To think, 26 years ago, Mariah Carey invented Christmas. Wow, truly blessed.
On 29 October 1994, the world was introduced to the 13 twinkle introduction of “All I Want for Christmas is You”, changing the course of shopping mall music and festive ad campaigns for years to come.
The uptempo love song is one of the most streamed and bought holiday songs ever made and to celebrate its 26th birthday this week, here are 26 facts behind the track.
1. The world has been taken over – conquered, if you will – by the song.
We, for one, welcome our new talented overlord and would like to remind Mariah that as a trusted media outlet, we can be helpful in rounding up others to stream the banger.
OK, we joke. This song isn’t going to be a national anthem anytime soon (well, not yet) but the jingle has made it to the number one slot in an array of counties.
Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland have all lifted Carey to the top. It finally reached the top of the Billboard charts in the US in 2019.
Unfortunately, the song has never ascended in the UK. Do better, guys.
2. Boyband East 17 kept it off the top slot when it first came out.
In the ultimate act of homophobia, boyband East 17 actually kept Carey from the fabled glory spot with their song “Stay Another Day”.
It seemed that their white furry puffer jackets matched with attempts at goatees proved irresistible to the UK.
3. There was A LOT of unreleased video footage.
Carey released the cut footage to celebrate the coming of Christmas, taking to Twitter to announce it’s all be compiled into a new music video.
“Kicking off the festivities with a brand new video cut for ‘All I Want for Christmas is You (Unreleased Video Footage)’,” she wrote.
“Hope you like it!”
4. ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ is still selling to this day.
Global sales of the song have reached 16 million and it remains not only her biggest international success but the best selling Christmas single by a female artist overall.
5. And is also really, really big.
It’s the 11th best selling single of all time. All. Time.
That’s a long time, guys.
6. It’s stayed in the charts for decades, but barely took any time to write.
When they got together in the summer of 1994 to write songs that are all things white and snowy, Carey and co-writer Walter Afanasieff spent just 15 minutes to carve out the chords and melody.
7. Christmas came early for Mariah Carey and her crew.
While the vocals for the song were recorded in the baking heat of August in New York City, it didn’t stop the singer from embracing the Yuletide glee.
The sweltering studio was covered in all things Christmas – from lights to trees.
“There was even talk of bringing in some snow at one point, but we didn’t go with that, thank God!” admitted Afanasieff.
8. Mariah Carey and her co-writer haven’t been in touch for decades.
Carey has undeniably changed her tune since the late 90s, adopting a more R&B style since.
But the break away from her pop also spelt a break away from Afanasieff, who hasn’t heard from Carey since their work together on the 1997 Butterfly album,
“It’s a shame because we had great chemistry,” Afanasieff said. “My greatest dream is to work with her again. Mariah, all I want for Christmas is you!”
9. Walter Afanasieff wasn’t really feeling the festive spirit at first.
Afanasieff admitted he wasn’t a fan of the song at first. Truly blasphemous.
“At the time, I thought it was overly simple, and I really didn’t like it,” he told the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2014.
“The oversimplified melody, I guess, that made it so easily palatable for the whole world to go, ‘Oh, I can’t get that out of my head.'”
10. He wasn’t even a fan of Mariah Carey’s vocal delivery.
We might be starting to understand why Carey hasn’t called Afanasieff in a while.
“My first reaction was, ‘That sounds like someone doing voice scales,'” Afanasieff told Business Insider in 2013, “‘are you sure that’s what you want?'”
Yes, Afanasieff, yes we do.
11. Chances are, it’s your ringtone.
In 2009, the song became the first-holiday ringtone to be certified double platinum for more than two million sales.
12. Goats love it, too.
Name a musical sensation that even has a goat fanbase. We’ll wait. No, Taylor Swift doesn’t count.
In 2010, a British goat farmer discovered that his animals produce more milk when Carey’s Christmas classic is played on a loop.
This was a stark contrast to “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Alvin and the Chipmunks, which reportedly brought milk production to a screeching halt.
13. Mariah Carey’s ex-husband, Tommy Mottola, cameoed in the video.
Santa Claus might often try to steal the spotlight from Carey – the true spirit of Christmas – but the round-bellied man in the “All I Want for Christmas is You” music video is actually her former flame, Tommy Mottola.
Considering the song is romantic at heart, it’s unsurprising.
14. Mariah Carey didn’t care for Christmas albums before making it.
Mottola, a music executive, had to convince the then 24-year-old singer to go full-steam ahead with the festive album.
In his book Hitmaker: The Man and His Music, Mottola remembers her seeing the cover of the Merry Christmas album (which featured Carey on a sleigh) and exclaiming, “What are you trying to do, turn me into Connie Francis?”
Things have certainly changed since.
15. No musicians actually play on ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.
Afanasieff put the song together on his computer, he told the New York Post.
Tapping on his computer, all he had to do was add Carey’s vocals as well as her backing singers.
16. Mariah Carey really, really, really loves Christmas so the song means an incredible amount to her.
“I’m a very festive person and I love the holidays,” Carey said in the book Mariah Carey, describing what recording the Christmas album meant for her.
“I’ve sung Christmas songs since I was a little girl. I used to go Christmas carolling. When it came to the album, we had to have a nice balance between standard Christian hymns and fun songs.
“It was definitely a priority for me to write at least a few new songs, but for the most part people really want to hear the standards at Christmas time, no matter how good a new song is.”
17. ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ sounds like it’s straight from the 40s… or 50s… or 60s.
In an interview in 1994, Carey described the song as “fun”, and added: “It’s very traditional old-fashioned Christmas. It’s very retro, kind of ’60s.”
Indeed, sonically, the song was insured Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’ production technique, which was sprinkled. across 60s girl groups such as The Ronettes.
But music critics have often attributed the song’s success to its musical ambiguity, giving it an endearing appeal.
18. But she did lift it firmly into the 2010s once.
For his 2011 stab at the ol’ Christmas album, Justin Bieber duetted with Carey for the song as part of his Under the Mistletoe album. Proving that Carey is truly a philanthropist when it comes to helping the less-talented.
19. In less than a day, two million people watched an all-star cover version of the song.
Where were YOU when in 2016 when the episode of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke dropped with Carey in the passenger seat?
In a car crammed with beautifully-wrapped presents, Corden and Carey cap off the year with a rendition of the song featuring a constellation of celebrities.
It featured Adele, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Elton John, Selena Gomez, Gwen Stefani, Chris Martin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all singing along.
20. It’s at its strongest on Christmas Eve.
T’was the night before Christmas, and “All I Want for Christmas is You” was blasting all through the house.
Last year, “All I Want for Christmas is You” topped Spotify’s all-time record for the most-streamed song in a single day on Christmas Eve, with just under 11 million streams.
21. People will never stop listening to ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.
Ever since downloads and streams have been included in chart eligibility, “All I Want for Christmas is You” has re-entered the UK top 40 every year since 2007.
In other words, long live the Queen!
22. The song was recorded at Carey’s update New York pad.
Santa has his grotto, Carey has her castle.
For the first recording for the song, it took place in California complete with a live band. But the final session was done at the musician’s home in New York.
23. Japan loves it as well, but for a reason you probably didn’t expect.
One woman’s struggle to find happiness and love – this is the premise of 29 years old Christmas, a popular TV drama in Japan.
“All I Want for Christmas is You” is also the theme song of the show after it became the best selling single in the country.
24. Mariah Carey, after usurping Jesus Christ as the spirit of Christmas, managed to make the song even more aggressively festive.
In 2010, Carey re-recorded the song for her thirteenth studio and second-holiday album, Merry Christmas II You. Titled “All I Want for Christmas is You (Extra Festive)”.
The song became extra gay as a result.
25. If she wanted to (please don’t, please) Mariah Carey could retire on the royalties alone.
The Economist revealed that the four-minute hit has earned Mariah more than $60 million royalties since its November 1994 release.
26. Finally, it’s not the first song to be called ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.
Carey actually shares the song title with a 1989 Vince Vance & The Valiants tune also called “All I Want for Christmas is You”.
The country song sounds nothing like Carey’s, considering that she actually invented the very concept of hearing so we could listen to her music, and revolves around the singer telling their partner that they do not need “expensive things” for the holidays, “’cause all I want for Christmas is you.”