Happy couple having fun while singing on Christmas party.
Category: Discovery & Impact

Title: Grammy-Nominated Professor Explains Why Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ Is So Popular

You can’t go through the holiday season without hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

It’s the Christmas hit that has broken record after record, selling over 16 million copies worldwide — making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. And it’s broken the record for the most played song on Spotify in a single day four times, peaking with over 21 million streams on Christmas Eve in 2022. This year, the hit has notched its 13th week at the very top of the music charts.

Carlos Simon, an associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and composer and musician, says that what makes Carey’s song resonate with millions of people around the world every year is the song’s ability to weave different musical genres and techniques together.

“The secret is that it has something for everyone and that it doesn’t belong to one genre,” says Simon, who was nominated for a Grammy in 2022. “It embraces elements ranging from 19th century music like The Nutcracker to 60s rock and roll.”

From the opening chimes to the so-called “money note” that you can’t help but try to hit yourself, watch Simon go behind the composition and explain what makes this Christmas classic really sing.

Watch the Ask a Professor With Carlos Simon

Thumbnail with Ask a Professor Logo and Mariah Carey in the background