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John Royce Mathis, 30 September 1935, San Francisco, California, USA. In 1956, the 19-year-old Mathis was signed to Columbia Records where he began his career with a jazz-tinged album. A US Top 20 hit with Wonderful! Wonderful! saw him move adroitly towards the balladeer market, and before long he was a major concert attraction, with regular appearances on highly rated American television shows. In 1957, together with his first hit, Mathis was barely absent from the US bestseller lists, and that year had a further five hits, including the number 1 Chances Are, The Twelfth Of Never and Its Not For Me To Say. Mathis had become a phenomenon; his popularity at that time ranked alongside that of Frank Sinatra. By May 1958, he was scraping the UK charts with Teacher, Teacher, and soon established himself with major hits such as A Certain Smile, Winter Wonderland,...