I'm Sorry (Brenda Lee song)

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"I'm Sorry"
Single by Brenda Lee
from the album Brenda Lee
A-side "That's All You Gotta Do"
Released May 1960
Genre Pop, country
Length 2:40
Label Decca Records 9-31093
Writer(s) Dub Allbritten, Ronnie Self
Producer(s) Owen Bradley
Brenda Lee singles chronology
"Sweet Nothin's"
"I'm Sorry"
"I Want to Be Wanted"

"I'm Sorry" is a 1960 hit song by 15-year-old American singer Brenda Lee. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in July 1960. AllMusic guide wrote that it is the pop star's "definitive song", and one of the "finest teen pop songs of its era". It was written by Dub Allbritten[1] and Ronnie Self.[2] On the UK Singles Chart, the song peaked at No.12.

According to the Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, Brenda Lee recorded the song early in 1960, but her label, Decca Records, held it from release for several months out of concern that a 15-year-old girl was not mature enough to sing about unrequited love. When the song finally was released, it was considered to be the flip side of the more uptempo "That's All You Gotta Do". Although "That's All You Gotta Do" was a chart success in its own right, reaching No. 6 on the Hot 100, it was "I'm Sorry" that became the smash hit and the standard.[3] On other charts, "I'm Sorry" peaked at number four on the R&B chart and "That's All You Gotta Do" peaked at number nineteen on the R&B charts.[4]

"I'm Sorry" was released as the A-side (with "That's All You Gotta Do" as the B-side) when the single was released in the U.K. in July 1960. "I'm Sorry" was not one of Lee's more successful singles in the U.K., where Lee's previous single, "Sweet Nothin's", and several later releases (notably "Speak to Me Pretty", "All Alone Am I" and "As Usual") were substantially bigger hits.

Although "I'm Sorry" was never released to country radio in the United States as a single, it would in time become accepted by American country fans as a standard of the genre. The song — a fixture on many "country oldies" programs — was an early example of the new "Nashville sound", a style that emphasized a stringed-instrumental sound and background vocals.[citation needed]

A remake of "I'm Sorry" was a minor hit for Joey Heatherton in 1972 reaching No. 87 on the Billboard Hot 100. Recorded July 26, 1972, the track was issued that November as the second single from The Joey Heatherton album being the followup to Heatherton's sole Top 40 hit "Gone".

"I'm Sorry" has also been recorded by Bobby Vee (album Bobby Vee Sings Your Favorites/ 1960), Jane Morgan (album In My Style/ 1965), Dottie West (album Feminine Fancy/ 1968), Allison Durbin (album Are You Lonesome Tonight/ 1977), Billy Joe Royal (album Billy Joe Royal/ 1980), Maywood (album Walking Back to Happiness/ 1991), and Roch Voisine (album AmerIIcana/ 2009). A recording by Pat Boone made in 1960 was first released on the 2006 Pat Boone box set The Sixties 1960-1962.

A Czech-language rendering of "I'm Sorry", titled "Roň Slzy", was recorded in 1965 by Yvonne Přenosilová. "I'm Sorry" has since been rendered in Danish as "Jeg be'r dig" recorded by Birthe Kjær on her 1974 album Tennessee Waltz and in Flemish as "Vergeef me" recorded by Mieke (album Horen zien en zingen/ 1978).

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their TV series episode "The Secret Life of Dave Seville".

Ben Vaughn referenced it in his song "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)".

It was used as an interlude in Beyoncé's 2016 tour The Formation World Tour.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "I'm Sorry". BMI Repertoire. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "I'm Sorry - Brenda Lee | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 361. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 343. 

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