Back In The Day: Gay Singing Stars From The Golden Age Of R&B

Johnny Mathis

John Royce Mathis made his big splash with “It’s Not for Me to Say,” in 1957. He followed with dozens of gold and platinum records and hits like “Chances Are,” “Misty” and “The Very Thought of You” (above)—making him one of the most successful adult-contemporary artists ever.

Mathis was coy about his sexuality for much of his career but came out in 1982, telling US magazine, “Homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to.” Decades later he admitted he had received death threats after the article was published, and said his general reticence about the topic was “generational.”