Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” tops Billboard Hot 100 chart for first time since 1958 release

Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” has topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time since it was released in 1958. The holiday classic outperformed familiar chart-topper Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which came in at No. 2.

“Rockin'” was streamed nearly 35 million times between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Thursday, according to Billboard. The news follows last month’s release of a music video for the song, which Lee has said she knew was special when she first heard it as a child.

“I wanted to do it, and we did,” she told CMT, a division of Paramount, the parent company of CBS News. “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.”

Brenda Lee, circa 1970
Brenda Lee, circa 1970

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The song’s ascent to the No. 1 spot breaks a lot of records.

It’s now the single with the longest run from its release to the No. 1 spot — 65 years. It debuted on the Hot 100 in 1960, then took just under 63 years to hit the top, setting a record for the longest climb ever to No. 1.

It’s also the longest break for an artist between No. 1 hits: 63 years, one month and two weeks between “I Want To Be Wanted” and “Rockin’.”

Lee also has the longest span from her first No. 1 to her last: 63 years, four months and three weeks since “I’m Sorry” topped the chart in 1960.

Lee, at age 78, is the oldest artist to top the chart. The prior record was 62-year-old Louis Armstrong with “Hello, Dolly!” in 1964.

Lee said in a statement she was a young teenager when “Rockin'” came out, and knowing that it resonates with multiple generations is one of the best gifts she’s ever received.

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