Bing Crosby can stuff it. The Vienna Boys Choir can take the month off. If it's December, there's only one holiday crooner we want to hear from. It's been twenty years since Mariah Carey first released her classic anthem "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and the pop song still defines the holidays for many people across the globe.
Carey was only 24 when her manager and husband at the time, Tommy Mottola, convinced her to record the modern Christmas song. The song was reportedly written in just 15 minutes. Every year, it re-enters Billboard’s Holiday 100 Chart and remains one of Carey's best-selling downloads. The song had earned $50 million in royalties by 2013, according to the New York Post.
In recent years, pop stars from Ariana Grande to Justin Bieber to Fifth Harmony have tried to duplicate Carey's success with their own cover's of "All I Want For Christmas Is You." The song was also given its due in a crucial scene in "Love Actually," the British Christmas flick that has become another modern holiday classic.
"Mariah’s tried to outdo herself by re-recording it with a new intro, and then she tried it again with the [2011 duet] version with Justin Bieber," said producer Walter Afanasieff, who, co-produced Merry Christmas and co-wrote all three original songs on the Christmas album with Carey, including "All I Want For Christmas Is You." "You can’t reinvent the wheel when you’ve got something that, by the world’s standards, is already perfect. I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back, but it’s what everyone says: ‘We don’t want a new version; we don’t want an updated version, we just want that!'"
Afanasieff told Billboard he had no idea that song would be so popular. "Twenty years ago, Christmas music and Christmas albums by artists weren’t the big deal that they are today," he said. "Back then, you didn’t have a lot of artists with Christmas albums; It wasn’t a known science at all back then, and there was nobody who did new, big Christmas songs. So we were going to release it as kind of an everyday, 'hey, you know, we’re putting out a Christmas album. No big deal.' To think of it as a single that’s going to No. 1, that’s going to drive an album…we didn’t have an inkling of that."
Below are five of the best covers of "All I Want For Christmas Is You," including two by Carey herself, because it is Christmas, after all.