was named “MusiCares Person of the Year” in 2008.
  • Induction into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012
  • In 2014, she was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts from Harvard University for her contributions to music.
  • On June 8, 2017, the City of Detroit honored Franklin’s legacy by renaming a portion of Madison Street, between Brush and Witherell Streets, “Aretha Franklin Way.”

Time to hand over to William Price King who shares the early years of her career and rise to fame in the 1960s.

Aretha Franklin – The Rise to Fame

After turning 18, Franklin confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke to record pop music. Serving as her manager, C. L. agreed to the move and helped to produce a two-song demo that soon was brought to the attention of Columbia Records, who agreed to sign her in 1960.

Franklin was signed as a “five-percent artist.” During this period, Franklin would be coached by choreographer Cholly Atkins to prepare for her pop performances. Before signing with Columbia, Sam Cooke tried to persuade Franklin’s father to have his label, RCA sign Franklin. He had also been courted by local record label owner Berry Gordy to sign Franklin and her elder sister Erma to his Tamla label. Franklin’s father felt the label was not established enough yet.

“Today I Sing the Blues,” written by Curtis Lewis, reached #10 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1960. The song appeared on her 1961 album, “Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo.” The song was produced by John Hammond. Franklin re-recorded the song in 1969 on the album “Soul ‘69 and it reached #101 on the US pop chart. It also charted on the Cash Box Top 100 chart. The composer, Curtis Lewis, subsequently became one of the first black composers and lyricists to own a music publishing company on Broadway in the early 1950s.

Won’t Be Long” is the first song by Aretha Franklin to reach Billboard’s Hot 100. Written by J. Leslie McFarland and produced by John Hammond. “Won’t Be Long” peaked at #7 on the US R&B chart and #76 on Billboard’s Hot 100. This wantonly exuberant and bluesy song appeared on her 1961 album, “Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo.”

Aretha Franklin’s recordings, produced by Clyde Otis, began to display her talent at crossing into diverse genres such as the popular standards, jazz and rhythm and blues. She achieved her first top 40 single with the standard, “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” which also included the R&B hit, “Operation Heartbreak,” on its b-side.This was also to become her first International hit in both Australia and Canada and Aretha Franklin was named a “new-star female vocalist” in “Down Beat” magazine. In 1962, Columbia issued two more albums, “The Electrifying Aretha Franklin” and “The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin,”the latter of which charted number 69 on the Billboard Pop LPs chart.

“Runnin’ Out of Fools,” penned by Kay Rogers and Richard Ahlert, is Franklin’s seventh studio album. It was arranged and conducted by Belford Hendricks, who is primarily remembered as the co-composer of numerous soft-R&B songs of the 1950s. His versatility allowed him to write in various styles, from big band swing for Count Basie, through blues ballads for Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, and country and western songs for Nat King Cole. “Runnin’ Out of Fools” peaked at #57 on Billboard’s Hot 100, staying for a period of 10 weeks.

By the mid 60s, Aretha Franklin was headlining at top nightclubs and theaters with subsequent rise in her earnings. She also appeared on rock ‘n’ roll shows such as “Shindig” but it was felt, including at high levels within the Columbia organisation that her full potential was not being exploited, especially in her early gospel success.

In November 1966, choosing not to renew her Columbia contract after six years with the company, Franklin signed with Atlantic Records.

“I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” is Franklin’s eleventh studio album.
Released on March 10, 1967 by Atlantic Records, It went to number 2 on the Billboard album chart and number 1 on the magazine’s Top R&B Selling chart. It was certified Gold in 1967. It received a number 83 ranking on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and inclusion in both the “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” (2005) and “1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die,” (2008). The album included two top-10 singles: “Respect” was a #1 single on Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop singles chart, and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” peaked at number 9. The album was rated the 10th best album of the 1960s by “Pitchfork.”

“Respect” is a song written and originally released by Otis Redding in 1965. The song became a 1967 hit and signature song for Aretha Franklin. The music in the two versions is significantly different, and through a few changes in the lyrics, the stories told by the songs have a different flavor. Redding’s version is a plea from a desperate man, who will give his woman anything she wants. He won’t care if she does him wrong, as long as he gets his due respect when he brings money home. However, Franklin’s version is a declaration from a strong, confident woman, who knows that she has everything her man wants. She never does him wrong, and demands his “respect.” Franklin’s version adds the “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” chorus and the backup singers’ refrain of “Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…”

Franklin’s cover was a landmark for the feminist movement, and is often considered as one of the best songs of the R&B era, earning her two Grammy Awards in 1968 for “Best Rhythm & Blues Recording” and “Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female”, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2002, the Library of Congress honored Franklin’s version by adding it to the National Recording Registry. It was placed number five on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” It was also included in the list of “Songs of the Century,” by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Franklin included a live recording on the album “Aretha in Paris” 1968.

“Ain’t No Way” is a song written by singer-songwriter Carolyn Franklin, Aretha’s elder sister, as the B-side to her 1968 hit “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone.” Aretha recorded the song and released it on her acclaimed “Lady Soul” album.

The song peaked at #16 on the “Billboard Hot 100 and #9 on the Hot R&B Singles Chart in 1968. Carolyn and members of the Sweet Inspirations performed backing vocals on the track. The Sweet Inspirations’ founder Cissy Houston showcased her operatic like upper range during Franklin’s bridges and the ending of the track.
In 1983, Whitney Houston made her world debut on “Merv Griffin Show Show” singing the tune with mother Cissy Houston.

Christina Aguilera performed the song to great acclaim in a tribute to Aretha during the 53rd Grammy Awards.

Franklin’s chart dominance soon earned her the title “Queen of Soul,” while at the same time she also became a symbol of black empowerment during the civil rights movement of the time. Franklin was enlisted to perform at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during which she paid tribute to her father’s fallen friend with a heartfelt rendition of “Precious Lord.”

Buy Aretha Franklin Music: https://www.amazon.com/Aretha-Franklin/e/B000APBG6M

Official website: http://arethafranklin.net/

Additional Information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretha_Franklin

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

Thank you for dropping in today and look forward to seeing you again next week.. William is working this week but will be back to respond to comments in a few days. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column by William Price King – Aretha Franklin – The Early Years


Welcome to the start of a new series of the Music Column with William Price King.. and before I hand over to William, in case you missed the Drive time Playlist on Friday, here are two performance that I am sure you will enjoy:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/sallys-drive-time-playlist-music-to-get-the-weekend-started-william-price-king-roxanne-and-the-show-must-go-on/

Now time to hand over to William for part one of the Aretha Franklin story.

Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee in March 1942 to Barbara and Clarence Franklin. At the time Clarence Franklin was a travelling preacher and her mother an accomplished pianist and vocalist. The family moved to Buffalo, New York when Aretha was still a toddler and then again two years later when her father took on the pastorship of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Michigan. Unfortunately, despite the prospects of this new permanent position Aretha’s parents separated with her mother returning to Buffalo with her brother Vaughn. Over the next few years Aretha and Barbara would visit each other in New York or Michigan, but sadly just before her tenth birthday her mother died.

This left the upbringing of the children to other members of the family, including her grandmother as her father grew to prominence within the baptist church, travelling to deliver sermons across the country. He was known as the man with the ‘million-dollar voice’ that brought in a substantial and steady income. His celebrity status attracted celebrities such as Martin Luther King and Sam Cooke to the family home.

Aretha had also been busy during this period, learning to play the piano by ear and just after her mother’s death, still only ten years old, she began to sing solos at the New Bethel church with her first solo being “Jesus, Be a Fence Around me”. At age fourteen and with her father now managing her career, she went on the road for his gospel tours across the country, performing as part of the ministry.

With her father’s influence she was signed to her first recording contract with J.V. B Records in 1956 and her first album “Songs of Faith” resulted in two singles “Never Grow Old” and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand’ being released to gospel radio stations.

From the age of fourteen to the present day Aretha Franklin has been entertaining and delighting audiences with her incredible voice. She has recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history.

She has also won prestigious awards, honorary degrees and Presidential recognition. Here is just some of the highlights.

  • Twenty Grammy Awards including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best Gospel Performance every year from 1968 to 1975 and further awards in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 2006 and 2009. Aretha Franklin also one three special Grammy Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
  • Three American Music Awards – Favorite Soul/R&B Album “Jump to it” in 1983, Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist in 1984 and 1986.
  • Three NAACP Awards – Hall of Fame in 1997, Vanguard Award in 2008 and Outstanding Album for “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” in 2015.
  • Some of her other honors include Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as the first woman to be inducted in 1987.
  • Kennedy Center Honors in 1994, at the time the youngest recipient.
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 presented by President W. Bush
  • Induction into the Music Hall of Fame in the UK in 2005 only the second woman to be inducted.
  • In 2008, a panel of peers and musical experts convened by Rolling Stone magazine voted Aretha Franklin the greatest singer of all time.
  • Aretha was named “MusiCares Person of the Year” in 2008.
  • Induction into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012
  • In 2014, she was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts from Harvard University for her contributions to music.
  • On June 8, 2017, the City of Detroit honored Franklin’s legacy by renaming a portion of Madison Street, between Brush and Witherell Streets, “Aretha Franklin Way.”

Something to keep you going until next week when we pick up the story again.

(Sweet Sweet Baby) “Since You’ve Been Gone” was a single released from Aretha Franklin’s “Lady Soul” album in 1968. It peaked at #5 in the Top 100 for five weeks and in the #1 spot for three weeks in the R&B singles chart.

Buy Aretha Franklin Music: https://www.amazon.com/Aretha-Franklin/e/B000APBG6M

Official website: http://arethafranklin.net/

Additional Information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretha_Franklin

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

Thank you for dropping in today and look forward to seeing you again next week.. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist #Music to get the Weekend Started – William Price King.. #Roxanne and The Show Must Go On.


We have a guest arriving for the weekend..the beautiful daughter of friends we made when we lived in Houston. We first met her when she was a few months old on a return visit to Texas… and then as a child and a teenager.. Now a grown woman with a fabulous job in New York, she is in Dublin on business and is staying with us for the weekend.. A lovely treat and only sorry that her parents are now with her too.

And talking of friends… I would like to share a very special person who is on my playlist, who kindly sent me copies of his albums a few years ago.. You know him very well of course and it is William Price King.

Excitingly, with a new musical collaborator, he has just recorded some new videos and a CD which we can look forward to. For the past four years, William has contributed the music posts on a Wednesday.. now the Music Column and has introduced us to the backgrounds of some of the most iconic Jazz, Classical and Contemporary musicians and singers of the last 100 years.

Jazz, Classical and Contemporary: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

In the current series, we have been enjoying the music of the unique Johnny Mathis whose distinctive tones have accompanied us on our own life journey. You will also find series on Bono and Madonna.

The Music Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

Anyway.. I am going to share two of William’s own videos today to remind you of why he is such an amazing artist himself.

I am sure you will enjoy and I know he would love to answer your questions and read your comments.

and another of my favourites.


William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

Thank you for joining us this evening and look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Johnny Mathis up to date.


Welcome to part three of the Johnny Mathis story… Born in Gilmer in East Texas in 1935, Johnny Mathis, with his distinctive voice would become one of the most popular and enduring singers of the last 60 years.

Johnny Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for three separate recordings – in 1998 for “Chances Are”, in 2002 for “Misty”, and in 2008 for “It’s Not for Me to Say.”

On June 21, 2014, Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall Of Fame along with Linda Ronstadt, Shirley Jones, and Nat King Cole (his daughter Natalie Cole accepting the award on his behalf). The awards were presented by the Center for the Performing Arts artistic director Michael Feinstein. Defined on their website, “Conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook, the Hall of Fame honors performers and composers responsible for creating America’s soundtrack.”

He was awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

I will now hand over to William Price King to bring the Johnny Mathis story up to the present day.

The end of the 1970s was a productive and successful period for Johnny Mathis. In 1978, his hit duet “The Last Time I Felt Like This” from the film “Same Time, Next Year” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Mathis and Jane Olivor sang the song at the Academy Awards ceremony, in his second performance at the Oscars.

“Too Much, Too Little, Too late” was penned by songwriters Nat Kipner and John Vallins. Johnny Mathis struck gold when he teamed up with R&B songbird Deniece Williams for this 1978 chart-topper. The song is about a couple who finally realize that there’s no spark left in their relationship and decide to go their separate ways. Mathis and Williams’ voices complement one another nicely on this bittersweet break-up ballad. The duet was born out of Mathis’ desire to take his music in a new direction. The single was a comeback of sorts for Mathis, as it was his first chart-topping hit in the US since 1957’s “Chances Are.” Released as a single in 1978, it reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, Adult Contemporary chart, and R&B chart. Outside the US, the song peaked at # 9 on the Canadian Singles Chart and #3 on the UK Singles Chart and was certified gold and silver in the US and in the UK.

The duo released a follow-up duet, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” peaking at number 47 on the Hot 100. The success of the duets with Williams prompted Mathis to record duets with a variety of partners, including Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Jane Olivor, Stephanie Lawrence, and Nana Mouskouri. A compilation album also called “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” released by Sony Music in 1995, featured the title track among other songs by Mathis and Williams.

“Friends in Love” was released in April 1982 by Columbia Records and included six original songs, two of which were duets with Dionne Warwick. The album made its first appearance on Billboard magazine’s Top LPs & Tapes chart in May, 1982, and remained there for nine weeks, peaking at #147. It also made it to #34 during a seven-week run on the UK album chart that began the following week.

The title track from the album entered the Billboard Hot 100 in April, 1982, and eventually got as high as #38 over the course of 13 weeks. That same issue included its debut on the magazine’s list of the 100 most popular R&B songs in the US, where it also spent 13 weeks and peaked at #22. The next issue, in April 24, marked its first appearance on the

Adult Contemporary chart, and during its 17-week run there it rose to #5.
This was the first Mathis album whose initial release included the compact disc (CD) format.

Mathis continued to release and sell albums throughout the ’90s — his fifth decade of recording for Columbia. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1991 for Best Traditional Pop Performance for the album “In A Sentimental Mood: Mathis Sings Ellington.”

“Unbreak my Heart” is the from 1998 album “Because You Love Me: The Songs of Diane Warren” on which he covers 10 of the songwriter’s hits. This song was also chosen for the compilation of Mathis’ hits on his 2004 album “The Essential Johnny Mathis.” Diane Warren wrote “Un-Break My Heart” in 1995. When asked about her songwriting process, she said that songs usually come to her from a title, a chorus, or a drum beat. “Un-Break My Heart” was conceived from its title, and, according to Warren, “it popped into my head, and I thought, ‘I don’t think I’ve heard that before, that’s kind of interesting. I started playing around on the piano with these chords and did a key change, and then I knew, ‘OK, this is magic.’ Warren further explained that she wrote “Un-Break My Heart” as a ballad and dance song, because that was the way she heard it.

“Over the Rainbow,” the tenth song from the album, “Isn’t It Romantic: The Standards Album,” is a duet with Ray Charles that originally appeared on the late musician’s final release, “Genius Loves Company” in 2004, and won the Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists” for its arranger Victor Vanacore. Mathis received a Grammy nomination for this album in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In an interview that year with National Public Radio’s Ed Gordon, Mathis describes a conversation he had with record company executives: “They said, ‘We want you to sing the most popular songs from the American musical theater that you haven’t sung in the past.”… I sat down and finally came up with a list of nine songs that I hadn’t recorded that were very familiar to the public.”

John Bush of “AllMusic” noted that “singers from a variety of genres had jumped on the standards bandwagon” around this time due in large part to the success that Rod Stewart was having with his series of “Great American Songbook” albums. “There are a few qualities, however, that separate Mathis from the competition. His long mastery of singing love songs is one, and his comprehensive knowledge of the pop canon is another (the last would be, of course, that wonderful voice).” He also wrote, “His choices for the material on “Isn’t It Romantic” are excellent, all of them natural fits for both his voice and his persona.”

2006 was a very busy year for Johnny, marking his impressive 50th anniversary as a recording star. “Johnny Mathis – Gold: A 50th Anniversary Celebration” and “A 50th Christmas Celebration” were both released and PBS taped a special called “Wonderful, Wonderful”.  2006 also marked the year that he was honored with receiving the Society of Singers coveted Ella Award.

Mathis returned to the British Top 30 album chart in 2007 with the Sony BMG release “The Very Best of Johnny Mathis” in 2008 with the CD “A Night to Remember” and again in 2011 with “The Ultimate Collection.”

“Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville” was released in 2010, by Columbia Records and focused upon popular country songs. With the exceptions of the traditional folk song “Shenandoah” and George Strait’s “We Must Be Lovin’ Right” from 1993, the heyday of the selections that Mathis is covering coincided approximately with the first 20 years of his career, starting with Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” from 1956.

The album earned Mathis a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

“Location matters little to Johnny Mathis,” writes Stephen Thomas Erlewine of “Allmusic” — “wherever he goes, there he is, sounding as smooth as ever. That’s quite an accomplishment for a singer of 74, to still make it all seem effortless.” He also notes that, with a few exceptions, the album “sounds as if it could have easily been released in the early ‘60s when Mathis was a regular fixture in the charts…, and that’s its strength.” He concludes that “Mathis sounds as silky as his surroundings,” and asserts that “that may be because he wound up having Nashville accept his terms instead of bending to the rules of the Music City.”

“Once Before I Go,” featured on “Johnny Mathis Sings the Great New American Songbook” is from the “Boy from Oz” – a jukebox musical based on the life of singer/songwriter Peter Allen highlighting songs written by him. The book is by Nick Enright. Premiering in Australia in 1998 starring Todd McKenney, the musical opened in a revised version on Broadway in 2003 with Hugh Jackman in the title role and co-starring Isabel Keating.

Jackman won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, and Keating won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. The show also received nominations for four other Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Buy the music of Johnny Mathis: https://www.amazon.com/Johnny-Mathis/e/B000APEDOO

Find out more about Johnny Mathis and current news: http://www.johnnymathis.com/news.html

Additional sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Mathis

My thanks to William Price King for another wonderful series that shares the music of artists whose music has usually accompanied most of the major events in our lives.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find previous artists featured in these two links

Jazz, Classical and Contemporary: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

And the Music Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

Thank you for dropping in today and hope you have enjoyed the music… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Johnny Mathis – The Early Hits.


Welcome to part two of the Johnny Mathis story… Born in Gilmer in East Texas in 1935, Johnny Mathis, with his distinctive voice would become one of the most popular and enduring singers of the last 60 years.

Johnny Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for three separate recordings – in 1998 for “Chances Are”, in 2002 for “Misty”, and in 2008 for “It’s Not for Me to Say.”

On June 21, 2014, Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall Of Fame along with Linda Ronstadt, Shirley Jones, and Nat King Cole (his daughter Natalie Cole accepting the award on his behalf). The awards were presented by the Center for the Performing Arts artistic director Michael Feinstein. Defined on their website, “Conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook, the Hall of Fame honors performers and composers responsible for creating America’s soundtrack.”

He was awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

I will now hand over to William Price King to share his early hits from the mid 1950s.

Last week we left Johnny Mathis, age 20, singing at the weekends at Ann Dee’s 440 Club, and on hearing that George Avakian, head of Popular Music A&R at Columbia Records, was vacationing nearby, Helen Noga his new manager, persuaded him to come and listen to Johnny play. After hearing Mathis sing, Avakian sent his record company a telegram stating: “Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.” Mathis signed with Columbia but continued his studies at San Francisco State while plans were being made in New York for his debut album.

Back at San Francisco State, Mathis, a gifted athlete, set a high jump record of 6 feet, 5½ inches, only two inches shy of the Olympic record at the time. In 1956 he was asked to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team that would travel to Melbourne, Australia, that November. Mathis had to decide whether to go to the Olympic trials or to keep his appointment in New York City to make his first recordings. On his father’s advice, Mathis opted to embark on a professional singing career.

“Misty” is a jazz standard written in 1954 by the pianist Erroll Garner. Originally composed as an instrumental, Garner recorded this song on his1955 album “Contrasts.” Mathis had heard Garner play the song, and told him that he’d love to sing it if it had lyrics. Garner asked Johnny Burke to put lyrics to the instrumental and the rest is history. This became Mathis’ signature song, appearing on his 1959 album “Heavenly” and reaching number 12 on the U.S Pop Singles chart later that year. Garner was in attendance when Mathis recorded the song, which sold well over two million copies in the US alone.

The Johnny Mathis version of this song (recorded in April 1959) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. His version of the song plays prominently in a ballroom dancing scene in the 2012 film “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“Chances Are,” written by Robert Allen and Al Stillman was one of a large number of compositions by the Stillman-Allen team that were chart hits in the 1950s. Listed on Billboard’s “Most Played by Jockeys” survey for Johnny Mathis, in 1957, it was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. The song reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores survey, along with its flip side “The Twelth of Never,” which Mathis initially disliked. It was included in the 1958 Mathis compilation “Johnny’s Greatest Hits.”

“Chances Are” went to #1 on the Billboard Pop Chart, #1 on Cash Box, and #12 on the U.S. R&B Chart. It was well-loved by the public. The single was backed with “The Twelfth of Never,” which also charted well, going to #9 on the Billboard Pop Chart. It sold more than one million copies and was awarded an RIAA gold record. Mathis was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “Chances Are” in 1998.

“A Certain Smile,” written for the 1958 film of the same name, based on the novel, also titled “A Certain Smile,” by Françoise Sagan (known in French as “Un Certain Sourire”) was nominated for the 1958 Academy Award for Best Original Song. The music was written by Sammy Fain with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Johnny Mathis appeared in the film as a bar singer performing the title song. Mathis’ recording, with backing orchestration by Ray Ellis, reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was featured in the 2010 BBC production of “A Passionate Woman.”

“Wild is the Wind” was written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington. The track was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis for the 1957 film “Wild is the Wind,” starring Anna Magnani and Anthony Quinn. The song was very popular and was one of five songs nominated for an Academy Award and was sung by Johnny Mathis at the 1958 Oscar presentations. Mathis’ version of the song was also released as a single by Columbia Records in 1957, and reached #22 on the Billboard chart.

In October 1964, Mathis sued Helen Noga to void their management arrangement. After the split, Johnny Mathis established Jon Mat Records, Inc., to produce his recordings, and Rojon Productions, Inc., to handle all of his concert, theater, showroom, and television appearances, and all promotional and charitable activities. His new manager and business partner was Ray Haughn, who, until his death in September 1984, helped guide Mathis’s career. Since that time, Mathis has taken sole responsibility for it.

“Moonlight in Vermont” is a fantastic song about the US state of Vermont, written by Karl Suessdorf and John Blackburn. The lyrics are unusual in that they do not rhyme. John Blackburn, the lyricist, has been quoted as saying, “After completing the first 12 bars of the lyric, I realized there was no rhyme and then said to Karl, ‘Let’s follow the pattern of no rhyme throughout the song. It seemed right.'” These lyrics set “Moonlight in Vermont” apart from other soft, contemplative music of the era. Each verse is a haiku, with a 5/7/5-syllable structure, and it doesn’t even rhyme. The effect is brilliant, moonlight twinkling through the branches of sycamore trees or glinting off the snow in winter, presenting a mysterious and mercurial sense of blurry beauty.

Johnny Mathis’ version of Moonlight in Vermont is sweet and wistful and his beautiful voice oozes the song’s impressionistic lyrics like maple syrup, as the orchestra glows incandescent around him.

“When A Child Is Born” is a very popular Christmas song. The original melody was called “Soleado,” a tune from 1974 by Ciro Dammicco (alias Zacar) which was based on Damicco’s earlier tune “Le rose blu” published in 1972. The English lyrics were written a few years later by Fred Jay who wrote many hits for Boney M.

The best known version of this song is the version by Johnny Mathis, which became Mathis’ sole number one single in the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top of the chart in December 1976, and selling 885,000 copies. In the US, it appeared in the Record World survey in both the Christmas seasons of 1976 and 1977, reaching a maximum position of No. 123, and racking up 10 chart weeks. In addition, Mathis re-recorded the song as a duet with Gladys Knight and the Pips. This version reached Record World No. 137 during the Christmas season of 1980, and the UK Singles Chart at No. 79.

Mathis has become associated with Christmas like turkey and pudding, thanks to this festive hit.

Yet, in spite of it being a #1 Christmas song, earning him £16m in royalties and being played millions of times each year, Mathis claims he has no memory of actually recording it.

Next week we pick up the Johnny Mathis story with his 1978 hit duet “The Last Time I Felt Like This” from the film “Same Time, Next Year” which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Buy the music of Johnny Mathis: https://www.amazon.com/Johnny-Mathis/e/B000APEDOO

Find out more about Johnny Mathis and current news: http://www.johnnymathis.com/news.html

Additional sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Mathis

My thanks to William Price King for another amazing post.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find previous artists featured in these two links

Jazz, Classical and Contemporary: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

And the Music Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

Thank you for dropping in today and hope you have enjoyed the music… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Meet Johnny Mathis –


Welcome to the first part of the Johnny Mathis series with a brief look at his early years and some of his awards and accolades.. His voice had a unique tone that is instantly recognisable and his songs certainly played a big role in my teen years and romantic dalliances..

I will hand over to William Price King now to introduce you to the early years of this enduring musical artist.

Johnny Mathis was born in 1935 in Gilmer in East Texas to Clement and Mildred Mathis. Interestingly for Eagles fans… Don Henley was also born in Gilmer. However, the family moved to San Francisco where his father continued to work in Vaudeville. His background exposed all the children in the family to music and spotting an early talent in Johnny, he bought him an old upright piano. The story is that it would not fit through the door so Clement dismantled it and then reassembled in their living room.

At first Johnny followed his father’s influence with songs and routines that were performed in front of family and friends. The first song that he mastered was “My Blue Heaven” and if you listen to this version by Fats Waller you can understand how it would have been a crowd pleaser for Johnny”s audiences.

Johnny Mathis made his first public appearances at church functions and he had this to say about the beginning of his career. “As a child all I knew was that people kept asking me to sing and because I liked to please I would sing. It wasn’t until my dad told me that my singing made him happy that I began to think my voice might be good.”

At age 13 he was lucky enough to be accepted by voice teacher Connie Cox, in exchange for chores, and he studied with her until he was 19 years old. His training which included voice production, classical and operatic singing and gave him an important advantage over many popular singers of the day. His inspirations evolved from the Vaudeville routines to the smoother crossover jazz vocalists of the 1940s such as Nat King Cole and Lena Horne. The first band that Johnny Mathis performed with was at high school under the leadership of Merl Saunders, who would himself go on to enjoy a long and successful career working with musicians such as Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) and Tom Fogerty.

Music was Johnny’s only talent and he excelled at athletics, particularly as a high jumper, hurdler and on the basketball team. He went to San Francisco State University on an athletic scholarship with the aim of becoming either a Physical Education or English Teacher. However, he began playing at a small local bar, The International Settlement, where he met Maya Angelou and Joan Weldon. This led to a jam session at the Black Hawk Club where Johnny attracted the attention of one of the club’s founders, Helen Noga, who became his music manager.

At age 20, Johnny Mathis was singing at the weekends at Ann Dee’s 440 Club, and on hearing that George Avakian, head of Popular Music A&R at Columbia Records, was vacationing nearby, Helen Noga persuaded him to come and listen to Johnny play. After hearing Mathis sing, Avakian sent his record company a telegram stating: “Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.” Mathis signed with Columbia but continued his studies at San Francisco State while plans were being made in New York for his debut album.

Back at San Francisco State, Mathis, a gifted athlete, set a high jump record of 6 feet, 5½ inches, only two inches shy of the Olympic record at the time. In 1956 he was asked to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team that would travel to Melbourne, Australia, that November. Mathis had to decide whether to go to the Olympic trials or to keep his appointment in New York City to make his first recordings. On his father’s advice, Mathis opted to embark on a professional singing career.

Over his long career Johnny Mathis has been asked to perform for many heads of state, including the President of Liberia, the British Royal Family and for President and Mrs. Reagan at a state dinner in honor of the Prime Minister of Japan. This was followed by performances for Presidents Bush and Clinton.

Apart from a four year break with Mercury records, Johnny Mathis has been with Columbia Records throughout his career, joining Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand in that respect.

He has had five of his albums on the Billboard charts simultaneously, an achievement equaled by only two other singers: Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. He has released 200 singles and had 71 songs charted around the world. He is one of only five artistes who have had hits in every decade of their career.

He has taped twelve of his own television specials and made over 300 television guest appearances, with 33 of them being on “The Tonight Show.” Longtime “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson said, “Johnny Mathis is the best ballad singer in the world.” He appeared on the show with Carson’s successor, Jay Leno, on March 29, 2007, to sing his song “The Shadow of Your Smile” with the saxophonist Dave Koz. Through the years, his songs (or parts of them) have been heard in 100 plus television shows and films around the globe. His appearance on the “Live by Request” broadcast in May 1998 on the A&E Network had the largest television viewing audience of the series. Also in 1989, Johnny sang the theme for the ABC daytime soap opera “Loving.”

Johnny Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for three separate recordings – in 1998 for “Chances Are”, in 2002 for “Misty”, and in 2008 for “It’s Not for Me to Say.”

On June 21, 2014, Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall Of Fame along with Linda Ronstadt, Shirley Jones, and Nat King Cole (his daughter Natalie Cole accepting the award on his behalf). The awards were presented by the Center for the Performing Arts artistic director Michael Feinstein. Defined on their website, “Conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook, the Hall of Fame honors performers and composers responsible for creating America’s soundtrack.”

In 1978 his hit duet with Jane Olivor “The Last Time I Felt Like This” from the film Same Time, Next Year was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. He was awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

In 2017, having dropped out of San Francisco State University over 60 years earlier to pursue his musical career, Johnny Mathis was awarded and honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the university.

Johnny Mathis has supported many organizations through the years, including the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the YWCA and YMCA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the NAACP.

Buy the music of Johnny Mathis: https://www.amazon.com/Johnny-Mathis/e/B000APEDOO

Find out more about Johnny Mathis and current news: http://www.johnnymathis.com/news.html

Additional sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Mathis

My thanks to William Price King for another amazing post.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find previous artists featured in these two links

Jazz, Classical and Contemporary: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

And the Music Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

See you next week where William introduces us to the early hits for Johnny Mathis