In 1989, Andy Stone co-wrote a song called “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and released it with his band, Vince Vance & The Valiants. It performed reasonably well during holiday seasons throughout the 1990s and even became a favorite of one Kelly Clarkson, who recorded her own cover in 2020.
When you hear the words “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” however, there’s a good chance it’s not Stone’s melody that starts playing on a loop in your head, but Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous Christmas classic of the same name. To the casual listener, the two tunes have little in common except their titles: Stone’s is a country power ballad with a rock edge and a sax solo; Carey’s is upbeat, poppy, and backed by jingle bells.
Upon closer inspection, however, you will find a few lyrical similarities. While The Valiants’ lead singer Lisa Layne belts out “All that I want can’t be found underneath the Christmas tree,” Carey sings “I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree.” Layne’s “You are my dream come true” isn’t far from Carey’s “Make my wish come true," while Carey’s “Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need?” is a bit reminiscent of Layne’s “Santa can’t bring me what I need.”
But Stone evidently doesn’t think the similarities are coincidental. As CNN reports, he’s suing Carey, her co-writer Walter Afanasieff, and Sony Music Entertainment for copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, and more. The lawsuit, filed in Louisiana’s eastern district, claims that Carey and company created their 1994 song “to exploit [Stone’s] popularity and unique style” and “capitalize on [his] goodwill and unique talent … in an effort to obtain commercial advantage.” Carey’s success caused Stone a “substantial loss of income,” the suit explains, and “resulted in confusing the public.” He’s seeking $20 million in damages.
Whether the altercation gets settled in time for this year’s Christmas season is anyone’s guess. But it’s probably safe to assume that Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” won’t be playing at any Christmas parties with Vince Vance members in attendance. It wouldn’t be the first place the song got banned.