Writer(s): Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff (see lyrics here)
Released: August 31, 1993 (album cut on Music Box)
First Charted: Octobrer 15, 1993
Peak: 14 US, 2 CB, 16 GR, 15 RR, 2 AC, 5 RB, 7 UK, 3 CN, 7 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.27 UK, 3.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 359.9 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
The second single from Music Box, Mariah Carey’s biggest-selling album, wasn’t originally supposed to be a Mariah Carey song. She and collaborator Walter Afanasieff wrote “the big, grandiose ballad” SG “Hero” for the soundtrack of Stephen Frears’ 1992 movie of the same name. It starred Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia. Gloria Estefan was slated to sing the song. SG
The song is “a big, arm-swishing ballad about finding your own sense of internal strength.” SG It’s “pure Hallmark material.” SG Carey considered it “fairly generic” and “a bit schmaltzy.” SG However, when label chief Tommy Mottola (Carey’s future husband) came into the studio while she was working on the demo, he said the song “was great and that Mariah would absolutely not give it away to another singer.” SG
Carey worked to “to find the right vocal tone,” SG wanting to “show off her vocal firepower” SG but striking “a balance between her pyrotechnic vocal runs and a more restrained style.” SG “She also manages to convey a certain level of emotional catharsis, even though she didn’t actually care about the song very much.” SG She came to love the song, saying “’Hero’ belonged to my fans and I was going to deliver it to them with all I had.” SG
After the song was released, Carey decided to donate the proceeds to the families of the victims of a December 7 shooting on the Long Island Rail Road. Carey had frequently ridden the route out of Penn Station. FB When she performed the song live, a stage light landed on a grown man with tears streaming down his face. As Afanasieff said, “I saw so many people crying and realized the power of the song.” FB
First posted 4/10/2023.