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BRENDA LEE rockin Around the Christmas Tree
Brenda Lee was described as “Little Miss Dynamite” by the media over
50 years ago because of her explosive stage act.
When she was my age she was famous and an international star. And
According to The Beatles, John Lennon, who described Brenda Lee as “the greatest Rock
And roll voice of all.” He would know because The Beatles toured with her
In Europe..they were Brenda Lee’s opening band.
Besides Elvis, Brenda Lee has been written about as having the most
cumulative record sales of them all, I knew she had every Hall of Fame
Award out there that anyone could get…Country Hall of Fame, Rockabilly
Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…if there’s any other big awards..
she has them …plus some lifetime achievement awards too.
Brenda Lee was the biggest of her times so when she came to the Volusia
County Fairgrounds, no one was really surprised when her
two shows were packed. I was at the 4pm show where it was standing room
only in the Tommy Lawrence Arena and the 7pm show I was backstage for
the last part of her songs and got a better view of her fans shaking to her songs.
So I watched behind the scenes while she sang her closing song, “Rock
Around the Christmas Tree,” and got to see the faces of her fans -
admiration. And what amazed me was that they gave Brenda Lee a standing
ovation for like every song and even those in wheelchairs had their neighbors
helping them to stand. It was amazing!
While I was interviewing Brenda Lee, I noticed her grandson was helping out
The crew pack up. It must run in the family to start early in show business!
Q. You’ve been performing really you whole life - do you remember your first performance and how you felt about it?
A. Well. I was 3 years old and my daddy, in his spare time, played baseball.
And I would go out to the baseball park with him and I would open up the games by singing, “Take me out to the ball game.” So that was the first time I ever sang and then my aunt started entering me in talent shows and that’s basically how I got started - singing anywhere I could!”
Q. After having 29 top 40 hits, and sold over 100 million records - more
Than any other woman in history - do you have a favorite song?
A. Well, you know it’s like picking a favorite child, because you love them all- they’re all unique and different in their own way and I love all my songs. If I had to pick a couple, I’d pick, “I’m Sorry” and “Rock around the Christmas Tree,” because both have become my signature songs…that’s
What people know me for.”
And I tell her, “That’s my favorite song -Rock Around The Christmas
“You see! Kids you age know that song and I’m blessed that happened! When Home Alone (the movie) came out, it got me a whole new audience of kids so that was great!”
Q. “You’ve met so many other performers while you’ve performed - is there
One that you’d like to meet again? That they meant a lot to you and why?”
A. “My favorite performer in the 60’s and today is Elton John and Elton & I
Are very good friends. I just saw his concert a year ago in Nashville - we got
To hook up again.”
Q. “When you were growing up - were you around a lot of music? And how did this influence your life?”
A. “I didn’t have a lot of music around me growing up because I didn’t have a radio or television. Most of my music came from the church so a lot of my roots and my heritage in my music is from the gospel field of music.”
Q. “You grew up performing on stage and as a teenager you were like super famous with your hit songs - so how did you stay so “grounded” when kids now are sort of falling apart when they are famous?”
A.”Because of my mother. My dad died when I was 7 so my mom really
Instilled in me a sense of “self” and that’s what I think you really need to know. And you can learn who you are. You can learn what’s right and what’s wrong…you can set your priorities and you can live that way. And too, I grew up with a great faith ethic. Our family was very spiritual and I’m a spiritual person and God has got me through many trials and tribulations and still continues to do that today.”
Q. “I talked to Tony Butala from The Lettermen last year and he said “You
Got to love what you do” and Carl Gimarese from The Buckinghams said
“It’s importand to stay focused” Gloria Gaynor told me “always be true to yourself.” What has been an important thing for you to remember that you
A.”I’m like Gloria Gaynor - you’ve got to be true to youself - it has to be what you want to do and not what someone else wants you to do. And you have to know that there are as many valleys as there are mountains. So your not going to be everyone’s darlin - if you happen to be a hit - you can’t be number 1 forever - that’s why there’s numbers underneath it. So you have to realize that first and you have to have the love and the passion for whatever career in life you want to do and if you love it - it’s never a days work.”
A. I take my Christmas show out to December 5 and I don’t work as much as I used to…because of my little grandson - I want to be home with him so I only work about 12-15 shows a year, and a lot of that is done during the Christmas season because of “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”.
I left and went outside for a funnel cake at one of the stands, humming to myself, Rockin around the Christmas tree. It was stuck in my head, like it
Always is when I hear it..reminding me of school chorus, family, watching
A Home Alone dvd and now, reminding me of standing backstage and seeing
So many people loving it as much as I do while the Legendary Brenda Lee
Sang her song. “You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear….”