In The Quantity Ones, I’m reviewing each single #1 single within the historical past of the Billboard Sizzling 100, beginning with the chart’s starting, in 1958, and dealing my method up into the current.
You may’t simply discuss “One Candy Day” as a music. Any dialogue of “One Candy Day” has to start out and finish with its completely insane run atop the Billboard Sizzling 100. In the present day, “One Candy Day” isn’t actually Boyz II Males’s greatest hit, and it’s positively not Mariah Carey’s greatest hit. However “One Candy Day” completely owned the Sizzling 100 for 4 stable months, longer than any single that had come earlier than. “One Candy Day” went on to carry that chart-champion title for 23 stable years. Hit songs will be ephemeral, however hit songs that transcend the metrics of hit songs are alleged to final without end. That hasn’t actually occurred with “One Candy Day,” and it’s value asking why.
Chart information are made to be damaged, and within the early ’90s, they had been damaged time and again. When Billboard began utilizing SoundScan to determine the Sizzling 100, hits virtually instantly began racking up longer and longer runs at #1. Over just a few years, plenty of songs had unprecedented stays on the prime — 13 weeks for “Finish Of The Street,” 14 weeks apiece for “I Will All the time Love You” and “I’ll Make Love To You.” That pattern reached its apex with “One Candy Day,” the chart colossus that merely couldn’t be overwhelmed till, lastly, it was.
Loads of elements went into the success of “One Candy Day.” Mariah Carey was already on prime of the world when she launched the monitor because the second single from her Daydream album, and like “Fantasy” earlier than it, “One Candy Day” debuted at #1. (“One Candy Day” was the fourth single — and the third consecutive chart-topper — to debut atop the Sizzling 100. Labels had found out that they may launch a music to radio, construct up curiosity, and then launch the one.) Mariah and Boyz II Males had been large stars at their peaks, and a collaboration like that may all the time really feel like an occasion. The “One Candy Day” single additionally got here out through the vacation season, when the pop charts are likely to develop comparatively static. Greater than the rest, although, “One Candy Day” was a sentimental ballad a few useless good friend. Songs like which have a common enchantment; everyone knows what it’s prefer to mourn somebody. Within the ’90s, ballads like that had been particularly dominant; fairly quickly, we’ll see extra songs like that on this column. In any case, “One Candy Day” was one good storm.
When Mariah Carey began writing “One Candy Day,” she was enthusiastic about one good friend particularly. Early in 1995, David Cole, a producer who’s been on this column as half of C+C Music Manufacturing facility, died from problems of AIDS on the age of 32. Cole and his C+C Music Manufacturing facility companion Robert Clivillés had first labored with Mariah on her 1991 LP Feelings, they usually’d co-written and co-produced that album’s chart-topping title monitor with Mariah. Mariah had gotten particularly shut with Cole throughout these classes.
When Cole died, Mariah was additionally fearful about her older sister Alison, who’d additionally examined constructive for HIV. They had been by no means particularly shut, however the considered dropping her sister hit Mariah exhausting. Alison remains to be alive at this time, although she and Mariah not communicate. In her 2020 memoir, Mariah repeatedly refers to Alison as “my ex-sister.” In any case, all of that was going via Mariah’s thoughts when she and her common collaborator Walter Afanasieff began writing “One Candy Day.”
Mariah and Afanasieff deliberately left “One Candy Day” unfinished. Whereas they had been developing with the music’s refrain, Mariah determined that the music would work a complete lot higher with Boyz II Males’s voices on it, and he or she wished to complete writing the music with the group. Mariah and her individuals arrange a gathering with Boyz II Males. After they heard “One Candy Day,” Boyz II Males had been shocked. Group member Nathan Morris had already been engaged on a really comparable music — identical theme, identical tempo, identical type of melody. Boyz II Males’s in-progress music was a goodbye to Khalil Rountree, their late tour supervisor. In 1992, when Boyz II Males had been on tour with MC Hammer, the 36-year-old Rountree was shot and killed in a Chicago lodge when a number of the lodge’s staff tried to rob him. His loss left the group shaken, and this new music was Morris’ try to course of that loss.
Ultimately, Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff labored collectively to mix these two songs of loss, hers and the one which Nathan Morris was writing, into one monitor. The members of Boyz II Males helped out, and all 4 of them obtained writing credit together with Walter Afanasieff. In its last type, “One Candy Day” doesn’t learn as a music about David Cole or Khalil Rountree. As an alternative, it’s a generic music about mourning somebody and searching ahead to seeing that particular person once more within the afterlife: “I do know you’re shining down on me from Heaven, like so many mates we’ve misplaced alongside the way in which/ And I do know ultimately we’ll be collectively one candy day.”
Mariah and Boyz II Males had been each extraordinarily busy after they recorded “One Candy Day,” in order that they needed to get the entire thing performed rapidly. There was no time to make a correct video, so director Larry Jordan introduced cameras into the studio on the day that Mariah and Boyz II Males recorded the music. Walter Afanasieff remembers the classes being frantic and chaotic as a result of there have been cameras in every single place and since the singers had been all having enjoyable goofing round collectively. Afanasieff was terrified that they wouldn’t end the music in time, however everybody nailed their elements in time for Boyz II Males to go do no matter that they had to do this night time. Mariah, fearful about her voice being overwhelmed, added extra vocals of her personal afterwards.
There’s a world the place “One Candy Day” is an easy, elegant music concerning the disappointment and craving and hope that encompass the demise of a liked one. In that world, although, “One Candy Day” most likely wouldn’t have held the #1 spot in a chokehold for 16 straight weeks. In any case, that’s our world. In our world, “One Candy Day” is a product of its time. “One Candy Day” got here out in a mid-’90s stretch when overwrought, oversung ballads dominated the pop charts, and by being extra overwrought and oversung than any of its opponents, “One Candy Day” dunked on all of them.
The “One Candy Day” manufacturing, from Afanasieff and Mariah herself, is solely utilitarian in that mid-’90s adult-contempo R&B method — echo everywhere in the drums, maintain everywhere in the keyboards, sufficient open area that the singers’ voices can simply run wild throughout every thing. And that’s completely what they do. I feel that Mariah will get a nasty rap for the way in which that she’s all the time used melisma. As a rule, I’d argue, she’s deployed it successfully, in ways in which served the songs whereas nonetheless showcasing the issues she was able to doing together with her voice. However on “One Candy Day,” it seems like she’s attempting to compete with the members of Boyz II Males — like everyone seems to be in a race to see what number of notes they will cram into every line.
If it’s a contest, then Mariah wins; she most likely will get 18 totally different syllables out of the world “smile.” For me, although, that sheer show of method cheapens “One Candy Day” and makes the music really feel weirdly self-serving. The music has a pleasant, sturdy central hook, and it helps that it’s obtained all 5 singers becoming a member of in collectively on that refrain fairly than ad-libbing over one another’s leads. However the remainder of the music will get misplaced within the sheer bombast of these 5 insanely gifted singers all flexing on one another. There’s a whole lot of gospel within the association of “One Candy Day,” and as with gospel, we’re alleged to get a sense of transcendence from listening to all these voices slicing unfastened. However it’s by no means labored for me. The self-satisfaction of these performances overwhelms the music itself, or possibly the music simply isn’t ok to shine via all of the vocal curlicues.
I usually take into account myself to be an enormous ol’ sap, and I simply misplaced my dad a few month in the past, so I ought to be a straightforward mark for a music like “One Candy Day.” However the music left me chilly in that stretch, between 1995 and 1996, when it beat the remainder of the pop chart into submission, and it nonetheless leaves me chilly at this time. I want I might join with “One Candy Day,” but it surely’s by no means labored for me.
Contemplating the vaguely prestige-y sheen on “One Candy Day,” in addition to its utter business dominance, it will’ve appeared like a reasonably good guess to scrub up on the 1996 Grammys. That present went down when the music was nonetheless sitting comfortably at #1. “One Candy Day” obtained a Document Of The Yr nomination, and Mariah Carey and Boyz II Males opened the present by performing it collectively. However Mariah Carey was fully shut out of the awards that 12 months. She misplaced to Seal and Alanis Morissette and Annie Lennox and Joni Mitchell. “One Candy Day” misplaced Finest Pop Collaboration With Vocals to the Chieftans and Van Morrison’s model of “Have I Informed You Currently.” The entire expertise pissed Mariah off mightily, and he or she didn’t carry out on the Grammys once more till 2006.
In 1997, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Males sang “One Candy Day” once more at Princess Diana’s memorial, which is sort of bizarre to consider. (The demise of Diana will determine into this column quickly.) Through the years, although, “One Candy Day” didn’t actually linger in the way in which so many different Mariah Carey songs have lingered. Spotify streams are an imperfect metric, but it surely’s value noting that Boyz II Males have a few songs with extra streams than “One Candy Day,” and Mariah Carey has a lot of them. A couple of Mariah Carey songs that didn’t even hit #1 have extra streams than “One Candy Day,” and “One Candy Day” barely has a tenth as many streams because the Mariah vacation traditional that’ll ultimately seem on this column. It’s not that “One Candy Day” isn’t in style; loads of individuals adore it. However it’s not the cultural touchstone that its chart success would possibly lead you to count on.
Greater than the rest, “One Candy Day” was a second. Due to sentimentality, title recognition, and cross-format radio compatibility, “One Candy Day” was in a position to lord over the Sizzling 100 for longer than virtually every other music in historical past. A music’s success all the time comes right down to timing. A success music doesn’t must final without end; it simply must be a success. For many years and a long time, “One Candy Day” was the one hit to rule all of them. It might’ve occurred to a greater music, but it surely didn’t. “One Candy Day” got here alongside at a second when Mariah Carey and Boyz II Males had been twin cresting waves. These waves stored going. Each Mariah and Boyz II Males will seem on this column once more.
BONUS BEATS: In 2008, the week that Mariah Carey served as a visitor mentor on American Idol, the highest seven contestants all obtained collectively to sing “One Candy Day.” Right here’s that efficiency:
(David Archuleta’s highest-charting single, 2008’s “Crush,” peaked at #2. It’s a 5. David Prepare dinner’s highest-charting single, 2008’s “The Time Of My Life,” peaked at #3. It’s a 2. Brooke White’s highest-charting single, 2009’s “Maintain Up My Coronary heart,” peaked at #47. American Idol will ultimately have a big effect on this column.)
THE NUMBER TWOS: Every thing However The Lady’s slinky, refined “Lacking” got here out in 1994, and the music didn’t actually go wherever at first. However when Todd Terry gave “Lacking” a lush, hypnotic deep home remix a 12 months later, the music grew to become a smash, and it peaked at #2 behind “One Candy Day.” It’s a 9.
Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon’ Cry,” a righteously pissed-off ballad from the Ready To Exhale soundtrack, additionally peaked at #2 behind “One Candy Day.” It’s an 8.
One other Ready To Exhale monitor, Brandy’s funky and flirty “Sittin’ Up In My Room,” additionally peaked at #2 behind “One Candy Day.” It’s one other 8.