Today marks the anniversary of the timeless Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men collaboration, ‘One Sweet Day‘.
The song was released as the second single from Mariah’s Diamond-certified ‘Daydream‘, which remains one of the best-selling albums in history. It has since appeared on numerous compilation albums from both artists.
Mariah began writing the song after losing her close friend and collaborator David Cole of C&C Music Factory, and after deciding Boyz II Men would be a great addition to the track, it turned out group member Nathan Morris had also begun writing a similar song dedicated to the group’s road manager who had passed away.
All four members of the group at the time came together to complete the song with Mariah, as well as Walter Afanasieff, and the end result was a song which continues to touch millions of people around the world who have experienced grief, and are comforted by hope they will see their loved ones again “one sweet day”.
The song debuted at #1 in the US, becoming Mariah’s second single to do so, and it made Boyz II Men the first group in history to have a single debut at #1. It remained at the peak of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for sixteen weeks, becoming the longest-running #1 single in history, and it held that phenomenal record for 23 years.
‘One Sweet Day’ was Mariah’s tenth chart-topper in the US, and Boyz II Men’s fourth. It was Boyz II Men’s third single to spend more than ten weeks at #1 following ‘End of The Road’ with thirteen weeks, and ‘I’ll Make Love To You’ with fourteen weeks, and it was Mariah’s first to cross the ten-week mark (she subsequently achieved this feat again in 2005 with ‘We Belong Together’ spending fourteen weeks on top of the chart). ‘One Sweet Day’ has been certified 3x Platinum in the US and earned numerous awards including ‘Song of The Year’ at 1997’s BMI Pop Music Awards. In December 1999, Billboard magazine ranked the song at #1 on the ‘Hot 100 Singles Of The 90s’ chart.
Internationally, the song charted within the Top 10 in over ten countries, and peaked at #1 in Canada and New Zealand. In Australia, the song has been certified 3x Platinum.
Mariah and Boyz II Men have performed ‘One Sweet Day’ together live a number of times, including at Mariah’s 1995 Madison Square Garden concert, opening the 1996 Grammy Awards, a tribute for Princess Diana in 1997, BET’s Christmas Remembrances Special in 2001, and Mariah’s 2006 ‘Adventures of Mimi’ concert in Anaheim. There was also a television studio performance of the song as part of Molly Meldrum’s exclusive ‘Daydream’ interview which aired in Australia in December 1995.
Both artists have continued to feature the song on their concert set-lists since its release. Boyz II Men are known to ask the crowd to sing Mariah’s parts, and over the years Mariah has either performed with a recording of the group appearing on a large screen behind her, or along with background singer Trey Lorenz and musical director Daniel Moore on stage. In 2014, during her ‘Elusive Chanteuse Show’ world tour, Mariah and Australian singer Nathaniel performed the song together in Melbourne. In 2016, during her ‘Sweet Sweet Fantasy’ world tour, Mariah dedicated a performance of the song to Prince, who had just passed.
A four-track digital EP for ‘One Sweet Day‘ was released in 2020 with its re-written and re-sung remixes, as well as the 1995 Madison Square Garden performance. The music video, which is available on Mariah’s YouTube channel and has exceeded 243 million views, was remastered in HD, and Mariah’s live performance of the song from Japan’s Tokyo Dome in 1996 was also made available as part of ‘The Rarities‘.