Brenda Lee reacts to hearing 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' hit No. 1

Music legend Brenda Lee will turn 79 on Dec. 11, and she'll have a lot to celebrate: Her holiday classic "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" just topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the very first time, 65 years after its release.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is now only the third holiday song in history to top the Billboard Hot 100, joining Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "The Chipmunk Song" by The Chipmunks with David Seville.

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Written by Johnny Marks, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was released in 1958, but it only hit the chart in 1960, peaking at No. 14 that year. In 2019 and 2022, it climbed as high as No. 2.


Billboard posted a video on Instagram of Lee's reaction to the No. 1 ranking on Monday.

Lee's song sets another new record: the longest wait between a song's release and it hitting No. 1 on the chart. Carey previously held the record of 25 years between her holiday hit's release in 1994 and its ascent to the top of the list in 2019.

Lee is also now the oldest woman ever to hit No. 1 on the chart, surpassing Cher, who was 52 when "Believe" topped the Hot 100. Lee was 13 when she recorded "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

This is Lee's third Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit, following 1960's "I'm Sorry" and "I Want to Be Wanted." In the '60s, she scored 46 Hot 100 hits, the most of any female artist.

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And that isn't the only holiday hit in this week's top 10. Carey's song is No. 2, Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" is No. 3, Wham!'s "Last Christmas" is No. 5, Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas" is No. 6 and Andy Williams' "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is No. 10.

Brenda Lee reacts to hearing 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' hit No. 1 originally appeared on