Avid chart watchers and Mariah Carey fans know that the elusive chanteuse has more No. 1 singles than everyone except the Beatles, with 18 Hot 100 chart toppers.
But they also know she’s been stuck at that number for ten years, ever since her last No. 1 hit, “Touch My Body,” did the trick in 2008. I’m sure that fact hasn’t escaped her either; Mariah was well known for her Billboard chart awareness and savvy back in her heyday.
For the past decade, it appeared that Mimi would never add to her total, with only two top ten hits in that timeframe and none of them climbing into the top five.
But one of those two songs is poised to climb into that elite territory next week and give Mariah her best chance in years of reaching the chart’s pinnacle. It’s that inescapable ear worm that comes around once a year during this season and is enjoying its highest chart success yet, the perennial classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
On the most recent Hot 100 chart dated December 15, the festive 1994 holiday hit reached its highest position yet as it made a reindeer leap from No. 14 to No. 7 during its annual return to the list. That puts it above its previous high of No. 9, where it peaked last Christmas season. And with two weekly chart periods left before radio abandons its Yuletide playlists altogether, “All I Want For Christmas” appears to have the momentum it needs to overtake the songs above it and possibly reach No. 1.
It’s a long shot, but getting that elusive 19th No. 1 would be especially satisfying for Mariah Carey and her devoted fans who’ve had to endure some tough jabs over the years, particularly as Mariah has morphed into the 2010s version of her self: one who hasn’t seen a cleavage-revealing outfit she didn’t like and one who’s had more than her share of not-so-great YouTube moments in the recent past.
And while Mariah has always come across as indifferent to what people think or say about her – especially the haters – if there’s one thing she’s conscious of it’s her place in Billboard chart history. Her and her former record label’s marketing savvy in the 1990s is legendary (some of those 18 No. 1s owe their status to it), and it wouldn’t be surprising to find out she’s unleashing a full-on social media blitz during the days leading up to Christmas to get “All I Want” to the top.
But the rewards would not be insignificant.
“All I Want For Christmas” reaching No. 1 would place her just one behind the Beatles, who had 20 chart toppers. It would also extend her lead among solo artists overall (Elvis had 17) and solo women (Rihanna has 14). And for those who like to split hairs, it would also finally push her past Diana Ross’ combined 18 No. 1s (twelve with the Supremes and six without).
It would give Mariah a span of 28 years and four months covering her first No. 1, 1990’s “Vision Of Love,” through the latest. That would move her past Cher, whose four solo No. 1s spanned 27 years and two months between “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” and “Believe.” (Of course, Cher also hit No. 1 in 1965 in a duet with her late ex-husband Sonny Bono on “I Got You Babe,” which expands her overall window – solo or otherwise – beyond Mariah’s.)
Finally, “All I Want For Christmas” would give Mariah Carey only the second Christmas song ever to top the Hot 100. Before the chart was inaugurated 60 years ago, a handful of Christmas songs topped Billboard’s predecessor lists, but only one has topped its marquee chart of record since August 1958, the novelty hit “The Chipmunk Song” by the Chipmunks (David Seville).
Thus, topping the Hot 100 would solidify her song’s place in history as the most enduring Christmas classic of the past 25 years, one that is as essential to Christmas today as Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” or Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” maybe even more so. “All I Want” has already been No. 1 for 31 of the 36 total weeks that Billboard has published its perennial Holiday 100 charts since 2011.
Of course, all of this is hypothetical and there are still those six songs ahead of her on the current chart (not to mention another surprise new single, “Imagine,” by Ariana Grande that was released Friday, Dec. 14) that Ms. Carey has to contend with.
So will Mariah and her fans have an additional reason to break out the egg nog and celebrate this Christmas season?
We will know in about ten days from now, when the chart dated December 29 is revealed. Or maybe even sooner if it gets enough of a lift to top the December 22 list (revealing this Monday, 12/17).
Mariah would have to do it soon though, because there are only ten days left before Christmas 2018, and then the song will retreat into hibernation and out of America’s consciousness (and off the charts) for another year.
Mariah fans, here’s how you can help your girl’s cause: download and stream the heck out of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for your holiday parties or during your gift-wrapping activities over the next ten days.
Mimi is counting on you!