It wasn't meant to be a tribute, but Mariah Carey's recording of "Without You" turns out to be an ironic reminder of the artistry of Harry Nilsson, the man who had a No. 1 hit with the song 22 years ago. Carey's remake debuts on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart next week at No. 53, just a week after Nilsson died of a heart attack at age 52. It's the first-ever remake of one of Nilsson's 10 chart entries to return to the Hot 100. It was also Nilsson's biggest hit, spending four weeks at the top of the chart. While he wrote most of his own hits, like "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City" and "Me and My Arrow," Nilsson also covered other writers' tunes, like Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" and Pete Ham and Tom Evans' "Without You."[1]


Harry Nilsson would turn in his grave if he heard this insipid rendition of his standard. Bereft of any feeling and lacking the vocal dynamic's of Nilsson's original[2], smart marketing will none the less heighten the assumption that Carey is one of the world's greatest songstresses. The tragedy is that after relentless exposure on commercial radio - as is almost guaranteed - more people will associate this song with Carey than with the person who really made it famous.[3]


Mariah Carey (; born March 27, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. An influential figure in popular music, she is known for her five-octave vocal range, melismatic singing style, and signature use of the whistle register. Carey is also credited with influencing vocal styles, merging hip-hop with pop through her collaborations, popularizing remixes, and helping break down racial barriers for multiracial Americans in popular culture. Referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" by Guinness World Records, she was ranked as the fifth greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, and has been dubbed the "Queen of Christmas" for the enduring popularity of her Christmas music, particularly the 1994 song "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which is the best-selling holiday song by a female artist. Carey rose to fame in 1990 with her self-titled debut album under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993. She is the only artist to date to have their first five singles reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, from "Vision of Love" to "Emotions". Carey gained worldwide success with her albums Music Box (1993) and Daydream (1995)―both of which rank among the best-selling albums and spawned singles such as "Dreamlover", "Hero", "Without You", "Fantasy", "Always Be My Baby" and "One Sweet Day". The lattermost of these topped the US Billboard Hot 100 decade-end chart (1990s). After separating from Mottola, Carey adopted a new urban image and began incorporating more hip-hop and R&B elements with the releases of Butterfly (1997) and Rainbow (1999). By the end of the 1990s, Billboard ranked Carey as the most successful artist of the decade in the United States. She left Columbia Records in 2001 after eleven consecutive years of US number-one singles and signed a record deal with Virgin Records. Following a highly publicized breakdown and the failure of her 2001 film Glitter and its accompanying soundtrack, Virgin bought out Carey's contract, and she signed with Island Records the following year. After a brief, mildly successful period, Carey returned to the top of the charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005) which became one of the best-selling albums of the 21st century. Its second single, "We Belong Together", topped the US Billboard Hot 100 decade-end chart (2000s). Her subsequent ventures included roles in the films Precious (2009), The Butler (2013), A Christmas Melody (2015), and The Lego Batman Movie (2017), being an American Idol judge, starring in the docu-series Mariah's World, performing multiple concert residencies, and publishing the memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey (2020). Carey is one of the best-selling music artists, with over 220 million records sold worldwide, and is an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress and the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 2019, Billboard named her the top-charting female solo artist, based on both album and song chart success. She holds the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles by a solo artist (19), a female songwriter (18), and a female producer (15), spending a record 93 weeks atop the chart. Carey is the highest-certified female artist in the United States and 10th overall, with 75 million certified album units. Among her accolades are 6 Grammy Awards (including the Global Impact Award), 10 American Music Awards, 20 Billboard Music Awards and 12 Guinness World Records.