Chances Are

Album: Johnny's Greatest Hits (1957)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • Songs like this one are the reason why Johnny Mathis became known as a ballad singer and the era's reigning king of make-out music. Mathis shows all the symptoms of being in love in the swooning romantic tune, written by Robert Allen and Al Stillman. He sings:

    Chances are 'cause I wear a silly grin
    The moment you come into view
    Chances are you think that I'm in love with you
  • This was Mathis' first #1 hit single and was include on his compilation Johnny's Greatest Hits, which is regarded as the original Greatest Hits album. Mathis was just two years into his recording career at the time, but Columbia Records was pressuring him for a new release, so his producer Mitch Miller came up with the idea for a hits package. "That was Mitch Miller's idea," Mathis explained in a 2018 Songfacts interview. "That was the first time I had a chance to go out of the country and go to Great Britain. They wanted me to go in the studio and make some more recordings. I had had some success with 'It's Not for Me to Say,' and I wasn't able to record anything new, so he threw the first four recordings that I did - both sides on them - and called them Johnny's Greatest Hits. That was a little flamboyant, because it was not the greatest hits, yet. But that was a great beginning for a lot of people. Even Mozart has a Greatest Hits now. Good idea from Mitch Miller."
  • The album spent a whopping 490 weeks on the Billboard chart and held the record for the longest run until it was surpassed by Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon at 491 weeks in 1983. (Dark Side eventually notched more than 880 weeks total.)
  • Like his other early singles, this was recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City. Ray Conniff is credited as arranger, but the song's composer, Robert Allen, was in charge of the basic piano arrangement. Allen teamed with lyricist Al Stillman on several other songs for Mathis, the Four Lads, and Perry Como - including the Como Christmas classic "(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays."
  • We weren't kidding when we said Mathis was the king of make-out music. Around the release of Johnny's Greatest Hits, a promotional billboard overlooking Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles proclaimed, "Feel like making love? Try Johnny Mathis. Millions have."

    In the 1982 movie Diner, set in 1959, Eddie (Steve Guttenberg), Shrevie (Daniel Stern), and Modell (Paul Reiser) get into an argument when one of them compares Mathis to Frank Sinatra. It finally comes down to Modell asking, "Who do you make-out to? Sinatra or Mathis?" Eddie begrudgingly replies, "Mathis."
  • This plays during a memorable scene in Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind when the extraterrestrials show up at Melinda Dillon's home.
  • This has been featured in several TV shows, including WKRP In Cincinnati ("Les' Groupie," 1980), Malcolm In The Middle ("The Block Party," 2004), New Girl ("Wedding," 2011), American Dad! ("Finger Lenting Good," 2013), and The Simpsons ("Bull-E," 2015).
  • This was featured in the 1989 romantic comedy Chances Are, which took its name from the song. Robert Downey Jr. plays a reincarnated man who unwittingly falls in love with his daughter (Mary Stuart Masterson) from a previous life.
  • Mathis re-recorded this as a duet with Liza Minnelli for her 1996 album, Gently.
  • This received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.

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