Brenda Lee Biography
By: Perihan El Etreby
Brenda Mae Tarpley known professionally as Brenda Lee is a member of the Rock and Roll, Country Music and Rockabilly Halls of Fame. She is best known for her 1958’s hit song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, and her 1960 hit “I’m Sorry”. Brenda has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. she had 48 US chart hits during the 1960s and ranked fourth behind Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Ray Charles in that decade. She is also a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Brenda is the only woman to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame. She was also nominated for a Grammy with 1979’s “Tell Me What It’s Like” and again in 1980 for “Broken Trust.”
Brenda was born on December 11, 1944, in Atlanta Georgia, and she has started her music career very early; at age six, she won a local singing contest sponsored by local elementary schools. The reward was a live appearance on an Atlanta radio show, Starmakers Revue, where she performed for the next year. She received the nickname “Little Miss Dynamite” in 1957, after recording the song “Dynamite” when she was 12, and was one of the earliest pop stars to have a major contemporary international following. In 1969, Brenda returned to the charts with her recording “Johnny One Time”. The song reached #3 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Chart and #41 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also was the reason that Brenda won her second Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal.
Brenda has issued 29 studio albums, 26 compilation albums (from major labels), and 4 video albums since 1959. In the Sixties, she earned 48 Hot 100 singles in the United States, more than any female recording artists. Billboard ranked her as the Top Female Artist of the Decade and 15th Greatest Hot 100 Female Artist of all time. From those 48 songs on the US Hot 100 singles chart, 28 made it to the top 40, and 13 made it to the top 10. Her song “I’m Sorry” was a top one hit and remained on the chart for 23 weeks; “I Want to Be Wanted” made it to the top one as well and remained there for 15 weeks.
Born to a very poor family, Brenda’s singing became a necessity for the family when her father died unexpectedly in 1953 in a construction accident. Brenda’s mother, Anne, did her best to raise Brenda and her three siblings, but the family was usually short on food and clothing, and medical treatment was difficult to come by. Brenda was fortunate enough to be born with musical abilities that would help her family rise out of poverty. She was a gifted young lady who could hear a song twice and then sing it from memory. It was around that time that she had her first serious paying gig, earning $35 – more than a weeks’ wages in rural Georgia at the time.
Brenda met Ronnie Shacklett in November 1962 at Bo Diddley and Jackie Wilson’s concert at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Coliseum, and married him less than six months later, on April 24, 1963. Brenda and Shacklett have two daughters, Jolie and Julie; and three grandchildren, Taylor, Jordan and Charley.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Brenda Lee’S Most Famous Song?
The most famous song by Brenda Lee is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. The song was originally released in 1958 and has since been covered by many artists. It remains a popular Christmas song and is often played during the holiday season.
Who Is Brenda Lee ?
Brenda Lee is an American singer who was born in 1944. She is known for her recordings of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “I’m Sorry”, both of which were released when she was just 13 years old.
When Did Brenda Lee Start Singing?
Brenda Lee started singing when she was just a child. She first gained popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s with a string of hit songs, including “I’m Sorry,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Sweet Nothin’s.
How Old Was Brenda Lee When She Sang Rockin?
Brenda Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded her hit song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” She became a sensation with her powerful voice and impressive vocal range, which earned her the nickname “Little Miss Dynamite.” Her career spanned more than five decades, and she continued to perform and record well into her later years.