Skip to main content

20/20 ‘Vision’: Mariah Marks Milestone

Twenty years ago today, Mariah Carey wrote the first chapter in what has become one of the most impressive Billboard chart histories.

Twenty years ago today, Mariah Carey wrote the first chapter in what has become one of the most exceptional Billboard chart discographies.

Carey’s debut single, “Vision of Love,” entered the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Adult Contemporary in the issue dated June 2, 1990. The song would become her first of 18 Hot 100 No. 1s, the most among solo artists in the chart’s 52-year history. Among all acts, only the Beatles, with 20, have more No. 1s.

In addition to her historic No. 1 total on the Hot 100, Carey has tallied 15 toppers on Dance/Club Play Songs, 11 on Radio Songs and 10 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

Carey’s career U.S. album sales stand at 52.6 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which began tracking sales data a year after her arrival. In that span, only Garth Brooks (68.4 million) and the Beatles (60.9 million) rank higher. Carey has sent six albums to the Billboard 200 summit, including her best-selling set, 1995’s “Daydream” (7.6 million).

“Daydream” yielded the 16-week Hot 100 No. 1 “One Sweet Day,” with Boyz II Men, marking the longest reign by any title in the chart’s history. The ballad subsequently earned the honor of Billboard’s top song of the ’90s. Carey’s 2005 14-week Hot 100 No. 1 “We Belong Together” likewise became the chart’s top title of the 2000s.

Here is a look at some of Mariah Carey’s most notable achievements, by the numbers, from her first 20 years of gracing Billboard surveys.

52.6 million
Carey’s career U.S. album sales, since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, the highest sum among female artists. Celine Dion ranks second among women with sales of 51 million, followed by Shania Twain (33.9 million), Britney Spears (31.5 million) and Reba McEntire (29.3 million).

17.2 million
Carey’s career U.S. physical singles sales, according to SoundScan. Her best-selling single is “One Sweet Day,” with sales to date of 2,334,000.

13.8 million
Carey’s career U.S. digital song sales, according to SoundScan. Her most-downloaded track is “All I Want for Christmas is You,” with sales to date of 1,582,000.

Total No. 1s that Carey has scored on the following charts: Hot 100 (18), Dance/Club Play Songs (15), Radio Songs (11), Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales, R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Singles Sales (10 each), Hot Dance Singles Sales (7), Adult Contemporary, Billboard 200, Pop Songs (6 each), Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop, R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Hot Video Clips (5 each), R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (4), Hot Dance Airplay, Digital Songs, Top Video Music Sales (3 each), Adult R&B (2), Adult Pop Songs, Dance/Electronic Albums, Digital Albums, Holiday Albums, Holiday Songs, Internet Albums, Top Pop Catalog (1 each).

Record total weeks that Carey has spent perched in the Hot 100’s penthouse. The Beatles boast the second-most weeks on top (59), followed by Boyz II Men (50), Usher (46) and Michael Jackson (37).

Number of Hot 100 appearances Carey has logged, from “Vision of Love” in 1990 through “Up Out My Face,” featuring Nicki Minaj, in March. Among women, Carey stands in sixth place for most chart visits, trailing Aretha Franklin (73), Dionne Warwick (56), Madonna (55), Connie Francis (53) and Brenda Lee (48). From her arrival on June 2, 1990, through the chart week of June 5, 2010, the only acts with more Hot 100 entries are Jay-Z (60), Lil Wayne (56), the “Glee” cast (53), R. Kelly (49) and Ludacris (44).

Carey’s total Hot 100 top 10s, tied with Janet Jackson and Elton John for fifth-most all-time. Only Madonna (37), the Beatles (34), Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder (28 each) have appeared in the top tier more often. Since June 2, 1990, Carey’s top 10 sum leads all acts. Janet Jackson and Madonna are second in that span with 19 top 10s each.

Carey’s total top five Hot 100 hits; all of her top 10 tracks except for “Obsessed” (No. 7, 2009) have reached the top five, most among all artists dating to her first chart appearance. Janet Jackson is next with 16 top fives in the last 20 years.

The number of Hot 100 leaders Carey has earned. Since her first No. 1 in 1990, that’s twice as many as the runner-up in that span, Usher. Janet Jackson has seven No. 1s in that stretch, followed by Rihanna (six) and Beyonce, Boyz II Men, Diddy, Ludacris and Madonna (five each).

Weeks atop the Hot 100 for Carey and Boyz II Men’s 1995-96 No. 1 “One Sweet Day,” most in the chart’s history. Carey and Boyz II Men each also own the chart’s second-longest reign, with “We Belong Together” and “I’ll Make Love to You,” respectively, among the six songs to lead for 14 weeks each.