Long ago in a far off galaxy, Mariah Carey had a nasty habit of lifting other people’s songs for herself. It got her in a lot of trouble and caused many lawsuits and settlements. I wrote an article about this in Spin magazine back in the day. She sampled The Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” for her hit “Fantasy,” for example. That was a bad business. Mariah’s songwriting abilities have long been questionable. Even her long time co-writer Walter Afanasieff recently recalled that he laid out “All I Want For Christmas is You” before she even heard it.
But last night when Mariah’s earpieces failed her and was revealed to be lip synching, the song in question was her –ahem– ‘hit’– “Emotions.” What younger fans may not realize is that “Emotions” was copied almost note for note from a big hit called “The Best of My Love,” sung by Philly International group The Emotions. It was produced and written by Earth Wind & Fire creator Maurice White.
White died this year, and I can’t help but think that last night’s debacle was a sign from him and a reminder. Back in the 90s, when Carey and husband/manager did this, White gave me a great quote: “Some people sample, but they sampled the whole buffet!”
Here’s “Best of My Love”:
and here’s “Emotions”: