Johnny Hartman: Great Singer With Little Recognition


Johnny Hartman had one of best baritone voices in music but never got the recognition he deserved.

Johnny Hartman was born on July 13, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois and died in New York on September 15, 1983. He broke into the music business at a time when black singers were discriminated against in some venues.

Hartman experienced the same racial prejudice Billy Eckstine faced since he was also a romantic singer singing ballads:


Billy Eckstine was a black vocalist who had successfully crossed over to the mainstream, but there was a backlash as white listeners started rejecting his music. The idea of a black man singing love ballads and swooning white females didn’t sit well in 1950s America, particularly in the Deep South.


I have the album pictured above and it has 38 songs which represent the music he recorded from 1947-1972. has clips of the songs from the album named Johnny Hartman Collection: 1947-1972. If you only listen to one song listen to No.31 on the track list Unforgettable and hear his version of the Nat King Cole classic.

It is surprising Hartman wasn’t better known till after his death. Clint Eastwood picked some of his music for the movie Bridges of Madison County and gave moviegoers a chance to hear the voice of Hartman who never achieved the greatness he deserved.

Johnny Hartman singing I Just Dropped By To Say Hello.

Hartman may have died 26 years ago but he has left us a musical legacy we can enjoy for many years.




Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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