Legacy RecordingsA truly massive box set covering Johnny Mathis‘ 60-plus-year career has just been released titled The Voice of Romance: The Columbia Original Album Collection. The package features a 68 CDs spanning from Johnny’s 1956 self-titled debut through his recently released Johnny Mathis Sings the Great New American Songbook.

Mathis tells ABC Radio that he’s extremely excited that such an anthology has been compiled.

“It’s the most wonderful thing that could’ve ever happened to me as a singer over the years, a legacy of my career,” the 82-year-old crooner gushes. “It’s such a blessing, I cannot tell you.”

Reflecting on the expansive collection, Mathis muses, “I kind of wonder how I had the time to do all of this. I guess the reason that it exists is that I started at such an early age.”

Of The Voice of Romance‘s 68 discs, 62 have been newly remastered and 25 appear on CD for the first time. Also included are two previously unreleased albums: I Love My Lady, recorded in 1981 with Chic‘s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards; and The Island, a 1989 collaboration with Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes.

Mathis says he loved the material that he recorded with Rodgers and Edwards, saying working on the funk-flavored tunes was “a challenge for me, but Nile and Bernard were right there guiding me along the way.”

While Mathis is known best for romantic ballads, the box set shows that he branched out into various genres during his career, often following current musical trends.

An example of that is Mathis’ latest album, a project guided by music mogul Clive Davis that finds Johnny interpreting tunes by such contemporary artists as Adele, Pharrell Williams and Bruno Mars.

Watch a video of Mathis “unboxing” The Voice of Romance at JohnnyMathis.com.

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