|"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"|
|Single by Brenda Lee|
|from the album Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee|
December 1962 (UK)
|Recorded||October 19, 1958|
|Genre||Christmas, country, rockabilly|
|Brenda Lee singles chronology|
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958; it has since been recorded by numerous other music artists. By the song's 50th anniversary in 2008, Lee's original version had sold over 25 million copies with the 4th most digital downloads sold of any Christmas single.
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was written by Johnny Marks, who had previously penned "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas". In spite of her mature-sounding voice, Lee recorded the song when she was only 13 years old. In a 2019 interview with The Tennessean, Lee recalled that she didn't know why Marks wanted her to sing it: "I was only 12 [sic], and I had not had a lot of success in records, but for some reason he heard me and wanted me to do it. And I did." The song's declaration of a rock and roll sound notwithstanding, its instrumentation also fits the country music genre, which Lee more fully embraced as her career evolved. The recording features Hank Garland and Harold Bradley on guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax, Bob Moore on bass, and veteran session player Buddy Harman on drums. The song is written in the key of A-flat major.
An instrumental version of the song appears as background music in the 1964 television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which exclusively featured music written by Marks. It can be heard in the scene where Rudolph first arrives at the Reindeer Games and meets another reindeer named Fireball. A fully sung version of the song would later appear in Rankin/Bass's 1979 sequel Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. The song was also used in the 1990 film Home Alone during a scene when Kevin McCallister pretends that there is a holiday party taking place in his house, and discourages the burglars from robbing it. The song was also featured in The Christmas Special episode of Regular Show in 2012. The song was also used in D-TV set to the Disney cartoons, Pluto's Christmas Tree and Mickey's Christmas Carol.
Although Decca released the single in both 1958 and again in 1959, it did not sell well until Lee became a popular star in 1960. That Christmas holiday season, Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" placed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, eventually peaking at No. 14. It continued to sell well during subsequent holiday seasons, peaking as high as No. 3 on Billboard's Christmas Singles chart in December 1965. Lee said, "It was magic, and I think we all knew it. It took a few years to take off, but once it did, it really did."
Lee's 1958 recording still receives a great deal of airplay, as radio station formats ranging from top 40 to adult contemporary to country music to oldies to even adult standards have played this version. It has since turned into a perennial holiday favorite, and due to rule changes in 2014 has returned annually to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching an all-time chart peak of No. 2 during the 2019 holiday season.
The song reached over one million in digital downloads by 2016 according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it fifth on the list of all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday digital singles in SoundScan history. It has sold 1,170,000 copies in the United States as of December 2019.
On the official UK Singles Chart, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" peaked at No. 6 when it was released in the United Kingdom in 1963. In 2013, due to downloads, it became one of a number of songs to re-enter the UK Singles Chart near Christmastime each holiday season. The single peaked at No. 63 on Sunday, December 15, 2013. Then in 2017, it reached No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart, its highest chart position since 1963.
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||25|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||3|
|Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)||9|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||26|
|Greece International Digital Singles (IFPI)||9|
|Hungary (Single Top 40)||12|
|Hungary (Stream Top 40)||3|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||7|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||46|
|Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)||4|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||7|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||6|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||16|
|US Holiday 100 (Billboard)||2|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||62|
|US Rolling Stone Top 100||2|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||10,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||600,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"|
|Single by Mel & Kim|
|"Deck the Blooming Halls"|
|Released||November 23, 1987|
|Kim Wilde singles chronology|
A version of the song by Kim Wilde and Mel Smith (credited as "Mel & Kim" as a parody of then-popular sister act Mel and Kim), featuring Pete Thomas, reached No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart during the Christmas season 1987. The track was recorded to raise funds for Comic Relief. Its accompanying video featured the two hosting a Christmas party with guests including The Mekon and an appearance from Smith's comedy partner Griff Rhys Jones, carol singers played by the band Curiosity Killed the Cat and Spitting Image puppets of Bette Midler and Tina Turner.
Many artists have recorded the song. Among the most notable of those are:
Bradley's Studio 16th Ave So., Nashville, TN; 10/19/58 3:00 - 5:00 PM