Brenda Lee's holiday classic "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" turns 65 this year, and to celebrate the anniversary, Little Miss Dynamite filmed a heartwarming new music video complete with her friends Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood.
"Trisha and Tanya are my buds," Lee said. "They're always up for anything we ask each other. If one of them asks me to do something, I'll do it. If I ask one of them, they'll do it. So, I just thought it would be cool to have them on it. And their tenure in the industry speaks for itself, as does the song 'Rockin'. So I was just very honored that they saw fit to do it."
Lee released "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" in 1958. Johnny Marks, who Lee points out was Jewish, wrote the song, which made its way onto the radio airplay charts two years after the singer released it, landing at No. 14. Running Bear directed Lee's new video. James Stratakis produced it, while Wes Edwards and Angie Lorenz served as executive producers, Stephen Kinigopoulos was editor and Ryan Featherstun was DP.
Lee can't remember how old she was the first time she heard the song – somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. But she remembers she knew it was special.
"I wanted to do it, and we did," she said. "It just came out every year and became what it was. The people were great. They went out, they bought it, they embraced it. Radio embraced it, and 'Home Alone,' of course, didn't hurt it at all. And it's just been a magical time in my life."
And more than six decades after it was released, the song still brings magic into her life. She gets tickled when she walks into a Christmas party and hears "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" playing.
"I'll start dying laughing, and they'll say, 'You don't want to hear it?'" she said. "I said, 'No, no. Maybe I'll get royalties!'"
Lee said the song is "like a child" to her – but it's also gratification.
"You do something in this industry, and you yourself feel like, 'Oh, I think that's a winner,'" she explained. "Nine times out of 10, it's not. But that song, as raw as it was when I got it, it was magical to me. I just thought, 'Oh my goodness, this song says it all. It's got a good beat. It's not a Christmas ballad, but yet it says everything that you want it to say.' I'm a rocker, so I'm going to be rocking around the Christmas tree. It just all fell into place."
When she saw her new video, she started crying because she was so happy. She hopes other feel the joy she felt when they watch it, too.
"I hope they take away a little magic of Christmas, because Christmas is not all gifts," she said. "It's blessings. It's people. It's dreams. It's hopes. It's a lot of things that I felt as a child growing up in Georgia that I thought to myself, 'Maybe one day I'll do this, or I'll do that. And Lord knows I did it."
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