Christmas is usually an occasion for laughter and joy but for the second year in a row, Christmas for Mariah Carey will involve a lawsuit. Mariah Carey has been sued yet again by the same plaintiff over her monumentally popular modern holiday anthem, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’.
Last year in June, singer Andy Stone who performs under the name Vince Vance as part of Vince Vance and the Valiants, filed a lawsuit alleging that Carey plagiarised part of a song that he wrote with the same title. Stone and his co-writer Troy Powers released single also titled ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ in 1989, which proved to be quite popular on country music stations.
When it was re-released at the end of 1993, the song charted at number 55 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks. Vince Vance and the Valiants were later invited to the White House to perform the song for Bill Clinton. Carey’s song was released in October of 1994.
Stone filed to drop the lawsuit in November 2022 and the motion was granted by a judge in the Federal Court of New Orleans. This apparently occurred due to Louisiana being the wrong venue for the lawsuit.
A year later, Stone has decided to defrost the case, filing a new lawsuit in the Federal Court of Los Angeles. Powers has been named as a co-plaintiff in this new suit.
In the new suit, Stone and Powers allege Carey’s song is a “derivative” of theirs in terms of lyrics, melody, harmonic language and rhythm. They also allege that Carey and her co-songwriter Walter Afanasieff must have had access to their song considering its popularity at the time.
Stone’s lawyer for the previous suit spoke to the Rolling Stone and revealed details about the current suit and developments in the case since last year.
“If you look at both songs, you can see that about 50 percent of the words are the same, in almost the same order. I think it’s a pretty strong claim,” said Douglas M. Schmidt, who represented Stone back in New Orleans.
Stone’s new lawsuit alleges that: “The phrase ‘all I want for Christmas is you’ may seem like a common parlance today, in 1988 it was, in context, distinctive […] Moreover, the combination of the specific chord progression in the melody paired with the verbatim hook was a greater than 50% clone of [Stone’s] original work, in both lyric choice and chord expressions.”
Schmidt said said attempts to settle the case with Carey, Afanasieff, and Sony ended without a resolution. This is why the suit has been re-filed. Stone is currently being represented by Gerard P. Fox, the same attorney who represented two songwriters in 20022, who accused Taylor Swift of stealing the lyrics to her hit song ‘Shake It Off’ .