Be Without You

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"Be Without You"
Blige be without you.jpg
Single by Mary J. Blige
from the album The Breakthrough
B-side "Show Love"
Released September 15, 2005 (2005-09-15)
Recorded 2005
Length 4:09
Label Geffen
  • Bryan-Michael Cox
  • Ron Fair
Mary J. Blige singles chronology
"MJB da MVP"
"Be Without You"
"MJB da MVP"
"Be Without You"
(with U2)

"Be Without You" is a song by American recording artist Mary J. Blige. It was written by Johnta Austin, Bryan Michael Cox, Jason Perry and Blige for her seventh studio album, The Breakthrough. Produced by Cox and Ron Fair, it was released as the album's first official single in late 2005.

Ranking among the most played songs on US radio in the year 2006, the single was certified double-platinum by the RIAA in 2007. With 15 weeks at number one and a 75-week span on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, it is the most successful R&B song in the 50-year history of that chart. It is also one of Mary J. Blige's most successful singles to date, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year and won the Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.


"Be Without You" is an R&B and hip hop soul song written in the key of D minor with a tempo of 73 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of Dm – Bmaj7 – C – Dm – Gm7 – C – A7, and Blige's vocals span from F3 to D5.[1]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Be Without You" was directed by Matthew Rolston and was shot on various locations in New York City in October 2005.

Starring Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard in the role of Blige's boyfriend the video first aired on November 28, 2005. It peaked on AOL Videos Top 11 on the tenth spot on the January 21, 2006 entering the chart the first time and also the LAUNCH Music Videos Top 100 at the sixth position the same week. There's also a "Live At Launch Exclusive Performance" available for download from January 2006, which peaked seventieth on the same chart. It won the "Video of the Year" award at the 2006 BET Awards on June 27, 2006 and was nominated for "Best R&B Video" at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The video begins in a black and white city where Blige is standing on top of the building as the song begins. Then, it shifts into a bathroom where Blige cleans out the mirror. In the 1st scene, Blige is typing the lyrics on her laptop. The next scene shows a color appeared where Blige is falling in love with her boyfriend and sleeping with him. Then, the next scene goes to a kitchen where Blige and her love interest are celebrating dinner with her family. Meanwhile, she is seen in a color scene where she is standing next to a group of candles and the next scene shows at a red carpet premiere where Blige wallks out of the limo. Then, Blige and her boyfriend breaks up after having a fight (As seen in the events at the beginning of the video) and her boyfriend storms off. After 2 candles started melting, the final scene as the black and white changes to a color scene where a knock was on the door. Blige opens it and it was her boyfriend. She hugged him at the end of the song.

Chart performance[edit]

The single debuted at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number three in February 2006, Blige's third highest peak of her career after 2001's "Family Affair" and 1996's "Not Gon' Cry." Moreover, the song became the most successful release in the history of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (until 2013) when it spent a record 15 consecutive weeks at number one. "Be Without You" topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart for nine weeks, and the dance remix has also topped the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart. The song broke the record for the longest-running single in the existence of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, where it spent a grand total of 75 weeks on that chart. After its run on the main R&B chart, it moved to the Recurrent R&B Airplay chart.

In the UK, the single only peaked at number 32 on the UK singles chart; however, with the Moto Blanco remix of the song becoming a large club hit in the UK, the song actually managed to hold (to that time) the record for the most weeks on the UK top 75 for a Mary J. Blige single (18 in total). Having proved very popular, the Moto Blanco remix was featured as a B-side in the UK on subsequent singles "MJB Da MVP" and "Enough Cryin'." A cover of the Moto Blanco remix by Wi-Fi featuring Melanie M was due to be released in the UK by record label All Around the World in February 2007.


The official remix was also produced by Bryan-Michael Cox and features former Shady Records rapper Stat Quo.


Track listings and formats[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Be Without You".


Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Don't Forget About Us" by Mariah Carey
Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs number-one single
January 7, 2006 - April 15, 2006
Succeeded by
"What You Know" by T.I.
Preceded by
"Sorry" by Madonna
Billboard Hot Dance Airplay number-one single
March 27, 2006 - April 10, 2006
Succeeded by
"SOS" by Rihanna
Preceded by
"Check on It" by Beyoncé featuring Bun B and Slim Thug
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
March 11, 2006
Succeeded by
"Sorry" by Madonna


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