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Can't Let Go

Can't Let Go


I think it may have leaned a bit too R&B for the record label at the time

- Mariah Carey

Written by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff
Produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff


4:28     Album Version
4:35     Live at MTV Unplugged


  • For a follow-up [to Emotions], Columbia released “Can’t Let Go,” written and produced by Mariah and Walter Afanasieff.

    “Mariah and I started writing together for the album a few months before starting to record,” says Afanasieff. “I was doing Michael Bolton’s album. And during the time that Michael would do a small little tour to take a break over the holidays, I would have the opportunity to write with Mariah.” Soon they had a large collection of songs which they played for Columbia executives to see which ones should be recorded. “Can’t Let Go,” one of the first songs they had written, made the cut.

    Afanasieff describes how their writing process usually unfolds: “Mariah stands next to me, I’m on the keyboard. I start playing a chord progression — or I’ll start playing something on the keyboard — and she starts singing ideas, melodic ideas and lyrical ideas. We start feeding off each other: she starts singing to what I’m playing and I start playing to what she’s singing. . . . She’ll either come up with a few lyrical ideas right there and then go home and write a complete lyric, or she’ll use the melody and write the lyric."

    • “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits” by Fred Bronson, Page 796, 2003

  • This was one of my favorite songs on my sophomore album. I think it may have leaned a bit too R&B for the record label at the time. I still love it and look forward to singing it live again soon




1991 Released on the Emotions album.  
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation.
2009 Included on the The Ballads/Love Songs compilation.
2011 Included on The Essential Mariah Carey compilation.


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