Friday Night Music, March 12, 2010: Johnny Mathis and Deniece (Niecy) Williams, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” 1978

Looks like this was from a segment of Pop Up Video, because it’s a pretty sharp and clear copy. Remember that show?

Anyway, Wikipedia’s got the word.

“Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” was a 1978 single which reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, and number 3 on UK Singles Chart performed by singers Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. The single also topped the R&B, and adult contemporary charts in the spring of 1978. The duo also released a follow-up duet titled “You’re All I Need To Get By” in 1978 that missed the Top 40, peaking at #47 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mathis and Williams recorded a follow-up duet album That’s What Friends Are For however “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” was not included.

The single was a comeback of sorts for Mathis as it was his first number one in over two decades since his last chart-topping hit, 1957’s “Chances Are”. The success of the duet with Williams prompted Mathis to record duets with a variety of partners including Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, and Nana Mouskouri.

A compilation album also called Too Much, Too Little, Too Late released by Sony Music in 1995 featured the title track among other songs by the duo.

Mathis’ duets with other women singers was not as successful as with Niecy, though. She complimented him in a wonderful way. Her voice was strong; but she seemed both innocent and knowing at the same time.

BTW, what are both up to these days? Ladies first.

In December 2005, Deniece Williams appeared on the reality-dating show Elimidate as part of their “Celebrity Week”. Other participants included fellow 1970s icons Leif Garrett and Jimmie Walker.

After more than a decade Williams’ new R&B album, titled Love, Niecy Style, was released on April 24, 2007 on Shanachie Records. The disc was produced by veteran “Sound of Philly” man Bobby Eli. It has received positive review from Starpulse,, and Jet. The disc charted at #41 on Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.

Williams returned to gospel music, charting again in October 2007. The song, “Grateful-The Redication”, recorded with Wanda Vaughn of The Emotions and Sherree Brown debuted at #40 debut on the Billboard Adult R&B Singles chart. This was Williams’ first entry on the singles chart since 1989.

On April 29, 2008 Williams announced that she is preparing a proposal to establish a program called KOP—Kids of Promise—in her hometown of Gary, Indiana. Williams said the program will include a center with classes and programs dedicated to education and the performing arts.[8]

On August 27, 2008 a new song/video entitled “One Kiss” was posted on YouTube. The song is produced by the Haven Media Group and the video directed by noted director Dabling Harward (Idlewild, When We Were Kings). Also posted on same date was an inspirational Barack Obama anthem entitled ‘”A Change We Can Believe In”‘. The song is written by Williams, percussionist Jerry Peters and songwriter Harvey Mason. To date there are three versions of “A Change We Can Believe In,” a “universal” version which features a 160-voice chorus (currently being viewed); a second R&B/gospel-infused version featuring Williams on lead vocal; and the final, orchestral/instrumental arrangement for a variety of post-production applications.

Deniece Williams, with her four-octave soprano that is reminiscent of the late Minnie Riperton, will be 60 this year.

And has Johnny Mathis finally come out?

Mathis briefly “dated” actress Karen Valentine in 1970. Amid queries regarding his homosexuality, his agent [allegedly] would only allude to it by saying, “Chances Are” and ” It’s Not For Me To Say”, which were recordings the artist had made. In a 1982 Us Magazine article, Mathis was quoted as having said, “Homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to.” Us Magazine later retracted the statement. After more than twenty years of silence on the subject, Mathis revealed in an interview in 2006 that his silence was due to death threats he received as a result of that 1982 article. On April 13, 2006, Mathis granted a podcast interview with The Strip in which he talked about the subject once again, and how some of his reticence to speak of the subject was partially generational. His continuous popularity and sales numbers indicate that fans respect his artistic standing as well as his choice for a quiet personal life.

My girlfriends and I sometimes discussed Mathis’ sexuality when he staged his second wind. We didn’t quite buy the “relationship” with actress Karen Valentine he was supposed to have had in 1970, when we were still in high school and watching Room 222. Not because Karen was white, but because they didn’t seem well matched. Mathis was older and more sophisticated; sorta like cafe society. If he was going to be with a woman, she had to be as worldly as he. Karen was as sexy as the Osmonds, I thought.

Of course we thought he was fine (pronounced foine), that he had taken care of his voice during the interim, but we had heard the rumors that our elders had probably heard in their time, that he was interested in men rather than women. That even while he was recording, the studio was thronged with men. We gave up caring; shook our heads and smiled and said what a shame as we listened to his platters. But we agreed that we liked him, and the rich aura of romance that he cast over us when he sang.

It’s been alleged that Mathis has undergone surgery for prostate cancer. It was confirmed, however, that he has also entered rehab in recent years for a dependency on prescription drugs and on alcohol.

Johnny Mathis turns 75 this year.

~ by blksista on March 12, 2010.

4 Responses to “Friday Night Music, March 12, 2010: Johnny Mathis and Deniece (Niecy) Williams, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” 1978”

  1. There was always little doubt as to Mathis’ sexuality even before he was outed in People Magazine in 1982. So yes, he’s been out longer than the Mac computer has been around. Probably would have been sooner if it weren’t for the unfortunate black homophobia that still occasionally rears its ugly head. That and the fact the more his PR people tried to pretend the People article never happened, the more curious people got about it. “The truth shall set you free”. Always. At any rate. I’ve found that the fans who love him then and now really don’t care either way.

    I personally felt Mathis’ duets with Dionne Warwick were very strong. Listen again to “Friends in Love”, “I’ve Got You Where I Want You”, “Two Strong Hearts”, and “Who’s Counting Heartaches”. These two legends should have had their own album together, in my opinion.

    As to the point Francie brings up, Johnny Mathis’ 75th birthday is not until the end of September. THAT could have been discovered with a quick Google search, or even the often-flawed Wikipedia. Deniece Williams will turn 60 on June 3rd.


    • I used Wikipedia as a guide for their ages.

      But it’s such a small quibble to make such a big deal about.

      And it was Us Magazine, not people, who outed Mathis. If People wrote an article, it was probably picking up from Us.

      This is from James Gavin’s article about him in 1993:

      Campy around his chums but publicly shy, Mr. Mathis has always been evasive about personal matters. Queried about his love life by People magazine in 1978, he responded: “I’d rather sing about it. I’m as romantically inclined as anyone. But I’ve never had a relationship that’s lasted longer than a few months.” When Us magazine revealed his homosexuality in the early 80’s (he says he was quoted off the record), it barely caused a ripple; apparently few people had doubted it or even cared. But since then he has barred all questions about his sexuality, breaking that barrier only inadvertently.

      And all the stuff about his sexuality…I used personal experience to show how it really doesn’t matter. We love him, gay or straight; whether he was out or not.


  2. Among other inaaccuracies in your’post,’ Mr. Mathis is 74, not 75.


    • Yes, but it is his 75th year. As I said before, I used Wikipedia for most of this post.

      Sorry if I disappointed you. If this is the only inaccuracy, I’m doing pretty good. You didn’t mention the others.


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