Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’: An essential Christmas cover song
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
By Krystal Lorritts, Studio M staff //
“This is one of my favorite songs from childhood; it’s all of ours,” Kelly Clarkson tells the crowd as the band plays the iconic first chords of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Ever since Carey released the album “Merry Christmas” on Nov. 1, 1994, that song has embodied the Christmas spirit.
This holiday season, an animated film based on the hit song arrives. The movie follows young Mariah who comes across a dog named Princess and figures out that all she wants for Christmas is the cute pooch. But for Mariah to get Princess, she has to pet-sit another dog, Jack, that turns Mariah and her family’s holiday upside down. (Mariah Carey narrates the story and Breanna Yde voices young Mariah.)
The song has been covered over the last decade by an array of stars in several genres, including My Chemical Romance, Lady Antebellum, Tori Kelly, Fifth Harmony and Michael Buble.
The single has been deemed the best-selling Christmas single of all time by Billboard and Hollywood Reporter, a title many are still struggling to beat, and it was certified quintuple platinum by Recording Industry Association of America.
“I look at it more of me giving my little contribution to the world of Christmas songs, and hopefully my fans will enjoy them,” Carey explained during a CBS interview in 1994.
During a “Good Morning America” interview in 1994, Carey was informed the track had sold over 7 million copies and it had only been out for three weeks.
Elvis Presley comes close second with 15 million copies sold worldwide since his Christmas album has been released. For her album, Carey not only covered the classics, she also wrote three original songs.
“In fact, that’s another reason why ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ makes us so happy: It reminds us of the great ’60s and ’70s Motown covers of prewar Christmas classics, such as the Jackson 5’s bopping version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” or Stevie Wonder’s joyful reading of “The Christmas Song.” Carey’s song gives us a double shot of mid-20th-century nostalgia,” Adam Raguesa, wrote in a 2015 article for Slate.com.
Raguesa goes on into detail about Carey’s ranges and variety of technicalities in the song. This could also be a factor why so many artists cover the song: There’s so much room to show off vocals and runs.
Krystal Lorritts is a junior in journalism at Middle Tennessee State University.
Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU, allows student journalists to be published statewide and nationwide. It’s made possible through grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.