The Enigmatic Journey of Brenda Lee Beyond Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree: Unraveling The Mystery of Her Musical Legacy


What Happened to Brenda Lee After Her Hit Song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

One of the most successful musical artists of all time, Brenda Lee has quite a collection of songs under her belt, and her voice is all over the airwaves when the holidays roll around. Decades after its release in 1958 when she was just 13 years old, Lee is still smashing records with her holiday jingle. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” made it to number 1 in the Hot 100 in December 2023 — knocking Mariah Carey off of her Christmas throne and making Lee the oldest person to top the U.S. singles chart. At 78, the rockabilly rambler knocked Louis Armstrong out of that record which he had held since 1964. Upon breaking the record, Lee was ecstatic. “This is amazing! I cannot believe that ‘Rockin’ has hit No. 1 65 years after it was released,” she said via MarketWatch. ” … this is just so special! … The song came out when I was a young teenager and now to know that it has resonated with multiple generations and continues to resonate — it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.” Although she is known across genres for her holiday hit “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Lee should be remembered for so much more. Some of her other biggest hits include “I’m Sorry,” “I Want to Be Wanted,” “Sweet Nothin’s,” “All Alone Am I,” and “Jambalaya.” Her career has been so significant that Rolling Stone even named her one of the 200 Best Singers of All Time.

Lee is a Multiple Hall of Famer

The first woman to be placed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Brenda Lee is a musician of legend. Of the sixteen double Hall of Famers, Lee and Dolly Parton are the only two female musicians on the list. It should come as no surprise that she’s received this honor, as Lee has sold over 100 million records worldwide in her 60+ years of musical work. Lee was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Additionally, she is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Music Hall of Fame, Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. Clearly, she has achieved superstardom outside of her beloved “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

She Mostly Retired in 2020

Brenda Lee’s retirement is well-earned, as she started her musical career with what became a smash hit as a teen. She announced in 2020 that she would be retiring from touring; however, she still does music from time to time. After finding out that “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” exploded to the number one spot, she even emerged from retirement for a live performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s All for the Hall fundraiser on December 5, 2023. Even after all this time in the industry, though, Lee still hasn’t lost that spark of musicianship, and any accolade she receives is a welcome one. She even won the very first Georgia Legends Award, for which the Georgia native was beyond elated. Even in retirement, as she resides in Nashville, where she’s lived for more than half a century, Lee clings tightly to her roots.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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