Augusta Native Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” Hits #1 On Billboard
Hard to believe it, but Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list Tuesday for the first time in its 65-year history on the charts. The holiday toe tapper unseated the previous record holder, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” That song has held the top spot for the last 25 years. The Augusta native was just 13 when she recorded the iconic hit. And it has lived on the Billboard charts for the last half century plus and become a radio staple at Christmastime.
The Christmas Party Hop
The girl known as “Little Miss Dynamite” retired from performing on tour back in 2000. At that time she felt like there was little interest in what she was doing musically. Now that she’s topped the charts, she may have to rethink that! And while she may be turning 79 next Monday, December 11th, she just released a video for “Rockin'”. She recruited the help of stars like Trisha Yearwood and Tanya Tucker for the video. She’ll also be performing the song this week on NBC’s “Christmas at the Opry” special.
A Sentimental Feeling
The song has had a wide variety of airplay over the years. In fact, on its first release in 1958, it actually didn’t sell very well until 1960. That’s when it reached #14 on Billboard after Brenda became a little more well known. There was an instrumental version of the song used as background music in the 1964 television special “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. And in the 80’s and 90’s, the Disney Channel featured the song with clips from “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”. And of course, it became the favorite holiday song for a whole new generation when it was featured in 1990’s Home Alone. Lee credits that movie with “pushing it over the top”.
Ever so humble, Lee credits the success of the song to Johnny Marks, the songwriter behind other holiday classics including “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” He wrote “Rockin’,” with Lee in mind for the song.
Everyone Dancin’ Merrily
This year while you’re stringing up the lights and sipping egg nog, be sure to include this Christmas staple in your holiday repertoire. We can all celebrate this Augusta girl in the new old fashioned way.