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Brenda Lee Finally Tops Billboard Charts 65 Years After Debut of Hit Christmas Song

Brenda Lee
Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Sixty-five years after “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” debuted, Brenda Lee is topping the charts.

The 79-year-old singer has landed her first Billboard No. 1 hit since 1960, with her classic Christmas hit rockin’ its way to the top of the music charts for the week ending in Nov. 30.


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Lee, now the oldest recording artist to top the Billboard chart, was just 13 years old in 1958, when she recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” a song written by Johnny Marks and produced by Owen Bradley.

“No way — really?” Lee said through tears when she learned the holiday hit had topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Mr. Marks would be proud.”


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Lee’s Christmas feat marks the first time this season that pop star Mariah Carey’s holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was knocked out of the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” drew 34.9 million streams while Carey’s classic earned 34.2 million.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

In a recent video celebrating the 65th anniversary of her hit Christmas tune, Lee spoke about the humble beginnings of her career in music — noting she got her start by singing Gospel music in church.

Other songs that topped the Billboard charts with Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” include Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” and Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

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