Brenda Lee Breaks Down Learning ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Is No. 1 (VIDEO)
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Brenda Lee Breaks Down Learning ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Is No. 1 (VIDEO)

Brenda Lee was overwhelmed when she learned her Christmas hit “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” had hit No. 1.

The 78-year-old legend started crying as she expressed gratitude to her fans, the Brendanators.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Monday (Dec. 4).
The song was originally released in 1958, making it the longest climb to the top of the charts ever.
The last time Lee hit No. 1 was in 1960 with “I Want to Be Wanted.”

Video Billboard shared finds Lee talking to UMG Nashville CEO Cindy Mabe.

“Mr. Marks would be proud,” she says, referring to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” writer Johnny Marks.

Lee actually didn’t believe Mabe, and once convinced, she immediately gave all credit to her fans. They’re not the only ones who deserve some credit, however.

Brenda Lee, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” — Story of the Song

Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” flopped at first.

She recorded the song with Nashville’s A-team of studio musicians in 1958 after Marks encouraged her to try it. Just 13 years old at the time, the diminutive singer’s performance was remarkable for its maturity, and that would help aid its journey.

Brenda Lee Breaks Down Learning ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Is No. 1 (VIDEO)
Brenda Lee/Youtube

After scoring a No. 1 hit with “I’m Sorry” and landing a few others on music charts, “Rockin’ …” started to rock. It was a Top 20 hit in 1960 and then would come back every holiday season.

Things changed in 1990, when the song was featured prominently in Home Alone. Still, it didn’t make a major dent on the Hot 100 until the last five to seven years, when it started to peak inside the Top 5.

This year, Lee recorded a new music video for the song and she — along with UMG — actively promoted it. The effort worked.

“They wanted this for you as much as we all did,” Mabe tells Lee, who mentions producer Owen Bradley, the Anita Kerr singers and other studio session performers heard on the song.

In hitting No. 1, Lee set several Billboard chart records, including becoming the oldest artist ever to reach the top of the Hot 100.

Now mostly retired, she still makes an occasional appearance, including Tuesday night’s (Dec. 5) moment during the 2023 All for the Hall concert in Nashville.

Taste of Country ranks “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” No. 6 on a list of the 50 greatest country Christmas songs ever.

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