On Aug. 4, 1990, Mariah Carey notched her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her debut single, “Vision of Love.”
In the May 26 issue, Billboard had reviewed the song in a “New and Noteworthy” spotlight, foreshadowing the historic success that she’s since achieved: “Retro-flavored pop/R&B ballad has all the elements necessary to propel newcomer to diva status: infectious melodies, lush instrumentation and a vocal performance brimming with unbridled power and confidence.”
“Vision” became Carey’s first of 19 Hot 100 No. 1s, the most among soloists, and one shy of The Beatles’ overall-record 20. She most recently reigned in December 2019-January 2020 with her 1994 holiday classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which completed the longest-ever rise to the top from a song’s release.
Carey has logged a record 82 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and owns the longest span of leading the list in any artist’s solo career: 29 years and five months, from her first week atop the chart with “Vision” through “Christmas.” She is the only soloist to have topped the Hot 100 in four distinct decades (1990s, 2000s, ’10s and ’20s) and has ruled in a record 16 separate years.
“Vision” also became Carey’s first of 10 No. 1s on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and her first of seven leaders on Adult Contemporary. Meanwhile, her self-titled 1990 debut album become her first of six No. 1 sets on the Billboard 200.
Carey was honored with the Icon Award at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards. “I guess I’ve always felt like an outsider, someone who doesn’t quite belong anywhere,” she mused in her acceptance speech.” And I still feel like that lost interracial child who had a lot of nerve to believe I could succeed at anything at all in this world. But I did believe, because I had to. The truth is I’ve dedicated my life to my music, my saving grace.
“And my fans, who are unlike any other entity that I’ve ever known, they’ve lifted me with their devotion and love. And to anyone who’s ever told me that a song I wrote helped save your life, I thank you, because you saved mine.”