Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas”

Received: November 1, 1994

Genre: Christmas • R&B • Gospel

Label: Columbia

Producer: Mariah Carey ・Walter Afanasieff ・Loris Holland


In recent years, Mariah Carey has been dubbed the “Queen of Christmas,” & rightfully so. There’s no doubt that no one loves Christmas more than the elusive chanteuse.

By 1994, Mariah Carey was a household name, especially after the international success of her third studio album Music Box, which remains one of her best selling albums and is one of the best selling albums of all time, selling over 28 million worldwide.

There was talk of another project after the success of Music Box, but the people were shocked to find out that it was going to be a holiday album. Titled Merry Christmas, the singer’s debut Christmas album (her fourth overall) was released November 1, 1994.

At that time, people normally recorded Christmas albums after their career was starting to wane or dwindle. However with Mariah being less than five years into her career, it was possibly one of the greatest things she could have ever done.

An album with elements of gospel, traditional Christmas music and soul, Mariah made sure the album would be an eventful holiday album and give a “Christmas” feel to it. Mariah definitely understood the assignment, because Merry Christmas is everything a holiday album should be: soulful, fun and a joyous occasion.

Merry Christmas is truly one of the greatest holiday albums of all time…selling over 15 million copies worldwide. It has charted every year since its release, certifying 8x platinum in the United States alone.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas.

Silent Night

Written by Franz Xaver Gruber

The album opens with the traditional Christmas classic Silent Night. A cover of Franz Xaver Gruber’s masterpiece, Mariah’s version of Silent Night is truly unforgettable.

All I Want for Christmas Is You

Mariah Carey All I Want for Christmas Is You

Written by Mariah Carey ・Walter Afanasieff

I just want you for my own. More than you could ever know. Make my wish come true! All I Want for Christmas is You, baby!

Mariah Carey, 1994

If you thought All I Want For Christmas Is You was a traditional Christmas song, you thought wrong. The song was written by Mariah and her frequent collaborator at the time, which was Walter Afanasieff. It’s crazy how a song the two composed and wrote in 15 minutes is truly one of the greatest holiday songs of all time.

All I Want for Christmas Is You is an uptempo song with elements of soul , gospel, & dance-pop, sounding like a 60s holiday record. Lyrically, the song speaks to wanting her lover for a gift and not caring about the material aspects of the holiday.

Initially the song was ineligible for inclusion on the Billboard Hot 100 after the song was not released commercially as a single in any physical format, but 25 years after its initial release, the song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2019, giving Mariah her 19th number one, and has beaten the records of going number one in 4 consecutive decades (1990, 2000, 2010, 2020) and one of the longest jumps to number one in a long time.

The song goes to number one every year and has recently gone number one at the time this post was written, and has accumulated over one BILLION streams. LEGENDARY DAMN IT!

O Holy Night

Written by Adolphe Adam

The cover of the classical holiday song O Holy Night is truly one of the highlights of the Merry Christmas album.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Written by Phil Spector Jeff Barry Ellie Greenwich

First things first, we love the legendary Darlene Love, who is the original singer of the R&B holiday classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)…which was produced by Phil Spector. However, Mariah gave Darlene her flowers with this fantastic and upbeat cover. Whew!

Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)

Written by Mariah Carey ・Walter Afansieff

Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) is one of the most saddest Christmas songs because lyrically it is about missing the love of her life. It is an original song created just for the album. It really makes me think of the love I miss the most around the holiday season so it totally hits home.

Joy to the World

Written by Traditional ・Hoyt Aston

Joy to the World is one of the world’s most famous Christmas carols, so it wouldn’t have felt right if Mariah didn’t cover this ultimate fan favorite!

Jesus Born on This Day

Written by Mariah Carey ・Walter Afanasieff

Another original record written by Mariah & Walter, Jesus Born on This Day is a song of rejoice that on Christmas Day he was given to the world, and how he is our light and salvation.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

Written by John Frederick Coots ・Haven Gillespie

Like the many covers on this album, Mariah made Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town her own with her magical touch,

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)

Written by William Hayman Cummings ・Felix Mendelssohn ・Traditional

A melody of two classic Christmas carols, Mariah understood the assignment when it came to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)

Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child

Written by Traditional

The original pressing of the album closes with the traditional record Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child. This is definitely one of my favorite records on the album because Mariah give it a soulful and gospel feel with the choir and her amazing vocals. Whew just an amazing song.

Mariah Carey continues to spread holiday cheer every year since the release of the Merry Christmas album and has released a sequel album (Merry Christmas II You from 2010,) and even a Christmas television special. Mariah taking that risk early in her career truly paid off because now making Christmas albums isn’t seen as your career is fading or anything of that nature. Merry Christmas is truly a masterpiece generations will enjoy for years to come. -MW

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