“Happy anniversary to that girl on stage who was so nervous and scared to even sing in front of a crowd. Also, she had no idea this last-minute ‘unplugged’ show would become a ‘thing’!” Mariah Carey marveled in a June 2 Instagram post celebrating 30 years to the day that she released her MTV Unplugged EP.
The special was taped March 16, 1992, at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York and aired on MTV repeatedly ahead of the EP’s commercial arrival.
June 20 marks another anniversary for MTV Unplugged, as Carey’s performance of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” from the seven-song set rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on that date in 1992.
Carey’s version, with accompanying vocals from Trey Lorenz, became the sixth of her 19 Hot 100 No. 1s – the most among soloists and second overall only to The Beatles’ 20.
Meanwhile, the song stands as one of just nine that have topped the Hot 100 by two acts, as Carey’s two-week reign with her interpretation of the composition – written by Hal Davis, Berry Gordy, Willie Hutch and Bob West – joined the Jackson 5’s five-week command with the original beginning in October 1970.
Here’s the complete list of songs that have topped the Hot 100 by two acts each:
- “Go Away Little Girl,” Steve Lawrence, 1963 / Donny Osmond, 1971
- “The Loco-Motion,” Little Eva, 1962 / Grand Funk, 1974
- “Please Mr. Postman,” The Marvelettes, 1961 / Carpenters, 1975
- “Venus,” The Shocking Blue, 1970 / Bananarama, 1986
- “Lean on Me,” Bill Withers, 1972 / Club Nouveau, 1987
- “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” The Supremes, 1966 / Kim Wilde, 1987
- “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge, 1966 / Michael Bolton, 1991
- “I’ll Be There,” Jackson 5, 1970 / Mariah Carey, 1992
- “Lady Marmalade,” Labelle, 1975 / Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink, 2001
(“The Loco-Motion” has come closest to being the only song to lead the Hot 100 by three artists, as, in addition to the two leading versions above, Kylie Minogue’s cover chugged to No. 3 in 1988.)
“During that performance,” Carey continued on Instagram, “I remember having a breakthrough moment … the realization that all I needed to do was sing and actually connect with the people in the audience and be in the moment with them. And then we were in it together.
“When I watch this now, it’s revelatory how many insanely talented musicians and singers I had the privilege of sharing that small stage with, and I truly feel blessed,” Carey – who was inducted June 16 into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (with “I’ll Be There” being the only of her 19 Hot 100 No. 1s on which she doesn’t have a writing credit) – mused further in the post. “I am thankful to that majestic group of people who made that stage come to life and to the audience in the room for sharing what became a life-changing experience for me.”