Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obscure song makes a 'comeback'

I tell you, the internet is a wonderful thing.

At least a couple of times the last few years, I’ve shared with you some thoughts on a rare Johnny Mathis tune from 1976 that nobody seems to know called "Yellow Roses on her Gown." If I love a song more than RobinElla’s "Teardrops," it’s this heartbreaking tale of a marriage gone bad.

I mentioned last year about receiving some random e-mails about the song following my initial post about it in late 2006. One was from a disc jockey in Toronto who played the song on his monthly radio show and mentioned our conversation; another was from a Mathis fan in California who had heard a cover by a local artist in San Diego.

I mention this because very few people -- even longtime John Mathis fans -- have ever even heard the song. It never seemed to make it for reasons that defy the imagination. Because it truly is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

So imagine my delight when a random Google search uncovered a complete clip (on YouTube) of Mathis singing the song on what looks like a TV appearance in ’76. As it is with the great ones, his live recording soars so far above the studio version; the look on his face during the performance puts the final touches on this brilliantly nuanced piece of work.

Surf on over to and type "Yellow Roses On Her Gown" into the search feature. Not only do I want you to hear this masterpiece, I’d also love to hear your take on what you think the song is about. The lyrics are a bit ambiguous and the song is interesting stylistically, in that there is no chorus or bridge, just four verses.

One thing I can say for certain: this song, and Mathis’ performance, is pure poetry.

"Yellow Roses on her Gown" was originally released on the 1976 Johnny Mathis album, "Mahogany," which is now out of print. It is available on the 4-disc Mathis box set, "A Personal Collection."

Labels: , ,


Blogger denisol said...

Hello Jake

I'm a friend of Liz who posted the song on YouTube. I think we have at least one more clip of Johnny Mathis singing this song. I'll see if I can find it for Liz to uploaded for you soon.

When I first heard the song I loved it right away. Later when Liz put the clip on YouTube, a man contacted her to say he knew something about the song. Apparently, the songwriter was a man named Michael Moore and his father was a lawyer who defended people who were victims of the McCarthy zealots. As a result, he was driven out of the profession by the right wing interests and took to farming and some limited legal work to make ends meet

Our correspondent did not know any details of the mother's death. I suppose we can only guess. Suicide? Broken heart? Who knows? I have surfed the Internet trying find out more about the song and the writer. The only new information I found was that the songwriter’s first name was Michael.


Denis O’Leary
Melbourne Australia

7:29 AM  
Blogger Stravohio said...

The songwriter is indeed Michael Moore, who is a psychologist and writer in the Southern California area. His mother committed suicide, though the song's lyrics don't make that clear.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous L.D. Jolly said...

An amazing song, to say the least. But what of Michael Moore? Did he write anything else? Did he pursue his music for any length of time? Check out his version on Youtube, if you haven't, already.

12:27 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home