On this day in 1994, Mariah Carey released her world-renowned cover of ‘Without You’ as the third single from her Diamond-certified album ‘Music Box’. In a number of countries, including Australia and the US, the single was released as a double A-side with ‘Never Forget You’.
Originally recorded by Badfinger in 1970, it was Harry Nilsson’s 1971 version of ‘Without You’ which inspired Mariah to cover the song. Over the years, it has reportedly been covered by more than 180 different artists, however Mariah’s rendition has had the most impactful legacy.
Harry Nilsson’s version was a #1 hit in six major music markets and remains the second-most successful rendition, however Mariah’s cover took the song to new heights all around the world, and remains the biggest hit of her career in Europe.
Mariah’s ‘Without You’ topped the charts in over ten countries and was remarkably her first #1 in many regions, including the UK, where it stayed on top for four weeks and was certified Platinum. It spent ten weeks at #1 in Switzerland, eight weeks in Austria and Sweden, seven weeks in Belgium, five weeks in Ireland and the Netherlands, four weeks in Germany and Iceland, two weeks in Scotland, and one week in New Zealand.
Elsewhere it charted inside the Top 10, notably peaking at #2 in France and Denmark, #3 in both Australia and the US, and #4 in Canada.
The music video, which was taken from a live performance at Proctor’s Theatre in New York, appears on Mariah’s YouTube channel twice, and collectively the two videos have received over 422 million views.
Mariah’s version of ‘Without You’ has been used in countless talent shows globally, with the most memorable being contestant Valentina Hasan during the 2008 Bulgarian television show ‘Music Idol’. The audition spawned a global meme called “Ken Lee”, which even Mariah herself has acknowledged.