Mariah Carey Covers Billie Holiday To Kick Off World Tour: Listen

Mariah Carey launched her world tour, The Elusive Chanteuse Show, on October 4 in Tokyo. And as she promised, there were surprises. Halfway through her career-spanning set, Carey and trusted music director Jim Wright launched into a faithful cover of Billie Holiday‘s “Don’t Explain” – as she pointed out while performing, the same 1945 song that Diana Ross has covered many times before.

Holiday wrote “Don’t Explain” about her then-husband Jimmy Monroe. One night, Monroe came home with lipstick marks on his shirt collar. “I saw the lipstick,” Holiday wrote in her 1956 autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues. “I saw it and he started explaining and explaining. I could stand anything but that. Lying to me was worse than anything he could have done with any bitch.”

The original version of “Don’t Explain” is quite heartbreaking. Meanwhile, Carey sang the song as if she was remembering an old favorite. She tried her best to keep her voice as hushed as Holiday’s, though with her being an ultimate diva and the Elusive Chanteuse and all, she also couldn’t help doing some playful ad-libbing and improvisation in the process. Hear both versions below.

Mariah Carey Performs “Don’t Explain” Live

Billie Holiday’s Original Version of “Don’t Explain”

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