One Sweet Day is the second single from Mariah Carey's fifth studio album "Daydream" featuring R&B group Boyz II Men.
The single was released on November 14, 1995. The song was written by Mariah, Walter Afansieff (who also produced the song), Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris & Michael McCary (the members of Boyz II Men).
The song is about losing a loved one, and eventually seeing them once again in heaven one day and how the protagonist took their presence for granted & misses them.
Both Mariah and Boyz II Men wrote the song about specific people in their lives to include sufferers of the AIDS epidemic that were so globally prevalent at the time.
The song was positively reviewed by music critics, many of whom complimented its lyrical content and vocals, as well as calling it a standout track from "Daydream."
The song experienced success in many countries around the world, especially in the United States.
It spent 16 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is the longest running number one song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.
It also achieved strong success around the world, topping the charts in Canada and New Zealand, and reaching the top-ten in Australia, Belgium, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Additionally, "One Sweet Day" was ranked first in Rolling Stone's reader's poll for the Best Collaboration of All Time.
Mariah performed "One Sweet Day" live on several television and award show appearances around the world.
On February 26, 1996, she performed it alongside Boyz II Men at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.
Additionally, the song was performed at Princess Diana's memorial service in September of 1997.
The song was part of the set-lists on several of Mariah's succeeding tours, making its debut during the album's accompanying set of concerts such as the Daydream World Tour and on her compliation albums: "Number 1's, "Greatest Hits" and "The Ballads."
The music video for "One Sweet Day" was filmed in early 1996 and features snippets of Mariah and Boyz II Men in and around the studio & recording the song.
Mariah explained that due to her and Boyz II Men's busy schedules, they feared that there wouldn't be enough time to record a proper video.
For this reason while they wrote and recorded the song, they used video crew footage bits of the recording process for the music video.
Mariah later said that she was content a real music video was never filmed, fearing that no music video could truly capture the song's strong lyrical message.
Critics felt the video choice was wise and agreed that the simple concept paid homage to the song's selfless message.
"One Sweet Day" became Mariah's tenth chart topping single on the Billboard Hot 100 and Boyz II Men's fourth chart topping single.
The song remained at the peak for a record-breaking, 16 consecutive weeks, from December 2, 1995 to March 16, 1996.
Boyz II Men had previously held this record twice with their songs "End of the Road" (which spent 13 weeks at the top of the chart) & "I'll Make Love to You."
"End of the Road" (1992) spending 13 weeks at the top and "I'll Make Love to You" (1994) spending 14.
The former song shares this record with Brandy and Monica's song "The Boy Is Mine" and the latter song shared its record with Whitney Houston's song "I Will Always Love You."
Mariah's 2005 song "We Belong Together" and The Black Eyed Peas's 2009's "I Gotta Feeling" managed to stay at number one for 14 weeks as well.
The song replaced Whitney Houston's song "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" and was replaced by Celine Dion's song "Because You Loved Me".
The single also debuted at number one, making Mariah the first artist to have more than one number-one debut, and one of the two artists ever to have two consecutive singles debut at the top of the chart, along with Britney Spears with her songs "3" and "Hold It Against Me."
The song was the third best-selling single of 1995 in the US, with sales of over 1,300,000 with the second best-selling single being Mariah's song "Fantasy."
The song spent 26 weeks in the top 40, was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and was ranked number one on Billboard's "Decade-End Charts." To date, the single sold 2,334,000 physical units.
"One Sweet Day" has been lauded with a universal acclaim by contemporary music critics.
In his review for the album, Bill Lamb from About.com gave the song praise, calling Mariah and Boyz II Men a "perfect vocal match" and wrote "together they turn what could be a rather morose ballad into a truly inspiring and hopeful performance."
Allmusic's senior editor, Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the song for its craft and writing, commenting that "[in] "One Sweet Day," a duet with Boyz II Men, Carey appeals to both audiences equally because of the sheer amount of craft and hard work she puts into her albums."
Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly felt the song truly highlighted the album, stating:
"[One Sweet Day] radiates a breezy sexiness that Carey, for all the brazen hussiness of her public persona, rarely permits herself to reveal in song."
Stephen Holden from The New York Times shared similar sentiments and wrote:
"On 'One Sweet Day,' the singer joins forces with Boyz II Men, those masters of pleading post-doo-wop vocal harmonies, for a tender eulogy that suggests that the singers have been personally touched by the AIDS crisis."
People felt the song was a "stand-out track" and called Mariah's vocal performance "bravura belting." The song spent 26 weeks in the top 40.
On February 28, 1996, "One Sweet Day" was performed at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards.
During the performance, Mariah wore a long black dress and matching sleeveless blouse while Boyz II Men wore white jackets and black pants.
After the song's bridge, a choir of male and female vocalists took place on the rafters placed over the stage, all wearing white gowns.
The song was also performed at the memorial service for Princess Diana in September of 1997 where other performers included Elton John.
During the service and song recital, Mariah wore a conservative long black sheer gown with long golden curls. Boyz II Men all wore similar matching dark suits and garments.
The song became part of Mariah's BET Christmas special in 2001 where she sang the song alongside Boyz II Men.
During the special, Mariah wore a red gown in honor of the show's holiday theme, and featured a long golden hairstyle.
One of the male vocalists had already been switched as one of the group members had already resigned.
Aside from live television appearances, the song was performed on many of Mariah's tours.
"One Sweet Day" was performed at every show on her Daydream World Tour where Boyz II Men were featured on a large projection screen.
The footage was taken from Mariah's filmed concert at Madison Square Garden in late-1995 and was played in sync with her verses.
A similar concept was used for Mariah's Butterfly World Tour with the addition of several live back up vocalists joining on stage.
Additionally, the song was performed on select dates on her The Adventures of Mimi tour.
During the tour's filmed show in Anaheim California, the group joined Mariah live on stage and performed the song together.
For the segment of the show, she wore a long turquoise gown, with several slits and cuts fashioned into the sides.
During the Angels Advocate Tour in 2010, Mariah performed a snippet of the song in Singapore with Trey Lorenz filling in for the group's verses.
One of the live performances of the song would later make its way to the U.S. CD maxi-single as Track #5.
"One Sweet Day" was performed by the seven finalists on the seventh season of American Idol.
The performance was taped due to the "Mariah Carey" themed week where all the competitors sang songs from Mariah's repertoire.
The song was additionally sung on the fifth season of the UK TV show "The X Factor" by British boy-band JLS.
Their performance received praise from all four judges, who commented how it was an "impossibly hard song to sing" because it was a "Mariah song."
The song was also performed by John Adeleye during the seventh season of "The X Factor." The theme of the night was "#1 songs."
Shannon Magrane performed the song on the eleventh season of "American Idol" during the week the contestants performed songs from their birth years.
Andy Williams released a version in 2007 on his album "I Don't Remember Ever Growing Up."
"One Sweet Day" won many prestigious awards throughout 1996.
At the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, the song won the award for "Favorite Adult Contemporary Single Female 'One Sweet Day" also won the award for "Song of the Year" at the BMI Awards and a "Special Award for 16 weeks at #1" at the Billboard Music Awards.
Together, "Daydream" and "One Sweet Day" were nominated for six Grammy Awards at the 38th annual ceremony, but to Mariah's surprise (and the shock of many critics), they lost all of the nominations.
In a poll conducted by Rolling Stone, the song was ranked first for the category of the "Best Collaboration of All Time."