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."
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, 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.
-  BPI Entertainment News Wire, United States, 1994-01
-  Even though Nilsson wasn't the first to record "Without You," it's fair in this context to refer to his version as the "original" since it was the hit version and because Carey's version is based on the arrangement of Nilsson's, not Badfinger's recording of the song
-  The Age (Melbourne, Australia), David Saunders (1994-02-25) "Singles - Mariah Carey "Without You""