Mathis, Johnny - Yellow Roses On Her Gown Lyrics

I was born in San Fransisco when the bay was full of cruisers
Where the west wind smells of fishing boats for fifty miles around
My father wore a crew cut, he was lean and he was handsome
And my mother wore a sash of yellow roses on her gown

They would walk me down from Green Street
Pass cathedrals on the hill sides
And the carillons could fill the hearts of any one in town
I remember how they looked then, when their eyes were always living
When my father loved a girl with yellow roses on her gown

Then we moved to Placer County where the weather was a joker
And I watched my parents laughter turn from amber into ice
But my father never stumbled, he would tell me things would change soon
He would bear and bear the insults of a pair of loaded dice

And my mother stood beside him though her heart was on the hill side
Of a city where a soldier and his lover bedded down
And at night amid the whisper of the pines in Manzanita
She would cry into the sash of yellow roses on her gown

Now my father's living eastward by the Sacramento river
And he swears to me he's happy with his practice and some land
In the springtime and the summer when the fog is off the valley
I visit him on weekends, his grass is overgrown

Sometimes after dinner, I will gaze away the evening
In the attic at a sash of yellow roses on a gown

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Mathis, Johnny Yellow Roses On Her Gown Comments
  1. nannette sole

    My one true love

  2. Julia Read

    Brings me to tears every time. Johnny has a great ability to tell a story.

  3. Randall Sundeen

    I haven't heard this song in at least 35 years love it always will

  4. Barbara Baldwin

    memorable forever song.....

  5. Kevin Bowen

    Johnny Mathis could sing the phone book and make it sound good. My biggest regret never to see him sing live. His biggest Irish fan

  6. affectivity

    What a beautiful song. I hate to say it, but they're neither writing or singing song like this anymore.


    It is quite poignant. I think this is the only song he composed


    A haunting song, one that too many of us can relate to in some way.

  8. Martin

    My father was a big fan of his and I remember these songs from when I was just 12 years old. I remember playing them on LP's and I even remember what I was wearing and what the weather was like when I first heard them. They were so amazing and moved me in such a way that I have never forgotten. This song is incredible and takes me to the place and time that he is singing about. I can imagine it and all the emotions that go with it, genius!

    I miss you dad xxx

  9. Mary Hall

    Love this song. Johnny you amaze me with every song. Thank You.Mary

  10. David Walsh

    A very special song by the magnificent Johnny Mathis. What a lovely humble man.

  11. Mary Hall

    Johnny beautiful song. So many wonderful memories for you and we love the song . Thank You Mary

  12. ruth elizabeth concha osorio

    Jhonny todo lo que has cantado tu voz lo transforma en algo mágico, maravilloso . Dios te bendijo eres unico

  13. H.D. Ross


  14. Nahum Reiman

    לא מושמע בישראל , זמר גדול

  15. oldwestguy

    Yes a very beautiful song... and no other singer could do it justice like Mr. Mathis. In my opinion, he could sing the telephone book, and it would instantly become memorable. But give him a lovely ballad such as this... well, that's pure magic. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Maria Gloriza Cândido

    Toda música fica linda na voz de Johnny Mathis.

  17. Ester Willis


  18. Widnes Girl

    Beautiful song <3

  19. Emelda Lawson

    Lord, Isn't he pretty? Not just feature wise, but, from Within! Oh Yes!! He still is!!

    bsc nyc

    Yup! You're right... Name pls.!??? Imelda..... So lovable JM. 💯😱💪💪🍌🐵Hank you...

    Jean Bartlett

    Emelda Lawson #

  20. Brian Pearson

    grew up with this playing in the house.

  21. Anita Schon

    This is so beautiful, the story is reflected on Johnny's face, I could cry.  What a wonderful singer.  Thank you for sharing Lenore Mewton.

  22. Gary R Beck

    What a well-sung beautiful song.

  23. Mark Dezii

    Knocked me out!! Wow!! What passion by Johnny!

  24. rick mathis

    You name it this guy can sing anything

  25. Alex Smith

    Incredible, beautifully intense and yet so sublime - one of Johnny's best songs. Thank you.

  26. jeanviolet1

    One of my favourite Mr M songs. So simple, so beautiful.

  27. John Poole

    Mathis does a compelling reading and of course picked up on the deeply mournful aspect of the song My complaint is that the poster should have denoted the arranger and also the conductor from the album both of whom in my opinion were brilliant. The song demands intense rubato and that is a challenge for any arranger and conductor. (I was Mike's accompanist and business partner back in 1972).

  28. Mike Vallen

    Rarified and so very sublime...a very fine example of the extraordinarily talented Johnny Mathis...timeless indeed .

  29. James Dunn

    Great song by a great singer!

  30. David King

    Thank you so much Leonore for this amazing post🎹🎹🎹!It's one of my very favorite Johnny Mathis songs. God Bless You

  31. Colin Ashton

    My favourite song by Johnny. Awesome.

  32. Carol Briers

    No matter how many times I hear this,,,it still brings tears xxx

  33. michael daggett

    has to be one of the best songs he ever recorded simply magic

  34. Jake Mabe

    +Michele Moore This has been my favorite song for 20-some years. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I've met people who became dear friends because of this song, heard from people all over the world (I've written about this song extensively over the years), and think this is the most beautifully written, composed, and arranged song I've ever heard. It should've been a No. 1 smash for John Mathis.


    Fully agree. I keep coming back to this painfully beautiful story song.
    I only discovered it through a singer friend. I've written about music
    for many years. I've seen many greats. This remains my favorite in
    the end. An amazing singer. An amazing human being.

    John Poole

    I'll be visiting with Mike when I visit from Philadelphia in May. We formed a company called Community Concerts and a label (Carillon) circa 1970. I did a piano rendition of the tune after finding the CBS publication a total joke. My accompaniment is available for free to fans. John Poole

    Vicki Manager

    Hey Jake! It's VS. You know how much this song also means to me. This is the video I watch over and over, and I never noticed your comment before! I have just posted this to my FB page, and I was going to tag you. This is to be his finest performance of his most wonderful song.


    It's so beautiful.

  35. Sandra Brennan

    Leaves me crying everytime....beautiful song, sung with such emotion by a phenominal singer

  36. lorraine orth

    wonderful  wonderful he is the only artist than can sing this song with so much emotion I cry every time I hear it

  37. lorraine orth

    this song brings me to ears every time I hear he has one of the greatest voices ever recorded


    OMG , the beautiful expressions on his face, I wanted to cry, so beautiful.

  39. thegowerboy

    so many memories

  40. jeh500

    Happy Birthday to one of the greatest pop singers ever.

  41. jeh500

    Achingly painful and beautiful. Like no other singer.
    Hopefully, he deserves a Kennedy Ctre. Honor.
    A brilliant singing career. And, he's still sounds great
    and is selling out - at 79. .

  42. John Brackett

    The most romantic singer ever.

  43. Leigh Williams

    I meant to say thank you, Lenore, but I am still a little rattled by the intensity of that performance.

  44. Leigh Williams

    One of the finest songs ever written and shows JM at the height of his interpretive skill, his voice flowing effortlessly. There are so many memorable lines here; I haven't heard this song for fifteen years at least, but I remember every word.

  45. David Chernofsky

    what \ lovely song never heard before


    very poignant and as always delivered with exquisite emotion. enjoy.

  46. Carl Fitzgerald

    Thats got to be one of the best songs ever written. I love it!

  47. missRhaversham

    Magnificent Mr Mathis


    this is so special - the emotion - it becomes hard to come up with new ways to express Johnny's singular gifts. enjoy.

    mr. warmth

    your a liar

    James Dunn

    You're not "your". No lies are here that I can see.

  48. arianne mathis

    This has to be the greatest song ever. Sung to perfection by Johnny I am so glad I happened to chance upon it once again....Obsessive? Yes. Compulsive? Always.

  49. Elizabeth Milner

    what can I say im speechless thank you mr mathis so beautifull a song betty spain milner


    this is quite special isn't it Betty. I'm glad you found it. We're present to Johnny's experience of this song- lucky us. Enjoy.

  50. linda brown

    Am enjoying all your Mathis uploads.  Thank you.  Perhaps Johnny might not have received all the accolades due to him but he's here, not like so many who were celebrated and perished,  partly due to the "fame" machine.  Thank you Johnny.


    you're welcome, Linda- so glad to hear you're enjoying these- the music is extraordinary- all b/c of Johnny's interpretations. This song is poignant. Johnny has never seemed to seek the spotlight. He has said so many times- he sings b/c it's a part of him. it's not work- it' is 'who' he is. We all benefit. enjoy.

    James Dunn

    I think Johnny received all the accolades due him. He is a 20th century wonder and then some.

  51. Michele Moore

    So sorry I spelled actually wrong, I hope you forgive me, Ha Ha, Michele.

  52. lenoremewton

    what sweet story, Michele- thank you for sharing it. (being from MA i know of where you speak). Sounds like a match made from above. No wonder you adored them- they had a lot of love to share- take care.

  53. lenoremewton

    i agree, Michele. Such a lovely song and poignant. A wonderful poetic memory. And- so very very true- Johnny's humble- behind the scenes nature- is part of his charm- but has also not allowed the music industry to really give him the level of accolade he so richly deserves. Johnny's sincere emotion here- tells so much. You're welcome- i'm glad it's brought meaning to you.

    mr. warmth

    i don't take subscribers but i hate faking liars

  54. Michele Moore

    Acutally how my Dad met my Mother, he saw her dressing a window in MA, and he was there with the Navy, and he told all of his friends that he would marry her, and she had just lost her first husband in the Battle of the Bulge, she had just lost Russell, and never thought she would love again. Daddy would not give up and God Bless Him, he won her and her Mother's heart, we went home every summer to Scituate and back home to Beaumont, Tx, funny now that they are both gone, I simply loved them,M.

  55. Michele Moore

    Honestly don't you think this is one of the most beautiful love songs ever, I don't think Johnny Mathis has ever gotten the glory he deserves, but honestly this song is my parents, Thanks for being such a nice friend, Michele.

  56. lenoremewton

    Michele- wishing you all the best and for hope that you'll be able to enjoy all that you hold dear in life. This is a precious song- and speaks to the heart I'm sure. Take care.

    mr. warmth

    kiss my ass

  57. Michele Moore

    I dedicate this song to my parents who I miss so much, Carl Harrison Moore and Eda Evelyn Moore, they loved each other so much, I recently went through cancer and they think they got it all but are not so sure, so I want to go home and hear their laughter and smell my Mother's great food, they loved each other so much, Love, Michele.

  58. Linda Dedeaux

    Lenore. Is as wonderful as he seems. I have loved him since I was eight. Oh what I would give to meet him, no chance. But a signed picture would do it for me.

  59. lenoremewton

    extremely heart felt- - beautiful- enjoy.

  60. Linda Dedeaux

    Oh My! My soul is aching. What a song.

  61. lenoremewton

    we are so fortunate Betty, to be able to experience him- in the past and now. One never tires of saying that he truly is in a class all by himself. You are welcome- very glad to share these.

  62. MrJoey Man


  63. Oy Veys

    You are absolutely right. This man is a true master. Love it!

  64. lenoremewton

    he truly is- singular in his gifts. You're very welcome- enjoy. This is a very special song- such emotion.

  65. Francesca Amari, Cabaret Singer

    He is the most perfect singer I have ever heard. I have loved him since I was a girl. Still do. Thank you for posting this.

  66. lenoremewton

    agree-right from the heart- truly.

  67. lenoremewton

    wonderful isn't it Sandra- such emotion. perfection. enjoy.:)




    got to be one of my favourites he sings it so beautiful with so much meaning

  70. lenoremewton

    it's so special- i love the way Johnny sings it here- so emotional. It's a perfect favorite.

  71. Susan Fillmer

    Someone gave this song to me on a cassette (how old is that) several years ago and this quickly became my favorite Johnny Mathis song.

  72. texasjohnnyboy

    If ya wanna really sing... ya can't hide behind nothing... ya have to bare your completely naked soul. THAT is what you witness in this video.

  73. Lesley Sweeney

    Apparently the composer was the son of the lawyer who defended people during the McCarthy trials. He was ostracised because of this and his law practice crumbled. (.... we moved to Placer County). It's so sad and the more poignant because it's true. Fabulous song, wonderful singer.

  74. Sonia Dupuy

    Is it possible to purchase the entire BBC performance?

  75. lenoremewton

    @1948treetop so all the reason to call what Johnny expresses as "Maths Magic" - enjoy!

  76. tree top

    I love all types of music, but this guy just blows me away. Just magical absolutley magical.

  77. lenoremewton

    @jeh500 -absolutely. and many people have asked that same question- -some people have received (the Kennedy honor) twice. People- JM's fans- provide him with the greatest honor of appreciation. While institutions are important- sometimes they take themselves in too much grandeur and lose sight of who they really serve- the people- not themselves.

  78. jeh500

    I got chills. This man is the most incredible singer and
    interpreter of a lyric I have ever heard. Effortless and so
    heartfelt. What a gift he is. Whay hasn't he received a
    Kennedy Center Honor? He'spast his 75th birthday &
    still selling out concert halls. *****

  79. lenoremewton

    @19rebel57 - Aired on Johnny's birthday- how nice! thanks for the info, Maria. I knew it was his own special uk BBC event- but not the particular's.
    such a poignant delivery and expression.

  80. 19rebel57

    Johnny Mathis taped this BBC Television Spectacular on May 25, 1977, at their Television Center in London, during his British Tour that year. It was aired later that year, on September 30, 1977.

  81. lenoremewton

    @mathismagic37 - yes, yes, yes. And this song shows it Carol, almost better than any other. Such sensitivity. Enjoy:)

  82. lenoremewton

    @gemeyes2 - it is a great video special- and this number really goes to the heart- his emotion is very palpable. Glad you enjoyed it Jane.

    mr. warmth

    i dont take subscribers  so be cool

  83. gemeyes2

    Only Johnny Mathis could sing this song with such emotion, his eyes..The most magnificent singer ever there was. Jane in Ohio

  84. lenoremewton

    @georgemcm1967 - agreed- he is - as the song "one' states a "singular sensation"- stands alone- always has - always will. Enjoy.

  85. lenoremewton

    @singchef1965 - oh hi Bruce! So nice to hear from you. I'm so glad you like it- you're a real romantic - just like Mr. M.- with an angelic voice to match. Please enjoy:)

  86. B VA

    Thank you so much for posting this Lenore. This song always makes me cry. It's so beautiful!

  87. lenoremewton

    @fhardyb - this song- as others express- is full of emotion- interesting, apparently, this was the only song (released) written by the composer. As for 'other worldliness'- I will only agree that Johnny's voice and essence is in many ways ethereal.

  88. fhardyb

    Right now, for me, that's the saddest song of all time. Perhaps that;s because it's about parents growing apart. Or perhaps it's because of JM's version.

    JM's not human, you know. Like Orbison and Pitney, They are all aliens. You know that. Right???

  89. lenoremewton

    @gemeyes2 - how beautiful- i can only imagine what that must have been like- how very touching- clearly it touches him- you see it in the last shots. Thank you for sharing your experience. He is - the best - by far.

  90. gemeyes2

    I saw Johnny sing this in concert once..beautiful. I cried.. The greatest singer ever there was!

  91. lenoremewton

    @mozfather59 - he does and it is- apparently the only song this songwriter wrote- so fitting. I am not aware of that song "The Hungry Years"- i'm going to look for it. Thank you! I'm so glad you are enjoying this- .

  92. texasjohnnyboy

    so much truth in this piece that it can bring tears to your eyes. Must have been magic in little old Gilmer, Texas where Johnny Mathis, Freddie King and Don Henley were all born.

  93. lenoremewton

    @koonwong100 you're very welcome- thank you for sharing your enthusiasm- I don't know the arrangers name- if I locate it - I'll certainly share it. Johnny's gifts are all you say and more. Please continued to enjoy.

  94. k1940

    BRAVO!!! This is ART! The highest honours COMPOSER Michael Moore who created this incredibly beautiful song , where poetry and melody are in complete harmony, also to the ARRANGER - what's his name? - who wrote the unforgettable orchestration (score) and last but not least to SINGER Johnny Mathis as the unique and unimitable interpreter. Mr. Johnny Mathis is both one of the greatest performers of the 20th century and a real gentleman.
    Thanks a million for sharing this tremendous video.

  95. lenoremewton

    @beweau - it is very poignant- and clearly to this day, Johnny's expression of feeling for his parents is always so loving and respectful. He's an unusual man - celebrity changes nothing that really matter. I am glad the song has meaning for you.

  96. beweau

    This song IS his song, and he sings about his mom and dad. He does in my ears and heart anyway. I can see the sorrow in his eyes, and I feel like crying with him. (also lost my mom and dad) He is still dealing with the loss, he says. His parents were a lot like this I understand. Strong familybonds between them I am certain. From Norway: Berit.

  97. lenoremewton

    @bh5606 - From your mouth to his ears! I hope he hears and maybe is watching! That would be great. This is a special song for him as I recall- as he says here.

  98. Ben Jonson

    Happy birthday, Mr. Johnny.

  99. lenoremewton

    @estaellyte Thank you for your tribute to Johnny and his birthday- he is a gift to all of us and the world. Wishing him all the best for many more years to come.