Monday, December 12, 2016

Music Monday - Happy Birthday Brenda Lee

Singer Brenda Lee was born on December 11, 1944.  Yesterday, she celebrated her 72nd birthday.

Born Brenda Mae Tarpley in Georgia, her parents were poor and she began to work at an early age.  She was entered into a singing contest at age three.  Singing jobs followed.  After her father was killed in an accident when she was eight, her singing skills helped the family to survive.

A local DJ changed her name to Brenda Lee.

When I think of Brenda Lee, I immediately think of one of my favorite Christmas songs - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.  Listen to that voice - does it sound like someone who was only 13 years old?

This song was released both in 1958 and 1959, but did not become a hit right away.  Not until 1960, that is. (My apologies if these songs aren't positioned correctly in the blog - I've been having trouble with that today).



One interesting piece of trivia about Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, is that it was written by a Jewish songwriter by the name of Johnny Marks, who also wrote a number of other Christmas songs.  Before Christmas, I will run my annual post on Christmas songs written by Jews - there are a lot more than you might think.

Brenda Lee also covered a song first done by Bobby Helms, Jingle Bell Rock.

But Brenda Lee was far from a Christmas song singer.  In 1960, she did a song that so many teenagers of the time could identify with - I'm Sorry.

Happy belated birthday, Brenda Lee.

16 comments:

  1. One of my fondest memories of Christmas's past is being at my grandparent's home and watching American Bandstand after dinner. Two songs I always remember hearing are Jingle Bell Rock and Brenda lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

    And speaking of being Jewish, some idiot on Amazon was trashing a Christmas CD by Barbra Streisand because she wasn't Christian. I wonder if he knows who wrote White Christmas.

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    1. The ignorance of people never ceases to amaze me. (We won't clue that man in on the religious tradition Jesus was raised in either, won't we.)

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  2. Glad to read about Brenda Lee on her 72nd birthday:)

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    1. A lot of singer birthdays in the last day or two. Must be something about December.

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  3. Okay..THIS was really interesting! Thank you for this.

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  4. Her voice was certainly very adult! I thought all Christmas songs were written by Jewish composers? Just kidding but a lot are I know.

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    1. Many, many Christmas songs written by Jews. Tune in (no pun intended) next Monday.

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  5. Those two are the ones I recall- Jingle Bell Rock and I'm Sorry.
    but, iwas never a big fan of hers, anyway....

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  6. I did a post on Christmas songs written by Jewish composers, if you want to look at it:

    https://thesoundofonehandtyping.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/ten-great-christmas-songs-written-by-jewish-composers/

    Brenda Lee, "Little Miss Dynamite." A tiny woman with a great big voice. She's a favorite.

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    1. I'm visiting that link shortly. Thank you. Great minds.

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  7. Oh, and I built on your post (which I've linked to) for my Two for Tuesday tomorrow. Hope that's okay...

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  8. Nice collection of songs. Even "I'm sorry" sounds very cheerful. Definitely danceable tunes.

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  9. Happy Birthday, Brenda Lee. I had no idea that she had lost her father young and helped her family financially. Such a sad situation.

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