Mariah Carey, Christmas Queen

Ben Lance, Reporter

When the first bells in the introduction are heard, everyone instantly knows what season it is. A staple of the holiday season every year since 1994 has been the song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by the legendary Mariah Carey.

   According to the Economist, the track has earned over $60 million in royalties alone, as of 2017. It is the most commercially successful holiday song, spending a total of eight weeks at the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 between Dec. 2019 and Jan. 2022. 

   A “SuperFestive!” remix was released in 2011 by Justin Bieber, featuring new vocals from Carey herself. It is not Bieber’s best work, but it is interesting to see Carey celebrating the popularity of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

   Many are unaware that it only took one hour for the basic lyrics of the song to come to fruition. They were tweaked and improved over time, but as co-writer Walter Afanasieff told Billboard, the melody was improvised by Carey and himself over a piano.

   Like anything popular in society, the cultural significance of the track has led to the creation of many internet memes over the years. Roughly every October, fans begin to joke about how Carey is “defrosting” in preparation for the holidays. She has even contributed to these trends by creating videos every Nov. 1 where she celebrates the fact that “it’s time” for her reign.

   As funny as the jokes are, it is also important to recognize Carey’s legacy as more than just the queen of Christmas. Selling over 200 million units, she is the 11th most successful artist of all time. 

   She released her debut album, Mariah Carey, in 1990. Throughout the rest of the decade, she released several classics such as “Hero,” “One Sweet Day” with Boyz II Men, “Always Be My Baby,” and “Fantasy.”

   Carey’s music has paved the way for plenty of other pop icons, such as Ariana Grande, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Rihanna.

   She has also been an inspiration for artists to release original Christmas music as opposed to only covering previous classics. Notable examples include Ariana Grande’s “Christmas & Chill” EP and Taylor Swift’s “Christmas Tree Farm” single.

   “Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas To All!” was a two-hour concert filmed at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. will debut on CBS and Paramount + on Dec. 20 at 8:00 PM E.T. She is expected to perform her other holiday songs from her two Christmas albums, “Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas II You,” in addition to her other hits.