No, it’s not time to begin playing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” just yet (unless that’s your thing), but the tune has hit the news again. Sadly, it’s not because it’s reached a new sales milestone or returned to the charts, but for a less-than-jolly reason.
Carey has been slapped with a lawsuit by a musician claiming she and her collaborators ripped off his work to create “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
The complaint was filed in New Orleans by songwriter Andy Stone, who most fans know by his moniker Vince Vance. He is a member of the band Vince Vance & the Valiants, who have been together since the ’70s and who are known for their sometimes comedic country-pop tunes.
Vince Vance & the Valiants released a song called “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in 1989, several years before Carey would change the world with hers.
A quick look at the group’s Spotify page shows that it is far and away their most popular track, as it’s racked up more than four million plays, putting it ahead of the second-most-popular cut, “Bomb Iran”.
The suit names Carey, her co-writer Walter Afanasieff, and Sony Music Entertainment. Stone is charging them with a number of infractions, and the musician is seeking $20 million in damages.
While the two songs do have the same name, it seems like that’s where the similarities end. They don’t share lyrics or melodies, nor have they both reached the same levels of popularity.
Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the rare song that appears to only become more and more popular as time goes on.
Originally released in October 1994, the track served as the lead single from Carey’s first holiday album Merry Christmas. Despite being well-received and popular among her fans at the time, it wasn’t until 2000 that the cut reached the Hot 100 for the first time, due to a number of odd Billboard chart rules.
Since then, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has remained one of the most successful and beloved holiday songs of all time. It finally hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 2019, becoming Carey’s nineteenth leader, after years of reaching new peaks with each passing Christmas season.
Now, for the past several Christmases, the blockbuster has returned to the summit for a few frames before disappearing entirely, only to return again when the weather turns cold once more.
In 2017, The Economist estimated that “All I Want for Christmas Is You” had generated at least $60 million in revenue.
How much Carey or Afanasieff have personally earned for co-writing the hit isn’t clear, but as the people who actually put pen to paper to create it, they have surely made millions (if not tens of millions) from the song.
Its incredible popularity has also led to Carey touring on the tune, releasing more holiday music, and creating a small empire based around just that one title.
All that money has surely incentivized Stone and his team to attempt to secure at least a small bit for themselves, even if it took them more than a quarter of a century to file the suit.
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