#SheDidThat

October 12, 1991: Mariah Carey Made Billboard Hot 100 History When “Emotions” Hit No. 1

Photo: Waring Abbott/Getty Images

On October 12, 1991, Mariah Carey’s song, “Emotions,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first artist to have their first five consecutive singles reach No. 1. With her fifth chart-topping song, she surpassed The Jackson 5 who had held the record since 1970 with four No. 1 tunes. Captivating the world with her extraordinary five-octave range vocals, Carey became the epitome of 1990’s pop chart success, scoring a No. 1 song for every year of the decade. The pop diva continues to make hit records and dazzle fans with her versatile ability to craft evocative power pop ballads, catchy R&B hits and seamlessly blend her acrobatic vocals with a who’s who list of hip-hop artists.

Born on March 27, 1970 in Huntington, NY, she stunned her opera singer mother when at two years old she was able to imitate her mother’s sophisticated vocal range. Singing lessons started when she was four years old. When Carey graduated from high school, she dashed off to Manhattan to get her music career started. Thanks to her friendship with singer Brenda K. Starr, an 18-year-old Carey attended a CBS Records party that changed her life. With her demo tape in hand, she was about to pass it over to one major record exec, when Tommy Mottola, the President of Columbia Records at the time, intercepted the transaction. After listening to her music on his way home from the party, he was so enchanted by her vocal prowess that he signed Carey to his label.

Shuffling through her vast music catalogue, it is no surprise that Carey holds the Billboard record as the solo artist with the most No. 1 songs and has sold 200 million albums worldwide. Some highlights from her extensive discography include: “Vision of Love” (1990), “Someday” (1990),  “Dreamlover” (1993), “My All” (1993), “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (1994), “Fantasy” (1995), “Honey” (1997), and her duet with Whitney Houston, “When You Believe” (1998). Her 1995 duet with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” is still the longest-leading Hot 100 No. 1 song, staying at the top spot for 16 weeks.

She continued to generate hits in 2000s, including “We Belong Together” (2005) and “Touch My Body” (2008), which became her record-setting eighteenth No. 1 single. In addition to her 18 chart-topping singles, Carey’s won five Grammy Awards, 14 Billboard Music Awards, 19 World Music Awards, and 11 American Music Awards.

While continuing to put out hits, Carey still entertains audiences with her live performances, including a recent residency in Las Vegas, and the reality show “Mariah’s World.” Always dedicated to giving back to society, Carey has been an active fundraiser for The Fresh Air Fund. As the co-founder of Camp Mariah, she helps provide free summer vacations for underprivileged children in New York City.

Listen to “Emotions” on Spotify below:

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