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That One Time I Was a Mariah Carey Fan Surrounded by Guns N’ Roses Fans

It wasn’t as scary as it sounds, but it still makes for a good story

 

There are so many songs from the 80s and 90s that transport me back in time, but Mariah Carey’s Vision of Love takes me back like few others do.


I was much younger then — somewhere between a lad and a man — when I went through my Mariah Carey phase.


I was living in Florida when her first album debuted, and in California when her second album released, but whenever I think of Mariah Carey (which honestly, isn’t very often these days), I can’t help but reminisce about a unique experience I had one night in Simi Valley, California.


Image courtesy of Pixabay

The year was 1991. Mariah Carey’s second album (Emotions) was to be released on September 17th and a local record store was opening their doors at midnight, not so music fans could purchase Mariah Carey’s new album, but so that their customers could purchase the CD of another musical sensation at the time whose album, Use Your Illusion, was also releasing that day. That band was Guns N’ Roses.


As a teen who was a fan of Johnny Gill, Regina Belle, Keith Sweat, Teddy Pendergrass, Anita Baker, Luther Vadross, En Vogue, Jodeci, Guy, Troop, Chaka Khan, Bell Biv DeVoe, Whitney Houston, and Babyface (just to name a few), I was certainly no fan of Guns N’ Roses. In fact, I loathed all the heavy metal and rock n’ roll of that era (and still do).


But it wasn’t beneath me to use this record store’s Guns N’ Roses event to my advantage so I could be one of the first fans to get my hands on Mariah Carey’s new CD.


And that’s exactly what I did.


It was a cool Southern California night when I claimed my spot in line outside the record store shortly before midnight, and it didn’t take long for me to recognize that I was the only Mariah Carey fan there, adrift in a human ocean of long hair, denim jackets, and cigarette breath (sorry, GnR fans, it’s how I remember it).


When the doors opened at the stroke of midnight, everyone headed to the Guns n’ Roses rack while I quickly grabbed the Mariah Carey album. Needless to say, I didn’t have to fight anyone for it.


I proudly marched to the register, handing over the CD and a fist full of cash. By the look on the cashier’s face, you’d have thought I was turning in my man card.


When the transaction was done I got out of the store before my dirty deed was discovered — my stealth and swiftness surely averting a riot. (Yes, pure hyperbole, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)


To this day, Mariah Carey has no idea that one of her fans from over a quarter century ago risked life and limb to be the first on the West Coast to buy her album.


I no longer listen to Mariah Carey (and I still don’t listen to Guns n’ Roses), but that September night in 1991 will forever remain a fond memory of my dangerous mission behind enemy lines.

 

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