songs that soundtracked the AIDS epidemic

Songs That Soundtracked the AIDS Epidemic: Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day”

twenty five years ago this week, mariah carey was atop of the billboard hot 100 with her boyz II men duet “one sweet day.”

released as the second single from her fifth studio album “daydream,” mariah carey co-wrote “one sweet day” with boyz II men after the death of her friend and frequent collaborator david cole.

david cole was a prolific songwriter, producer and pianist who created some of the 1980’s and 1990’s most enduring dance songs including “because of you” by the cover girls, “let the beat hit ‘em” by lisa lisa & cult jam, “pride (a deeper love)” by aretha franklin, “gonna make you sweat (everybody dance now)” by c&c music factory and mariah’s eternal classic “emotions.”

on january 24, 1995, david cole died of complications of meningitis brought on by HIV. he was just 32 years old.

“one sweet day” debuted at number one on the hot 100 the day after world AIDS day on december 2, 1995. the song remained atop of the hot 100 for a historic 16 weeks becoming one of the longest running number one singles in billboard’s 50 plus years chart history. 

in a 2018 interview with pitchfork magazine, mariah spoke about her friend david:

“he was one of the only people i used to have in the studio when I would sing because i respected him as a singer. he would push me in different areas where he could actually sing it to me and I would be like, “oh, this is cool. i like that.” if you listen to the song “emotions,” that was him going, “you can do that. try this.” half the time, i would lose my voice afterwards because he would just push me.”

rest in peace, david.


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