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This Day In History: September 30th
Aside from being talented Grammy Award-winning singers, Cissy Houston and Johnny Mathis share a birthday together on September 30. Both singers have utilized their musical gifts to enjoy careers that span more than five decades.
Cissy Houston was born Emily Drinkard on September 30, 1933, in Newark, New Jersey. She took an interest in music from a young age and joined a gospel singing group with her siblings. Despite a change in group members, The Drinkard Singers continued performing and even made the first gospel record to be backed by a major label.
Houston decided to form another group, The Sweet Inspirations, which consisted of Doris Troy, Dee Dee Warwick and Dionne Warwick. Like her previous group, The Sweet Inspirations also experienced a change in members but continued to be successful. The group worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley. Houston also recorded solo singles during this time and released Presenting Cissy Houston on Janus Records in 1970.
Even after years of singing, Houston continued releasing music and won Grammy Awards in 1997 and 1999 for Best Traditional Gospel Album. Her career as a singer kept her busy but she also took time to focus on her children, one of which is the legendary Whitney Houston. Additionally, Houston has received two honorary doctorates and a Medal for Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership.
Just two years after the birth of Cissy Houston, vocalist Johnny Mathis was born on September 30, 1935, in Gilmer, Texas. The Mathis family relocated to California which became the origin of his passion for music. Mathis strengthened his talents by singing in the church choir, at community events and even taking vocal lessons.
While in high school and in college, Mathis also proved that he was a talented athlete. Although Mathis loved music, he attended college and studied English and Physical Education. However, that did not stop him from singing. Mathis eventually caught the attention of an A&R executive at Columbia Records and was given the opportunity to record his first album in 1956.
Mathis has recorded popular songs such as “Chances Are,” “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” and “Misty.” He has won numerous awards including an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mathis has released an impressive 79 studio albums and he continues to be enjoyed by new audiences.