Johnny Mathis has released 130 albums and sold over 180 million copies, making him one of the most successful and best-loved ballad singers of all time. Growing up San Francisco, he learned to play piano as a child but was also a star athlete, tipped to go to the Olympics. He decided instead to pursue a career in music after being discovered singing at San Francisco clubs by jazz producer George Avakian and then signed by Columbia Records. His jazz debut album - Johnny Mathis: A New Sound In Popular Song - flopped on release, but, by 1956 he had developed his trademark romantic vocal style with early hits Wonderful! Wonderful! and It's Not For Me To Say. By the end of the 1950s Mathis was a huge star, appearing in several movies and, in 1958, released the first ever Greatest Hits LP collection, which spent nearly 10 years in the US album chart and won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records. With more hits like Misty, Someone and the 1976 UK Number 1 When A Child Is Born, Mathis maintained his international success for the next four decades, continuing to perform into the 2000s.