Mariah Carey's version, based on Harry Nilsson's version rather than the Badfinger original, was released as the third single of Music Box in the first quarter of 1994, and in the United States it was released on 24 January 1994, just over a week after Nilsson had died following a heart attack on 15 January 1994. "Without You" reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining in the top 40 for 21 weeks and on the chart for 23. It reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay and number 3 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales. It was certified gold by the RIAA and sold 600,000 copies domestically. It was ranked 16 on the Hot 100 1994 year-end charts.
"Without You" remains Carey's biggest hit across Europe. It became her first UK number 1 single, and was her only number one there until Against All Odds, which was also a cover.