Misty (song)

"Misty" is a jazz standard written in 1954 by pianist Erroll Garner. He composed it as an instrumental on the traditional 32-bar format and recorded it for the album Contrasts (1955). Lyrics were added later by Johnny Burke. It became the signature song of Johnny Mathis, appearing on his 1959 album Heavenly and reaching number 12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart later that year. Country and pop singer Ray Stevens had a number 14 hit with his version of "Misty" in 1975 on the Billboard Hot 100. This version reached number two in the United Kingdom. The song has been recorded many times, including versions by Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, and, most recently, by Alternative Rock Band QUI.

Single by Johnny Mathis
from the album Heavenly
B-side"The Story of Our Love"
ReleasedSeptember 14, 1959
RecordedApril 21, 1959
StudioColumbia 30th Street Studio, New York City
Songwriter(s)Johnny Burke, Erroll Garner
Producer(s)Mitch Miller, Al Ham[1]
Johnny Mathis singles chronology
"Small World"
"The Best of Everything"

Johnny Mathis version


Mathis heard Garner play the song and told him that he'd love to sing it if Garner had lyrics for it. Garner was in attendance when Mathis later recorded the song.[2] The Mathis recording of "Misty" sold well over two million copies in the U.S. alone.

Chart performance


Country Provider Certification
United Kingdom BPI Silver
United States RIAA Gold

Play Misty for Me

Although there were already several released versions,[2] the Mathis version recorded in April 1959 popularized this virtually unknown Garner song. It inspired Clint Eastwood to use the instrumental in his 1971 film Play Misty for Me, a low-budget film that proved to be a box-office success. Eastwood, a fan of Mathis, ended up paying a nominal fee for the Garner recording in his film.

Ray Stevens version

Single by Ray Stevens
from the album Misty
ReleasedApril 1975
Recordedc. February 1975
Songwriter(s)Erroll Garner
Producer(s)Ray Stevens
Ray Stevens singles chronology
"Moonlight Special"
"Indian Love Call"

Background and release

In 1975 Ray Stevens released an up-tempo country rendition of this song. It is the title track of his twelfth studio album of the same name. Stevens recounted that the song was recorded on the second take when experimenting in the studio. His version won a Grammy in the category of Music Arrangement of the Year.[3]

Chart performance

Other versions


  1. (1993) The Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection by Johnny Mathis [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records C4K-48932.
  2. Johnny Mathis interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  3. Ray Stevens - About "Misty" and Live Performance on YouTube
  4. Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 229.
  5. Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-05-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Top Selling Singles of 1975 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1975-12-31. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  8. "Britain's best selling records of '75". Record Mirror. London. January 10, 1976. p. 12. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  9. "Pop Singles" Billboard December 27, 1975: Talent in Action-8
  10. Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  11. "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  12. "Allmusic.com". Allmusic.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  13. Newsom, Jim. "Fallen Angel". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  14. "GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". GRAMMY.org. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  15. Unterberger, R. "I'll Cry If I Want To". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  16. Promis, Jose F. "Lucky Man". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
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