Readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.
So, as our retrospective segments, ‘From the Vault’ and ‘TGJ Replay,’ allow us the chance to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday of one artist, our latest feature – Chart Rewind – serves as a variation of our Retro Rewind assay to salute an entire era of music history.
This week, we nod to Mary J. Blige‘s 2005 megahit, ‘Be Without You,’ one of the most popular songs of her legendary career to date.
Despite earning her first Hot 100 #1 hit with 2001’s ‘Family Affair,’ the era that followed that success – ‘Love & Life’ (2003) – was accompanied by the worst-selling album of her career to that date. The first LP of her career (at the time) to lack a multiPlatinum certification from the Recording Industry of America (RIAA), the project – as well as the musical landscape at large – suggested it may have been time for MJB to switch things up.
The answer to that may have come organically as Blige had gotten married to manager Martin “Kendu” Isaacs in the time between the 2003 project and its follow-up, later christened ‘The Breakthrough.’
**Related: Read our ode to ‘The Breakthrough’ by clicking here**
Renown for her tales and tunes of heartbreak and overcoming personal struggles, the positive shift in her personal life seemed to take root in her music as well – a move that catalyzed the birth of ‘Be Without You,’ the first single from ‘Breakthrough.’
Launched on the heels of a dramatic Terrence Howard-assisted music video, the song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 just five months after its September 15, 2005 release (where it was found this week in 2006). Its popularity would last well into the year after its debut, eventually leading it to become the longest-running song in the history of the ‘R&B/Hip Hop Songs’ chart, a feat only accented by its record-setting 15 weeks at #1 on the tally (a record untouched until Robin Thicke‘s 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’).
When the dust settled, ‘Be Without You’ not only won Blige two GRAMMYs at the 2007 ceremony (‘Best R&B Song’ and ‘Best Female R&B Vocal Performance’) but also ended 2006 as the #1 R&B song of the year on Billboard year-end charts.
At 2x Platinum, it stands as the highest RIAA-certified single of her career. On the Hot 100, it is third highest-charting single of her career as a leading act. Only Blige’s #1 hit, ‘Family Affair,’ and the #2 hit, ‘Not Gon Cry’ (1996), charted higher.
Hot 100 This Week in 2006
Hot 100 This Week (2021)
Click here to read this week’s full ‘Hot 100’ list courtesy of That Grape Juice‘s weekly, ‘Chart Check.’