Dive into each one of Mariah Carey's 18 chart topping smashes from throughout her incomparable career
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Seventy-nine weeks is an awfully long time — especially when you’re hanging at the top of the charts. But when you’ve had as many hits as Mariah Carey (18 Number Ones and counting), you can expect to log some serious hours. Over the course of her three-decade career, the diva supreme has scaled the Billboard Hot 100 much as she scales octaves with her multiplatinum voice. No other artist has more weeks at the top, besting even Elvis “The King of Rock” Presley for the most number ones by a solo singer. Along the way she made us dance with the too-joyous-to-be-real “Emotions” and “Fantasy,” made us cry with slow-burn ballads like “Hero” and “One Sweet Day,” and solidified her icon status with unapologetic glamour.

Today we salute Carey by taking a look back at each and every one of her chart toppers.

1. “Vision of Love,” from Mariah Carey (1990)

Number One for four weeks

Carey cowrote her breakout smash with her friend Ben Margulies when she was still just a teenager. An early version of the song was included on a demo tape that landed in the hands of future Sony Records chief (and her future husband) Tommy Mottola one fateful night at a Manhattan party in 1988. It was ultimately rerecorded in a professional facility, New York’s Skyline Studios, with veteran producer Rhett Lawrence using Carey’s original demo vocals as the background on the final version. Released as the first single off her debut album, “Vision of Love” would earn Carey her first Grammy the following year for best female pop vocal performance.

2. “Love Takes Time,” from Mariah Carey (1990)

Number One for three weeks

Carey’s second chart topper was actually written while final mixing was being completed for her self-titled debut. Label executives were so enamored with an early acoustic demo of the ballad that they insisted she rush record it for inclusion on the LP. After three days of hard work —including a marathon late night vocal session — the song was complete.

3. “Someday,” from Mariah Carey (1991)

Number One for two weeks

“Someday” was included on the four-song demo tape that Carey made with Margulies while she was still in high school. It was a favorite of singer, and she later described listening to it “over and over again on the subway after the studio sessions.”

4. “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” from Mariah Carey (1991)

Number One for two weeks

With “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” Carey became the first solo artist to have her first four singles hit the number one spot. The only other act to match the feat was the Jackson 5 during their hot streak between 1969 and 1970.

5. “Emotions,” from Emotions (1991)

Number One for three weeks

The title track to Carey’s second album is a relentless floor-filler cowritten with David Cole and Robert Clivillés of “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” hitmakers C+C Music Factory. The song allowed Carey to showcase the full range of her superhuman vocal prowess, reaching an ecstatic climax with her trademark whistle tone. During a live performance at the MTV VMAs in 1991 she hit a G7 — one of the highest notes capable of being produced by a human.

6. “I’ll Be There” featuring Trey Lorenz, from MTV Unplugged (1992)

Number One for two weeks

With “Emotions,” Carey became the first artist to have her first five singles top the chart, shattering the record previously held by the Jacksons with four. So it’s fitting that her next number one was a cover of the song that capped off the Motown collective’s run of debut hits, 1970’s “I’ll Be There.”

7. “Dreamlover,” from Music Box (1993)

Number One for eight weeks

The lead single from Carey’s third album, “Dreamlover” became one of the biggest songs of 1993 and helped steer her towards a more pop-centric style. The song saw her partner with Dave Hall, who had earned fame for his work on Mary J. Blige’s 1992 debut. “I wanted to do something that had a happy feeling, something that was more open and released, and that’s really not Dave,” she told author Fred Bronson in 2003. “It’s very anti what he’s about…Then we started listening to a lot of different and old loops.” The song that became “Dreamlover” was built around a beat taken from “Blind Alley,” a 1970 song by R&B group the Emotions, setting the tone for future sample-based hits like “Fantasy,” “Honey,” “Heartbreaker” and “Loverboy.”

8. “Hero,” from Music Box (1993)

Number One for four weeks

Though it would become one of Carey’s signature songs, “Hero” was originally written for Gloria Estefan and slated for the soundtrack to the 1992 film Hero, starring Dustin Hoffman and Geena Davis. “It was never meant for Mariah to sing,” the track’s cowriter, Walter Afanasieff, explained in Fred Bronson’s Book of Billboard #1. “In her mind, we were writing a song for Gloria Estefan for this movie. And we went into an area that Mariah didn’t really go into — in her words, it was a little bit too schmaltzy or too pop ballady or too old-fashioned as far as melody and lyrics.” When she played a demo to Mottola — who by this point was her fiancé as well as label chief — he convinced her to keep the track for herself. With a few alternations to the lyrics, instrumentation and key, she made the song her own.

9. “Fantasy,” from Daydream (1995)

Number One for eight weeks

After a two-year absence from the top of the charts, Carey’s return was inspired by an ’80 New Wave track by the Tom Tom Club, helmed by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads. “I was listening to the radio and heard ‘Genius of Love’, and I hadn’t heard it in a long time,” Carey said of her song’s genesis in Bronson’s book. “It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for ‘Fantasy.'” The song, and its Bad Boy Records remix produced by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, heralded Carey’s move towards a more urban R&B sound.

10. “One Sweet Day” with Boyz II Men, from Daydream (1995)

Number One for 16 weeks

For more than 20 years, Carey’s pairing with the ’90s R&B titans owned the title of the longest-running number one in history. Even after the record was tied in 2017 with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” it has yet to be bested. Despite the monumental commercial success of “One Sweet Day,” its creation is rooted in tragedy. Boyz II Men wrote an early version of the song to help process their pain following the death of their road manager in a hotel shoot out. “After he died, I began working on a song for him while we were on the road,” remembered Boyz II Men member Nathan Morris. “Not too long after, we got a call from Tommy Mottola asking if we’d be interested in doing a duet with Mariah Carey. We went to the studio she was recording in at the Hit Factory in New York, to hear the song they had in mind. She played us the melody and the hook, and it was amazing: It was almost the same song I was writing.”

Carey had written her version after the AIDS-related death of her “Emotions”-era collaborator and friend, C+C Music Factory’s David Cole. Noticing the obvious melodic and thematic similarities, the artists decided to merge the songs into a single cathartic anthem of remembrance and hope. “It had basically the same lyrics and fitted over the same chord changes,” Carey later explained. “It was really, really weird, we finished the song right then and there. We were all kinda flipped about it ourselves. Fate had a lot to do with that. I know some people won’t believe it, but we wouldn’t make up such a crazy story.”

11. “Always Be My Baby,” from Daydream (1996)

Number One for two weeks

The effervescent track, somewhere between a breezy love song and wistful breakup ode, was cited by ASCAP as the most played song on American radio in 1996. It marked Carey’s first partnership with producer Jermaine Durpi, who would play a major role in her 2005 comeback disc, The Emancipation of Mimi.

12. “Honey,” from Butterfly (1997)

Number One for three weeks

Having toyed with elements of hip hop on some of her previous singles, Carey fully embraced the genre with “Honey,” for which she enlisted the production help of heavy hitters including Puff Daddy and Q-Tip. The track redefined Carey’s sound, and the James Bond-influenced video redefined her image. As her marriage to the highly controlling Mottola began to disintegrate, “Honey” presented Carey as an independent and sexually confident woman. The big budget clip, in which she stared as the sultry “Agent M,” had been in her head from the moment she penned the song. “I wrote the lyrics to ‘Honey’ in Puerto Rico on this boat,” she said in an interview with VH1. “I kept rewinding the track and watching people jet-ski, thinking, ‘That would be cool for the video.’ I never think about the video when I’m writing the song, usually, but the whole atmosphere seemed right.”

13. “My All,” from Butterfly (1998)

Number One for one week

The Puerto Rico trip that bore the lyrics to “Honey” also inspired the Latin instrumentation heard on her follow-up single, “My All.” The song also evoked memories of her Venezuelan grandfather, whom she described “definitely subconsciously in me” despite the fact that they had spent little time together. Carey fleshed out the melody at her home studio in upstate New York, before recording the final version at Walter Afanasieff’s San Fransisco facility.

14. “Heartbreaker” featuring Jay-Z, from Rainbow (1999)

Number One for two weeks

The hip hop transformation that had begun on “Honey” was complete by the time Carey released “Heartbreaker,” her first number one to feature a rap artist. Jay-Z co-wrote his verse over a beat sampled from “Attack of the Name Game,” a 1982 electronica remix of Shirley Ellis’ 1964 novelty hit — featuring future American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass. The music video, shot by Rush Hour director Brett Ratner, caused almost a bigger splash than the song. With a budget of $2.5 million, it was one of the most expensive videos ever produced at the time.

15. “Thank God I Found You” featuring Joe and 98 Degrees, from Rainbow (2000)

Number One for one week

Mimi’s first smash in the new millennium includes vocal work from some early ’00s star power. Cowritten with the songwriting duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — known for their hits with Janet Jackson — the lyrics were inspired by Carey’s burgeoning relationship with Latin artist Luis Miguel. Producers originally wanted K-Ci & JoJo to sing on the song, but when label politics foiled their plan they opted for Joe. “She [Carey] gave me a call, and she was like, ‘I would love to do a duet with you. Come by the studio,'” he told MTV later. “When I got there, she played the song for me. I didn’t expect to record the song, but when I heard it, I said, ‘Man, there’s no way I’m going to leave this studio without my voice being on that record.’ Everything just happened so fast. I didn’t expect for it to be a single or a video.”

16. “We Belong Together,” from The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)

Number One for 14 weeks

Between 2001 and 2004, Carey endured a personal nadir best summed up by a single word: Glitter. But comebacks rarely come as big as her 10th album, The Emancipation of Mimi. The project saw her reunite with Dupri, with whom she cowrote the soulful “We Belong Together” during a writing session in Atlanta. From the earliest demo, it was clear that they had a monster on their hands. “I had the chills,” Carey recalled in Billboard. “I had a great feeling about it when we finished writing the song, and I was flying back from Atlanta at some crazy hour of the morning… But we were listening to it on the plane ride on the way home, and even from the demo version, I really felt something very special.” Fans and critics would agree. Boasting a powerful backbeat constructed from a pair of ’80s R&B tunes, Bobby Womack’s “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” from 1981 and the Deele’s 1987 track “Two Occasions,” the cool ballad became 2005’s song of the summer — and beyond. “We Belong Together” would be Carey’s second-longest running number one, and reestablished her viability as a major industry force. The song’s lengthy stay at the top kept her follow-up single, “Shake It Off,” in the number two spot, making her the first female artist to occupy the highest two positions on Billboard simultaneously.

17. “Don’t Forget About Us” from The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)

Number One for two weeks

Sometimes overshadowed by the mammoth success of “We Belong Together,” its successor tread similar ground as a smoldering R&B torch song. Much as “Love Takes Time” was a late addition to her debut, Carey began composing “Don’t Forget About Us” with Dupri after The Emancipation of Mimi had already been issued. “‘Don’t Forget About Us’ was a song that Jermaine and I started writing and didn’t finish, and [Island Records CEO] L.A. Reid heard it,” she told MTV News in 2011. “He was excited about it and he was like, ‘We should re-release the album. I agreed because were trying to figure out what to do with the song because we loved it so much, and we didn’t want to wait until the next album to send it to radio.”

18. “Touch My Body,” from E=MC² (2008)

Number One for two weeks

Carey’s most recent trip to the top of the charts pushed her past Elvis Presley for the most number ones by a solo artist in the Hot 100 era. “I really can never put myself in the category of people who have not only revolutionized music but also changed the world,” she told the Associated Press of the achievement. “That’s a completely different era and time. I’m just feeling really happy and grateful…In terms of my ethnicity, always feeling like an outsider, always feeling different — for me it’s about saying, ‘Thank you Lord, for giving me the faith to believe in myself when other people had written me off.'”