Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ is No. 1, 65 years after release

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee has hit No. 1 in a new old-fashioned way.

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The 78-year-old’s rockabilly holiday standard, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” has hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for the week ending Dec. 9 -- 65 years after it was first released. The new chart will be officially released on Wednesday.

According to Billboard, the song -- which Lee recorded in 1958, when she was 13 -- is only the third holiday song to reach No. 1 in the Hot 100. The others were “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” in 1958 by The Chipmunks with David Seville, which spent four weeks atop the charts; and Mariah Carey’s 1994 release, “All I Want For Christmas is You,” which has spent a total of 12 weeks at No. 1 since reaching the top of the charts in December 2019.

Lee’s song has been a holiday chestnut for years and even had a notable appearance in the 1990 movie “Home Alone.”

The song is also Lee’s third No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, along with her last chart-topper. It has been 63 years, one month and two weeks since “I Want To Be Wanted” went to No. 1 on Oct. 24, 1960, and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” That breaks the record for the longest span between an artist’s No. 1 hits, according to Billboard.

The previous record was held by Cher, who had a 25-year, 51-week gap between “Dark Lady” on March 23, 1974, and “Believe,” on March 13, 1999, Billboard reported.

Lee’s other chart-topper was “I’m Sorry,” also recorded in 1960.

Recently, streaming playlists have given the song a lift, The New York Times reported. Lee’s song has topped out at No. 2 recently, held back from the top spot by Carey’s song, according to the newspaper.

But Lee’s song muscled past Carey’s effort to take the top spot in the charts.

Lee’s song collected nearly 35 million streams and 21 million radio impressions, Variety reported, citing data provided by Luminate.

The singer made a renewed push for her signature holiday hit, publishing a new music video and a TikTok account, the Times reported. That helped her edge Carey for the top spot.

“I would’ve never thought in my wildest dreams that ‘Rockin’’ would be my signature song,” Lee said in a recent interview with the newspaper from her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

After Lee and Carey, holiday songs dotted Billboard’s Top 10 with Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” at No. 4, “Last Christmas” by Wham! at No. 5, “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives at No. 6, and Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” at No. 10, Variety reported.

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