Mariah Carey burst onto the scene with her first single ‘Vision of Love’ in 1990 and her career since then has been filled with incredible success. She was the queen of pop, and the 90s was HER decade. However, a closer look into her music shows that she was frequently looking back at her teenage years and the previous decade – the 80s.

So, are you always associating Mariah with the funky 90s?? Well, you’re wrong! Here’s why listening to her music can be a bit of an education in all things 80’s…


Just Be Good To Me – 1993 / from 1983

Originally performed by the SOS Band, Mariah performed this live for her Music Box tour in 1993 and her Daydream tour in 1996. She admits it is one of her favourite ‘old school’ songs!

 

Open Arms – 1995 / from 1984

She first recorded an 80’s song in 1995 when she covered Journey’s ‘Open Arms’ for her Daydream album. A big hit for the band back in 1984, she had worked with Steve Smith and Randy Jackson from Journey earlier in her career. It was only a matter of time, right?

 

The Beautiful Ones – 1997 / from 1984

Prince fans will recognise this straight away from the Purple Rain album and movie. Such a great song, and Mariah certainly agreed as she covered it for her Butterfly album in 1997 (slightly slowed down in tempo).

 

Sweetheart – 1998 / from 1986

Where did Mariah turn to when she wanted an extra song for her 1#’s album? The 80s of course! Originally recorded by Rainy Davis, at the time she said she recorded Sweetheart because she ‘didn’t have one’ after her divorce from Tommy Mottola.

 

I Still Believe – 1998 / from 1988

As a thank you to Brenda K Starr for taking her to the party which gave her her big break and record deal, this was also on her #1’s album. Brenda had a hit with it back in 1988.

 

Against All Odds – 1999 / from 1984

A huge hit for Phil Collins for the movie soundtrack of the same name, Mariah loved it so much, she recorded it a second time with Westlife.

 

Bringin’ On The Heartbreak – 2002 / from 1981

Def Leppard and Mariah Carey? Who would have thought? Praised by Phil Collen himself, he said he was ‘honoured’ she had covered it. Win for Mariah!

 

I Want To Know What Love Is – 2009 / from 1984

How 80s can you get Mariah? Tackling one of the big power ballads of the decade, she did it justice on her Memoirs album.

 

One More Try – 2014 / from 1987

Even just last year, she had to go back to the 80s again and re-do George Michael’s ballad ‘One More Try’. She kept it very close to his version too, on Me, I am Mariah.


And Mariah didn’t stop there, she has sampled many great 80’s songs:

Genius of Love (1981) – sampled in ‘Fantasy’ in 1995

‘Fantasy’ famously had that great sample from ‘Genius of Love’ by Tom Tom Club.

 

The Body Rock (1980)  and Hey! DJ (1984) – both sampled in ‘Honey’ in 1997

‘Honey’ sampled one of Treacherous Three’s most well known songs, as well as ‘Hey! DJ’, originally recorded by The World’s Famous Supreme Team.

 

Attack of The Name Game (1982) – sampled in “Heartbreaker” in 1999

Where would this song be without this Stacy Lattisaw sample?

 

And to finish off, a little 80’s snap for you:

Mariah with Will Smith in 1988! She was just 18 and he was 19.

Take a listen to these songs and feel like you’re in your legwarmers again!