Brenda Lee Christmas Songs & Music
Pint-sized singer Brenda Lee burst onto the music scene in the
1950's and soon became a household name. Audiences were wowed by
her powerful and mature voice and wondered how such a sound could
come from such a tiny girl. More than fifty years later, Brenda Lee
still garners plenty of airplay. Each December, revellers around
the world pull on their dancing shoes and join her as she sings up
a storm while Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.
Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley in Atlanta, 1944, to an
uneducated working class parents. Even from as young as two, Lee's
voice was a source of income for her family, with her mother and
sister often standing her on the counter at the local sweet shop to
earn candy and coins in exchange for a song. As she grew
older, she began to appear on radio programs throughout the US,
captivating audience with a stunning and mature voice that belied
her pre-teen years.
Aged all of twelve, Lee was offered a recording contract by Decca
Records. It was here that her affiliation with Christmas music
began. Her second single featured two novelty Christmas tunes, I'm
Going to Lasso Santa Claus and Christy Christmas. "I'm gonna
tick, tick tickle him on the tummyBecause he laughs so funny"Lee
announces in the first tune, while Christy Christmas, she
declares"Will make your dreams come true.And you'll love Christy
ChristmasJust as much as he loves you."Decca went all out with
these songs, selling their new talent as super cute and charming.
They were even credited to "Little Brenda Lee (aged 9 years old)",
despite the fact that had just turned twelve.
Whilst neither of these singles made the charts, it was Lee's
next Christmas song that was to launch her to stardom. Songwriter
Johnny Marks had had huge successes with his holiday tunes A Holly,
Jolly Christmas and the timeless Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In
1958, he penned Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, with the honour
of recording the song falling to thirteen-year-old Brenda Lee.
Despite a slow start to sales in 1958 and 59, the song's popularity
grew as Lee's career progressed. At Christmas in 1960, Rockin'
Around the Christmas Tree peaked at 14 on the Billboard charts and
has since sold more than five million copies.
In 1964, Brenda cemented her position as a name in Christmas
music by releasing her own holiday album entitled Merry Christmas
From Brenda Lee. The album opens, predictably, with her hit song
and is devoid of traditional pious carols. The tracks combine
popular releases such as Jingle Bell Rock and Winter Wonderland
with holiday tunes by Lee herself including The Angel and the
Little Blue Bell.
Brenda Lee's yuletide songs continued to find their way onto
numerous compilation albums, including Tennessee Christmas and
Rockin' Little Christmas. It wasn't until 1991 however that Lee
released a second holiday album of her own. The tracks of A Brenda
Lee Christmas span the length of her career, with the album
featuring many more Christmas classics than her first holiday
record. Traditional carols Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful
receive the Brenda Lee treatment as well as the gospel classic Go
Tell it on the Mountain. In true Brenda Lee style, however, the
album again opens with Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree; the hit
that made her a star.
Today, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is the fourth highest
selling Christmas single of all time. No Christmas party would be
complete without its twanging guitar, wailing sax solo and Brenda
Lee's soaring voice. Since the days she sung on the counter of her
local sweet shop, Brenda Lee was bound to give the world something
to remember. More than fifty years later, she's still the life of
the Christmas party!