Chart Watch: Mariah Carey's Christmas classic finally cracks the top 10

Paul Grein

Twenty-three years after it was released, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has finally cracked the top 10 on the Hot 100. The holiday classic jumps from No. 11 to No. 9 in its 22nd chart week. It’s the first holiday recording to crack the top 10 since Kenny G’s New Year’s Eve-tied “Auld Lang Syne (The Millennium Mix),” which reached No. 7 in 2000. It’s the first Christmas recording by a female artist to crack the top 10 since Eartha Kitt’s eternally sexy “Santa Baby” (No. 4 in 1953). Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” reached No. 14 in 1960.

It’s rare for a recording that’s more than 20 years old to make the top 10, but there have been a few previous cases. Prince and the Revolution’s “Purple Rain” and his solo hit “When Doves Cry” (both from 1984) returned to the top 10 following his death in 2016. Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” (1961) returned to the top 10 after the release of the film of the same name in 1986. Carey’s case is unique in that her song hadn’t previously made the top 10.

You may be surprised to learn that “All I Want for Christmas Is You” didn’t hit the Hot 100 when it was released in 1994, but that was simply a reflection of chart rules at the time. Only tracks that were commercially available as singles were eligible to make the Hot 100. Carey’s song was available only as a promotional single to radio. In December 1998, the rules were changed to allow songs that weren’t commercially available as singles to chart. Carey’s song first hit the Hot 100 in January 2000, spending a week at No. 83. It beat that mark five years ago when it climbed to No. 21. It beat that mark two years ago, when it reached No. 11. And it reaches another new high this week.

Six years ago, Carey teamed with Justin Bieber for a new recording of the song, subtitled “SuperFestive!” Even though Bieber is once again red-hot, their duet version is long forgotten. The original is the real deal. As it turns out, it was quite festive enough.

Carey co-wrote “All I Want for Christmas Is You” with producer Walter Afanasieff. The two also co-wrote four of Carey’s other top 10 hits: “Can’t Let Go” (No. 2 in 1992), “Hero” (No. 1 in 1993), “One Sweet Day” (which they co-wrote with the members of Boyz II Men, No. 1 in 1995), and “My All” (No. 1 in 1998).

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” is Carey’s 28th top 10 hit. Impressively, Carey has been the lead artist on 25 of these songs and co-lead artist on the other three (collabos with Luther Vandross, Boyz II Men, and Busta Rhymes). This is Carey’s first top 10 hit since “Obsessed” reached No. 7 in September 2009. That eight-year gap between top 10 hits is the longest of Carey’s career.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” has sold 3,415,000 digital copies over the years. Carey’s Merry Christmas album, which contains the hit, has sold 5,584,000 copies in traditional album sales.

Note: Another holiday song, Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song,” reached No. 10 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart in 1995. That’s not the same as the Hot 100.

Top Songs

Ed Sheeran’s duet with Beyoncé, “Perfect,” holds at No. 1 for the second week in its 16th week on the Hot 100. It’s the first collaboration by a male solo artist and a female solo artist to reach No. 1 since “Cheap Thrills” by Sia, featuring Sean Paul, had four weeks on top last year.

“Perfect” sold 98K digital copies this week, which allows it to hold at No. 1 on Top Digital Songs for the third week. The song tops the 1 million mark this week. It’s the second million-seller from Sheeran’s current album, following “Shape of You,” which is up to 2,501,000. Two other current albums — Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic and Imagine Dragons’ Evolve — have also spawned two million-selling singles.

“Perfect” also holds at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart. It’s Sheeran’s second transatlantic No. 1, following “Shape of You.”

Post Malone’s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) holds at No. 2 in its 13th week. The song spent eight weeks at No. 1. “Rockstar” has spent each of its first 13 weeks at No. 1 or No. 2. The smash logs its 10th week at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Camila Cabello’s “Havana” (featuring Young Thug) holds at No. 3 in its 18th week. The song spent five weeks at No. 2.

Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” holds at No. 4 in its 14th week. The song peaked at No. 3.

Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” holds at No. 5 in its 33rd week. The song peaked at No. 4. “Thunder” logs its seventh week at No. 1 on Top Rock Songs.

“Motorsport” by Migos, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B vaults from No. 15 to No. 6 in its seventh week. It’s Migos’s second top 10 hit, Minaj’s 15th, and Cardi B’s third.

Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its 14th week. The song peaked at No. 4.

Halsey’s “Bad at Love” holds at No. 8 in its 15th week. Both Halsey and the Chainsmokers have had top 10 hits since their chart-topping 2016 collabo, “Closer.” The Chainsmokers have had two top 10 hits since that smash.

G-Eazy’s “No Limit” (featuring A$AP Rocky and Cardi B) drops from No. 7 to No. 10 in its 14th week.

Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” and Maroon 5’s “What Lovers Do” (featuring SZA) drop out of the top 10 this week.

Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be” logged its second week at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs at No. 1 last week.

Top Albums

Luke Bryan lands his fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as What Makes You Country dislodges U2’s Songs of Experience. It’s the fourth country album to top the “pop” chart in 2017, following Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes, Shania Twain’s Now, and Kenny Chesney’s Live in No Shoes Nation. Bryan’s album also enters Top Country Albums at No. 1, dislodging Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 2. It’s Bryan’s eighth album or EP to top the country chart.

Taylor Swift’s Reputation rebounds from No. 3 to No. 2 in its fifth week. The album spent its first three weeks on top.

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ inches up from No. 4 to No. 3 in its 41st week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1. The album tops the 1 million mark in traditional album sales this week. It’s the second album to reach that threshold in 2017, following Swift’s Reputation (which is up to 1,719,000 in traditional album sales). ÷ logs its 18th week at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart. That’s the longest run by any album since Adele’s 21 had 23 weeks on top in 2011-12. It’s the longest run by a male solo artist since Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii soundtrack also had 18 weeks on top in 1962.

Pentatonix’s 2016 album A Pentatonix Christmas inches up from No. 5 to No. 4 in its 20th chart week. The album spent two weeks at No. 1 in its first holiday season. It holds at No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fifth week.

Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 1 debuts at No. 5. It features tracks by Migos, Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Ty Dolla Sign and Kodak Black, among others.

Big Sean & Metro Boomin’s Double or Nothing debuts at No. 6. It’s the second collabo for both artists to reach the top 10. Big Sean climbed as high as No. 5 in 2016 with Twenty88, a collabo with Jhené Aiko. Metro Boomin climbed as high as No. 4 a few weeks ago with Without Warning, a collabo with 21 Savage and Offset. This is Big Sean’s sixth top 10 album overall.

Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 2 drops from its No. 2 peak to No. 7 in its second week.

Sam Smith’s The Thrill of It All dips from No. 7 to No. 8 in its sixth week. The album debuted at No. 1.

Michael Bublé’s 2011 album Christmas dips from No. 8 to No. 9 in its 62nd chart week. The album logged five weeks at No. 1 in its first holiday season. This is the seventh consecutive holiday season that Bublé’s album has cracked the top 10. Bublé’s album is the first album of any description to appear in the top 10 in seven consecutive years.

Post Malone’s Stoney inches up from No. 11 to No. 10 in its 53rd week. The album peaked at No. 4.

U2’s Songs of Experience tumbles from No. 1 to No. 13 in its second week. It’s the band’s second studio album in a row to log just a single week in the top 10. Songs of Innocence also experienced that fate. Of course, such falls are much more common than they used to be. Songs of Experience is the 12th album to fall from No. 1 out of the top 10 in 2017.

Three other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me drops from No. 6 to No. 26. Miguel’s War & Leisure drops from No. 9 to No. 29. Garth Brooks’s five-CD boxed set The Anthology: Part I: The First Five Years drops from No. 10 to No. 12.

The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas jumps from No. 32 to No. 28 in its 63rd chart week. The album has climbed as high as No. 23. The album is No. 1 on Top Soundtracks for the third week in a row (and the fifth week overall). The album has sold 3,696,000 copies in traditional album sales since Nielsen began tracking music sales in 1991. It sold millions more between its release in 1965 and 1991.

This week’s top soundtrack for a theatrically released film is Moana, which dips from No. 45 to No. 46 in its 56th week.

Barbra Streisand’s The Music … the Mem’ries … the Magic! debuts at No. 69. It’s Streisand’s eighth live album to crack the top 100.

Coming attractions: Eminem’s Revival is on track to debut at No. 1 next week. G-Eazy’s The Beautiful & Damned will vie with Swift’s album for No. 2. Also due: Jeezy’s Pressure, John Williams’s score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Happy holidays: Chart Watch is taking a two-week break over the holidays. May you always have a “bullet” on the chart of life.