Misty (song)

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Misty - Johnny Mathis.jpg
Single by Johnny Mathis
from the album Heavenly
B-side "The Story of Our Love"
Released September 1959
Format 7"
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Johnny Burke, Erroll Garner
Certification Silver (BPI)
Johnny Mathis singles chronology
"Small World"
"The Best of Everything"

"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 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 cover version of "Misty" in 1975 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been recorded many times, including versions by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

Johnny Mathis version[edit]

Background and release[edit]

Johnny Mathis had heard Erroll 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.[1]

Although there were already several released versions,[1] the Mathis version recorded in 1958 popularized this virtually unknown Garner song and inspired Clint Eastwood to use it in his movie Play Misty for Me (1971), 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 Garner recording in his film. The Mathis recording of "Misty" sold well over two million copies in the US alone.[citation needed]

The song is most associated with Mathis despite various recordings over the years by other artists. The Johnny Mathis version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. His version of the song plays prominently in a ballroom dancing scene in the 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook.

Chart performance[edit]


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

Country Provider Certification
United Kingdom BPI Silver

Ray Stevens version[edit]

Misty - Ray Stevens.jpg
Single by Ray Stevens
from the album Misty
B-side "Sunshine"
Released April 1975
Format 7"
Genre Country
Label Barnaby
Writer(s) Erroll Garner
Ray Stevens singles chronology
"Moonlight Special"
"Indian Love Call"

Background and release[edit]

In 1975 Ray Stevens released an up-tempo country rendition of this song. It is the title track of his twelfth studio album. 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.[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Other versions[edit]

"Misty" has been covered many times, by such artists as:


  1. ^ a b Johnny Mathis interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  2. ^ Ray Stevens - About "Misty" and Live Performance on YouTube
  3. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 
  5. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1975 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1975-12-31. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  6. ^ "Britain's best selling records of '75". Record Mirror. London. January 10, 1976. p. 12. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 27, 1975: Talent in Action-8
  8. ^ Unterberger, R. "I'll Cry If I Want To". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  9. ^ "GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". GRAMMY.org. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  10. ^ "Episode Guide - The Man From Marseilles". Magnum Mania!. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  11. ^ "Fallen Angel overview". Allmusic.com. 
  12. ^ "Lucky Man overview". Allmusic.com. 

External links[edit]