Mariah Carey’s Biggest Albums & Songs: ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ & More

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Let’s open the latest mailbag.

MARIAH CAREY’S BIGGEST ALBUMS & SONGS

Hi Gary,

With “All I Want for Christmas is You” and Merry Christmas both making their annual resurgences, could you please recap Mariah Carey‘s career sales, streaming and radio airplay highlights?

Thank you!

Jess Hahn
Columbia, S.C.

Hi Jess,

Happy holidays!

As a last-minute (or not, depending on where you are with your shopping) gift to Lambs, here’s an update of Carey’s best-selling albums, most-streamed songs and most-heard hits on radio in the U.S., according to MRC Data (from titles’ releases through Dec. 16).

Best-Selling Albums
7.7 million, Daydream, released in 1995
7.3 million, Music Box, 1993
6.1 million, The Emancipation of Mimi, 2005
5.8 million, Merry Christmas, 1994
4.9 million, Mariah Carey, 1990
3.849 million, Butterfly, 1997
3.848 million, # 1’s, 1998
3.6 million, Emotions, 1991
3 million, Rainbow, 1999
2.8 million, MTV Unplugged (EP), 1992

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Most-Streamed Songs (on-demand audio & video combined)
1.3 billion, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”
548 million, “We Belong Together”
375 million, “Always Be My Baby”
308 million, “Fantasy”
301 million, “Obsessed”
188 million, “One Sweet Day,” with Boyz II Men
168 million, “Touch My Body”
120 million, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
119 million, “Hero”
117 million, “Shake It Off”

Most-Heard Songs on Radio (all-genre audience impressions)
7.5 billion, “We Belong Together”
6.6 billion, “Always Be My Baby”
5.1 billion, “Hero”
4.34 billion, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”
4.33 billion, “Fantasy”
4.32 billion, “Dreamlover”
4.2 billion, “One Sweet Day,” with Boyz II Men
3.6 billion, “I’ll Be There”
3.3 billion, “Shake It Off”
2.6 billion, “Don’t Forget About Us”

Thus, even as a song that experiences an annual chart revival for about two months each year, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” ranks as Carey’s most-streamed song (on-demand), by a more than two-to-one margin over the runner-up in the category. It’s also her fourth-most-heard hit on radio.

Plus, Merry Christmas is Carey’s fourth-best-selling album and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” likewise from the set, places at No. 8 among her most-streamed songs.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” made its first appearance on a Billboard chart dated 27 years ago tomorrow (Dec. 24, 1994), when it debuted at No. 36 on Pop Airplay, on its way to a No. 9 peak two weeks later. To date, it’s the only holiday song to have hit the chart’s top 10 (among 1,443 total top 10s since the list began in 1992).

Notably, the carol entered Pop Airplay in between two songs that have also become lasting hits: TLC’s Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Creep” and 2 Unlimited’s stadium favorite “Get Ready for This.”

‘CHRISTMAS’ (BEGNNING AND) WRAPPING

Hi Alan,

The Hot 100 in 2021 finishes as it started, with “All I Want for Christmas Is You” topping the first (Jan. 2) and last (Dec. 25) charts of the year, marking the first year that a song has bookended the ranking at No. 1. The song just missed the achievement in 2020, when it led the Jan. 4 chart and ranked second on the Dec. 26 list, as Taylor Swift’s “Willow” launched at No. 1.

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You’re correct: 1995 is the only other year in which an artist has earned the honor. Boyz II Men topped the Jan. 7, 1995, Hot 100 with “On Bended Knee,” marking the ballad’s fourth of six weeks at No. 1, and ended the year atop the Dec. 30, 1995, chart with “One Sweet Day,” with … Mariah Carey. The duet was then in its fifth of 16 weeks (then a record) at No. 1.

With timing playing such a part in the stat, two acts missed opening and closing a year atop the Hot 100 by a week each. The Monkees led the first chart of 1967 with “I’m a Believer” and the second-to-last tally that year with “Daydream Believer.”

In 1978, the Bee Gees also came up a frame short, leading the first Hot 100 that year with “How Deep Is Your Love,” while “Too Much Heaven” reached No. 1 on the first chart dated in 1979.

Meanwhile, one household has combined for the honor: 2009 began with Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” atop the Hot 100 and ended with Jay-Z (who had heeded that advice the year before) at No. 1 with ” Empire State of Mind,” with Alicia Keys.

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