I Don't Wanna Cry

Album: Mariah Carey (1990)
Charted: 1


  • In this R&B ballad from her debut album, Mariah Carey doesn't want to shed any more tears over a relationship that's falling apart. Mariah wrote the song with Narada Michael Walden, a producer who worked with major stars like Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. "The label was very excited for me to work with him because of his collaborations with hugely successful vocalists," Mariah recalled in the liner notes of her 2015 greatest hits album #1 To Infinity. "We wrote 'I Don't Wanna Cry' together and it was very important for me to keep my identity as a songwriter. I was very grateful to him for the work we did together."
  • Mariah wanted to co-produce the track with Walden, but Columbia Records wouldn't allow it. Still, she had trouble giving up control in the recording sessions. Walden recalled in Fred Bronson's Billboard Book Of #1 Hits: "Mariah is very astute in the studio, very picky. I don't mean to make it sound like a negative. For her, it's a positive, because she knows she wants to hear herself sound a certain way. For example, there's a lick on 'I Don't Wanna Cry' that I was really happy with, and I think at first she was, too. But after she lived with it, she wanted us to fix it. I don't even know if we fixed it twice or three times, but I had to fly the tape back to her in New York. She went in the studio, fixed that lick, and added other stuff onto it. I called her back and said, 'Look, I used your new lick on that one thing because you like it, but the other stuff you're adding on, you really don't need.' Then she gave in."

    He added: "I think a lot of that is what you experience when you're making your first album. You gotta remember, Mariah was 19, 20 years old, making her first album. She really wanted it to be special."
  • Narada wanted to capture the feel of the dramatic, tear-stained ballads of his youth, such as Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman" and Chuck Jackson's similarly titled "I Don't Want To Cry." He recalled: "I kind of pulled it down from the sky and started singing this thing to her, and she got in to it."
  • This was Mariah's fourth consecutive #1 hit on the Hot 100, making her the first solo artist and female artist in Billboard history to have their first four singles top the chart. The Jackson 5 were the first group to accomplish the feat.
  • In the music video, directed by Larry Jordan, Mariah sings of her romantic plight in a Midwestern home and its surrounding maize. In 2015, Mariah said the director's cut of the video was much better, but "because there was a 'hot guy' (Steven Richard Harris) in the video, they made me re-shoot so many parts and it really wasn't good." There was also fuss over her dress, which kept blowing up. "Everybody was so dramatic. Why with the drama? I don't understand," she added.


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