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Brenda Lee’s Christmas Miracle: A Journey to the Top 65 Years Later

From 'Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree' to Billboard's Number 1 – A Timeless Climb

At Christmas, do miracles happen? It seems so. Just a few hours ago, 78-year-old singer Brenda Lee achieved her third number 1 on the chart of best-selling singles in the United States. The song in question is clearly her Christmas hit, “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,” released in 1958. Yes, you read that right – the number 1 arrived 65 years later, making her the ‘greatest’ artist to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

According to Billboard’s data, the song was downloaded and streamed over 30% more in all three consumption parameters contributing to the Hot 100. During the monitoring period, it garnered 35 million streams, 20.7 million in radio formats (whatever radio format means), and 3,000 copies sold (we would like to meet those who pay for songs in stores). This achievement comes on the 65th anniversary of the release, crowning a journey that began in previous years when the song regularly re-entered the charts during the holidays. However, it had never reached number 1, as Mariah always held that position (at least since 2019). This year, things took a different turn, and record executives worked hard to reach the milestone. A brand-new music video (Brenda Lee making a video at 78 is commendable in itself), social media activities, and dedicated playlist efforts. In the end, it worked: Brenda is at number 1, and Mariah at number 2, at least in the USA (while “All I Want For Christmas” remains the most listened to worldwide).

The story of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” is not so different from Mariah’s classic: both became number 1 many years after their release (of course, Brenda much later), becoming the two favorite Christmas classics along with Wham!’s “Last Christmas” and a few others. This information raises a significant theme: people don’t want new Christmas songs, much to the chagrin of those who try every year.

Consider that when Brenda Lee recorded the song, she was only 13 years old. At that time, she was already performing in talent shows and TV competitions, starting when she was just 5 years old. Between the ’50s and ’60s, she sold a lot of records and claimed the top spot on the American chart twice, with “I’m Sorry” and “I Want to Be Wanted.” And now, today, it’s become three times.

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