Album: Heavenly (1959)
Charted: 12
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  • This jazz standard was originally composed as an instrumental by pianist Errol Garner for his 1955 album Contrasts. Later that same year, Johnny Burke wrote lyrics for the song.
  • Johnny Mathis was the first in a long line of performers to cover this song and it became one of his most famous hits. Peaking at #12 on the charts in 1959, his was also the most popular version. That same year, jazz great Sarah Vaughan earned a spot at #106. The song endured throughout the '60s with more charting hits from R&B singer Lloyd Price (#21), the Soul group Vibrations (#63) and jazz organist "Groove" Holmes (#44). Ray Stevens also recorded a popular Country version in 1975 (#14). Surprisingly, versions by Ella Fitzgerald in 1959 and Frank Sinatra in 1961 failed to chart.
  • Thanks to Clint Eastwood, this song earned a chilling connotation when it was used for his directorial debut Play Misty for Me in 1971. He also starred in the thriller as a radio jockey who was stalked by an unhinged fan who had an obsession with the song. Eastwood was inspired by the title song when he first saw Errol Garner perform at the Concord Music Festival a year earlier, but securing the song rights was no easy task. While he paid $2,000 to use Roberta Flack's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for a romantic montage in the film, he had to shell out $25,000 for "Misty" (Garner's instrumental version).
  • Both Garner's instrumental version and Mathis's popular cover have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (Garner in 1991 and Mathis in 2002).
  • Tom Selleck is known for a few things - his mustache, his reputation as an '80s sex symbol, and his romance with Monica on Friends - but being a singer is not one of them. Well, being a good singer anyway. On an episode of his hit show Magnum, P.I., Selleck, as the title detective, is forced to perform this song at a karaoke bar called The Sing Sing Palace. He comedically struggles through the opening before a few gunshots give him an excuse to stop. This moment from "The Man from Marseilles" has gone down as a fan favorite.
  • John Ratzenberger sang this song to Shelley Long on the Cheers episode "Cliffie's Big Score." Cliff was tricked into believing that the song would turn her on, but it had the opposite effect.
  • Although the Mathis version was used in the 2012 Academy Award-winning movie Silver Linings Playbook during a romantic ballroom scene, it was not included on the movie's official soundtrack.
  • Mathis had no intention of recording the song when he did. He had heard the instrumental version and told Garner he would be happy to record it if he added lyrics. The next time he heard from Garner, Mathis told him he had a recording date coming up, but never expected the composer to show up at the studio. "He showed up at the recording session and we had not at all planned to do 'Misty,'" Mathis told John Gilliland for the radio documentary Pop Chronicles. "I was just praying that he would forget about it. So thank God for the genius of Glenn Osser who did the score. He merely just penciled in the parts that were missing and told the violin players - they didn't even have their music, they just did it."

Comments: 4

  • Unclemike from AstoriaErrol Garner, Johnny Mathis and Ray Stevens, all are the best versions but Ella Fitzgerald's is well worth listening to as well.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 20th 1975, Ray Stevens' covered version of "Misty" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #81; eleven weeks later on July 6th, 1975 it would peak at #14 {for 2 weeks} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on June 1st, 1975 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
    In the United Kingdom is peaked at #2 and also reached #2 on the Canadian RPM Country chart...
    Mr. Stevens, born Harold Ray Ragsdale, will celebrate his 77th birthday come next January 24th {2016}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 25th 1965, Johnny Mathis performed "Misty" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Six years earlier on October 5th, 1959 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #58; and eight weeks later on November 30th, 1959 it peaked at #12 {for 1 week} and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #10 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    The record's B-side, "The Story of Our Life", also made the Top 100, it stayed on the chart for 2 weeks, peaking at #93...
    Between 1957 and 1984 he had forty-four Top 100 records; six made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Chances Are" for one week on October 15th, 1957 on Billboard's Most Played by Jockeys chart and "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late", a duet Deniece Williams, for one week on May 28th, 1978...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neil {Shindig's host, 1940 - 2013} and John Royce Mathis will celebrate his 80th birthday come next September 30th {2015}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 29th 1963, Lloyd Price's covered version of "Misty" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #69; and on November 10th, 1963 it peaked at #21 {for 1 week} and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #11 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1957 and 1964 he had seventeen Top 100 records; three made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Stagger Lee" for 4 weeks on February 3rd, 1959...
    He just missed having a second #1 on the Top 100 when "Personality" peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks}* on June 15th, 1959...
    Mr. Price will celebrate his 82nd birthday this coming March 9th {2015}...
    * The three weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those 3 weeks was "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton.
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