June 17, 2014
Brenda Lee placed 37 songs on the American singles charts during the 1960s making her one of the top selling solo female artists of the decade.
She was born Brenda Mae Tarpley December 11, 1944 in Lithonia, Georgia. She has been a professional singer since the age of six and signed a contract with the Decca Label in 1957 at age 12 when she issued her first chart single. Her nickname is Little Miss Dynamite because of her diminutive stature and was taken from her rockabilly hit “Dynamite.”
Her most memorable hits are her number one song “I’m Sorry,” “Dum Dum,” “All Alone Am I,” “Break It To Me Gently,” “Fool Number #1,” and the perennial Christmas favorite “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” When her pop hits ran out at the end of the sixties she would re-invent herself as a country singer which eventually led to her induction into The Country Hall Of Fame in 1997. She would enter The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at their 2002 induction ceremony.
For one week, October 24, 1960, she toped the Billboard Magazine Pop Charts for the second and last time. “I Want To Be Wanted” would spend one week on top of The United States music world replacing The Drifters “Save The Last Dance For Me” which would then ascend the summit again for two more weeks.
It was a ballad of teen angst as were most of her big hits of the day. It was a subject she knew alot about as she was still in her mid-teens when the song was released. It would remain on the charts for 15 weeks and even reach number seven on the rhythm & blues charts which was quite a stretch.
Now near 70 years old, Brenda Lee continues to perform and record plus has been married to the same person for 47 years which is a rare feat for the music world.
Brenda Lee’s legacy is secure and so one last tip of the hat to her number one song of a half century ago, “I Want To Be Wanted.”
June 11, 2014
Brenda Lee was 15 when “I’m Sorry” reached the Billboard Hot 100 and she was already a star. She had been recording since the age of 13 and her “Sweet Nothin’s” had reached number four.
The label was uncomfortable with a 15 year old singing about unrequited love. The label finally issued “I’m Sorry” as the flip side of “That’s All You Gotta Do, which made it to number six. Disc Jockey’s also began playing “I’m Sorry” and on July 18, 1960, it reached number one where it remained for three weeks.
Brenda Lee placed 55 songs on the Hot 100 and when the pop hits ran out, she re-invented herself as a country artist and placed dozens of singles on the Billboard Country Chart.
She has been elected to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, The Country Hall Of Fame, The Rockabilly Hall Of Fame, and The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame.
December 18, 2012
It’s easy to forget sometimes that Brenda Lee was one of the most successful female artists of the late 1950s and 1960s. She placed 53 singles in the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during that time period, including two that reached number one.
During the fall of 1961 she released the two-sided hit, “Fool #1/Anybody But Me.” The A side reached number three on the BILLBOARD Chart and the flip climbed to number 31.
She tended to rotate booming ballads and rocking material. Her voice was a good instrument for both types of songs. After he pop career wound down during the early 1970s, she switched to country music. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1997.
March 29, 2012
Brenda Lee was just under five feet of musical dynamite. In fact her title “Little Miss Dynamite” was taken from her second chart hit.
She was one of the superstars of the late 1950s and early 1960s pre-Beatles era. Overall she placed 55 songs on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart in addition to 30 on the Country Chart.
“Emotion/I’m Learning About Love” was a two-sided hit released during the late fall of 1960. “Emotion” was the bigger hit as it reached number seven. It the the emotional type of ballad that she was so good at producing. The real gem was the B side which peaked at number 33. “I’m Learning About Love” was a rockabilly type song that had a raw energy about it and looked back to her roots.
Any Brenda Lee compilation is still worth a listen.
January 8, 2012
Brenda Lee had 55 pop hits from the late 1950s through the early 1970s before going on to a successful country career.
On December 12, 1960, she released one of the classic Cristmas singles of all time. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” reached number 14 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
It re-charted during 1961 at number 50 and again in 1962 at number 59. When all was said and done it had sold over one millions copies.
December 26, 2011
Brenda Lee was a young teenager when she began her career. She became known as “Lttle Miss Dynamite” for such songs as “Jambalaya” and “Dynamite.”
As a 15 year old she recorded the love ballad, “I’m Sorry.” The Decca label held the song back for a number of months as they were worried about releasing a love song by such a young girl.
“I’m Sorry” was finally released duing 1961 and would spend three weeks as the number one song on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It became the signature song of her career and opened up the country charts for her future releases.