Mariah Carey tunes

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Songbird Supreme!

As the daughter of an opera singer and vocal coach, Mariah Carey had the perfect start to life as one of the most technically gifted singers of all time.

Known for her extreme range and mastery of the whistle register, she started plying her trade as a backup and session singer around studios in her native New York.

At the same time as putting together her first demo tape, she sang backing vocals for Brenda K Starr.

Joining Brenda for an industry party, she met her future husband Tommy Mottola, the head of Columbia Records. After listening to her demo tape in the car on the way back from the party, he quickly turned around to find what he immediately recognized could be the next superstar.

Mariah had already left; Tommy spent two weeks attempting to find the mysterious singer, Cinderella-style. When he finally did find her, he wasted no time signing her to his label, fighting off the competition.

At the time (late ’80s), Tommy was twice Mariah’s age, but that didn’t seem to matter as they married only a few years later.

Under Tommy’s guidance, Mariah rose to fame during the ’90s, starting with the self-titled debut album released in 1990.

The first four singles, Vision of Love, Love Takes Time, Someday, and I Don’t Wanna Cry all hit #1. The album sold 15 million copies, making Mariah Carey one of the most famous singers in the world in less than a year.

The follow-up, Emotions (1991), wasn’t as big, but still, 8 million copies can hardly be seen as a flop.

The first two singles did well, the title track reaching #1, and the second single, Can’t Let Go, reached #2.

By now, a strange reputation had started to spread because Mariah avoided touring; people were saying she couldn’t really sing, it was all studio tricks!

The response was to next record an MTV unplugged album which came with a cover of I’ll Be There (Jackson 5). When it was released as a single and resulted in another #1, her reputation was restored.

In 1993, Mariah released Music Box, and three massive tunes here cemented her iconic status. Dreamlover and Hero went to #1, both were written by Mariah who also produced the album.

The third single was a cover, of Harry Nilsson’s old hit Without You. This wasn’t as big in the U.S., but beyond the borders, it went #1 everywhere. Music Box sold 28 million copies.

Before she released her next album, Carey teamed up with Luther Vandross to re-record a tune Lionel Richie and Diana Ross had already had a hit with, My Endless Love. It featured only on Luther’s album, Songs (1994).

Later that year, Mariah released what in many ways would come to define her, a Christmas Album!

Mariah Carey stole Christmas!

The 1994 Merry Christmas had the unforgettable All I Want For Christmas Is You, which since has been played to death worldwide for a month or so every year.

As an album, she racked up 15 million copies sold, but it’s the single that broke all the records.

All I Want for Christmas Is You sold 16 million copies in the U.S. alone and keeps reentering the charts every year in December. It is estimated it has made over $100 million in royalties.

Her next studio album, Daydream (1995), was another success with 20 million copies sold. Singles Fantasy, One Sweet Day, and Always Be My Baby all hit #1.

Her sixth studio album, Butterfly (1997), sold 10 million, not to be sniffed at but still, a slight decline. Singles Honey and My All did best.

When in doubt, release the Greatest Hits. This is what she did next with #1’s, mainly containing her biggest hits; we also get When You Believe, a duet with Whitney Houston whom many had seen as a rival, kind of like Prince and Michael were pitted against each other in the ’80s. When You Believe was featured in Disney’s, Prince Of Egypt.

For the 1999 album, Rainbow, Mariah divorced her Record label boss and took another step into adult-oriented R&B. It sold 8 million.

These are still big numbers, the single Thank God I Found You did best, bagging Mariah yet another #1.

On her 8th studio album, Glitter (2001) Mariah had over a decade in the business and still kept smashing in #1’s. This time it was Loverboy, in collaboration with Cameo. This was also a soundtrack for a movie which did flop.

For her 9th studio album, Charmbracelet it looked like the glory days were finally about to be behind her as worldwide sales were a meager 3 million copies.

Of course, 3 million would be a success for anyone else, but for Mariah, not so much.

As her next album arrived, The Emancipation of Mimi (2005), most people were probably expecting a flop, they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Instead of being the nail in the coffin, this became her comeback album with 10 million copies sold as she collaborated with Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Nelly, and Pharrell Williams.

The two best-performing tunes were It’s Like That and We Belong Together.

Mariah had another couple of big albums in her, the 2008 E=MC2 debuted at #1 and sold 2.5 million copies worldwide.

The big success here was down to the single Touch My Body which went #1 and tied her with Elvis as the solo artist with most #1’s.

The 2009, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel had similar sales. The biggest single was Obsessed.

Mariah had now spent almost two decades in the limelight and finally started to calm down. Her 14th studio album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (2014) took three years to finalise. Sales were modest.

Her last studio album Caution (2018) was her worst performing release.

For most people, Mariah Carey is all about the first half of the ’90s, a big register and that rivalry with Whitney but as you’ve seen here, she did have a long career.

In total, Mariah Carey sold a staggering 220 million albums and 66 million singles, making her the 17th best-selling artist of all time, 7 steps ahead of Whitney who is at #24.

Mariah Carey Tunes | Related Pages

I’ll Be There

I'll Be There chords

You can learn how to play I’ll Be There by The Jackson 5 using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.

F | C/E | Dm Dm/C | Am |
You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back…

Without You

Without You chords T

Learn how to play Without You by Mariah Carey (and Harry Nilsson) using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recordings.

| Esus2 E | G#sus4 G#m |
No, I can’t forget this evening or your face as you were leaving…

Mariah Carey on the web

Listen to Mariah Carey on Spotify.

Artists & Bands

Artist and Band biographies

Behind every single tune you learn, there’s an artist or band with an entire catalogue of music, waiting to be discovered.

Find out more about these great Artists & Bands, and let their tunes guide you to success.

About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this article on Mariah Carey tunes.

This was an article about Mariah Carey tunes, by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learn guitar with Spytunes.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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