It’s Mariah Carey’s 43rd birthday today and while we’ve enjoyed watching her on American Idol this season, we really want to celebrate the singer herself, who’s been in this business for nearly half her life.

Here are five of Mariah’s biggest songs that helped pave her way to superstardom.

“Vision Of Love” 1990

Most people hadn’t heard of Mariah before “Vision Of Love,” off her self-titled debut, but once they heard that ballad they needed more. She would go on to have three other number one singles off that album including “Someday” and “Love Takes Time.”

“Emotions” 1991

The next year she released her second album Emotions, and showed off her signature whistle range, fluttering up and down the scale showing off every one of her four octaves. The song soon became her fifth consecutive number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, making her the first artist to ever hold that honor.

“Hero” 1993

Mariah proved she was an expert balladeer on her second single, “Hero,” off of her 1993 album, Music Box. The song, which was originally intended for Gloria Estefan, quickly became her 8th number one single and is still the most requested song in her catalogue. Not to mention it’s been performed more than a few times on American Idol.

“Fantasy” 1995

Sure, “One Sweet Day” featuring Boyz II Men off of Daydream spent a record-setting 16 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was one of the biggest selling singles of that year, but it was “Fantasy” that made Mariah the R&B/pop diva we know and love. The summery bubblegum pop song helped transition her to a hip-hop audience thanks to some producing help from Sean Combs—who was just Puff Daddy back then—and a verse from Wu-Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard. And who could ever forget that video?

“Honey” 1997

On Butterfly, Mariah went through a sexy transformation, ditching her usually demure looks for something a little more revealing. In the video for “Honey” she’s cast as a new top of Bond girl and even remakes Ursula Andress’ classic beach scene from 1962’s Dr. No. The change seemed to pay off. The song went on to become her 12th Hot 100 chart topper and broke the three-way tie betwee her, Madonna and Whitney Houston for 9th place on the list of most number 1 hits. 

Of course, Mariah has many, many, many other hits. Currently, she is the best selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold and 18 number one singles, according to SoundScan. So sit back, relax and enjoy your 43rd, Mariah!

– Shannon Carlin,


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