- 05 Dec 23
65 years after its release, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree has reached the coveted US no. 1 spot, making the track possibly the ultimate sleeper hit.
Brenda Lee has smashed a series of US chart records as her Christmas song 'Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree', first released in 1958, has finally reached the coveted No 1 spot on the Hot 100- 65 years after release.
The news makes Lee, At 78, the oldest person to top US singles chart, beating a pervious record held by Louis Armstrong since 1964.
The song was recorded when Lee was just 13years old. Initially a flop, 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' became a sleeper hit; it rose to the US Top 20 in 1960 after Lee’s pop career had taken off and earned her back-to-back No 1 singles earlier that year in the form of her two singles 'I Want to Be Wanted' and 'I'm Sorry'.
Written by Johnny Marks, a veteran Christmas song writer and the composition brain behind Christmas favourites such as 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and 'Have a Holly Jolly Christmas'.
The rockabily track found a wider audience after its feature in Home Alone in 1990, but it was through the internet age that it achieved it's long overdue success.
'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' reached over one million in digital downloads by 2016 according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it fifth on the list of all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday digital singles in SoundScan history.
The song had sold 1,170,000 copies in the United States alone as of December 2019, however by November 2023, the Recording Industry Association of America certified 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' 5× Platinum for US sales of 5 million copies of the digital single.
The 65-year gap between the song release and hitting No 1 is by far the longest for any artist – it was previously set by another Christmas song when Mariah Carey in 2019, when All I Want For Christmas Is You reached No 1 after 25 years.
The Pogues are looking to emulate Brenda Lee's success by setting a similar record on the other side of the pond, where fans in the UK are trying to push 'Fairytale of New York' over the finish line for UK Christmas number one, 37 years after its initial release.
At 78, Brenda Lee is now the oldest person to top the US chart, overtaking a record held by Louis Armstrong since 1964, when he reached No 1 with 'Hello, Dolly!'.
Speaking of the track's sleeper success, Lee told the New York Times last month: “I would’ve never thought in my wildest dreams that Rockin’ would be my signature song,”
Check out Brenda Lee's new music video for 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' released this year with Vevo: