"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"|
|Released||September 14, 1959|
|Recorded||April 21, 1959|
|Studio||Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City|
|Songwriter(s)||Johnny Burke, Erroll Garner|
|Producer(s)||Mitch Miller, Al Ham|
|Johnny Mathis singles chronology|
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. The Mathis recording of "Misty" sold well over two million copies in the U.S. alone.
Play Misty for Me
Although there were already several released versions, 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|
|Recorded||c. February 1975|
|Ray Stevens singles chronology|
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.
- Count Basie, Dance Along with Basie (1959)
- Hank Crawford, More Soul (1960)
- Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1961 for use on his radio show and it was included in the album With All My Heart (2012)
- Larry Coryell, Fallen Angel (1993)
- Erroll Garner, Contrasts (1954). His original version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991. Garner re-recorded the song with an orchestral arrangement by Mitch Miller for his album Other Voices (1957)
- Lesley Gore, I'll Cry If I Want To (1963)
- Richard "Groove" Holmes, Soul Message (1965)
- Ahmad Jamal, Heat Wave (1966)
- Dave Koz, Lucky Man (1993)
- Johnny Mathis, Heavenly (1959)
- Carmen McRae, Sarah: Dedicated to You (1990)
- Wes Montgomery, Complete Live at the Half Note (1965)
- Steve Turre, In the Spur of the Moment (1999)
- Sarah Vaughan (Vaughan and Violins, 1959)
- (1993) The Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection by Johnny Mathis [CD booklet]. New York: Columbia Records C4K-48932.
- Johnny Mathis interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
- Ray Stevens - About "Misty" and Live Performance on YouTube
- Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 229.
- Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-05-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Top Selling Singles of 1975 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1975-12-31. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Britain's best selling records of '75". Record Mirror. London. January 10, 1976. p. 12. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- "Pop Singles" Billboard December 27, 1975: Talent in Action-8
- Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
- "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- "Allmusic.com". Allmusic.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- Newsom, Jim. "Fallen Angel". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- "GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". GRAMMY.org. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Unterberger, R. "I'll Cry If I Want To". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Promis, Jose F. "Lucky Man". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2018.