Misty (song)

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"Misty" is a jazz standard written in 1954 by the pianist Erroll Garner.

Originally composed as an instrumental following the traditional 32-bar format and first recorded for Garner's 1955 album Contrasts, the tune was later paired with lyrics by Johnny Burke and became the signature song of Johnny Mathis, appearing on his 1959 album Heavenly and reaching #12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart later that year.

Cover versions[edit]

It has been covered many times, by such artists as Ella Fitzgerald (1959), Sarah Vaughan (1959), Billy Eckstine (1960), Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, The Students, Earl Grant (1961), Della Reese (1962), (Lloyd Price (1963), Richard "Groove" Holmes (1965), Donny Hathaway (1970) as a gospel song, Johnny Hartman (1971) and also by Ray Stevens (1975) as a country song. Lesley Gore included a version of the song on her 1963 debut album, I'll Cry If I Want To.[1] Joni James recorded a version of "Misty" accompanied by acoustic guitar on her 1963 album, Like 3 O'Clock in the Morning. A version was also recorded by Julie London and an instrumental version by The Shadows. Stan Kenton recorded a version of the song on the Grammy Award winning 1962 LP Adventures In Jazz.

Chart performance[edit]

Johnny Mathis[edit]

Chart (1959) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12

Mathis had heard Garner play the song, and told Garner that he'd love to sing it if Garner had lyrics for it. Garner was in attendance when Mathis later recorded the song.[6]

Although there were already several released versions,[6] the Mathis version recorded in 1958 popularized this virtually unknown song composed by Erroll Garner, a jazz pianist/composer, which inspired Clint Eastwood to use it in his movie Play Misty for Me, a low-budget film that proved to be a huge box-office smash. Eastwood, a fan of Mathis, ended up paying a nominal fee for the Erroll Garner recording in his film. The Mathis recording of "Misty" sold well over two million copies in the USA alone. The song is most associated with Mathis despite various recordings by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan.

Ray Stevens[edit]

In 1975, Ray Stevens released an up-tempo country rendition of this song. Stevens recounted that it was recorded on the second take when experimenting in the studio, and won a Grammy for arrangement.[7]

Chart (1975) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 14
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 18
Canadian RPM Hot Country Singles 2
Canadian RPM Top Singles 15
Canadian RPM Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 6
U.K. Singles Chart 2
Irish Singles Chart 2
Australian Singles Chart 5
South African Singles Chart 5
Euro Hit 50 9
New Zealand Singles Chart 11
Austrian Top 40 11


Johnny Mathis -USA-GOLD single award 1960. (over 2.5 million USA sales)

Country Provider Certification
United Kingdom BPI Silver


External links[edit]