Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

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"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Single Brenda Lee-Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree cover.jpg
Single by Brenda Lee
from the album Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee
B-side"Papa Noël"
Released1958 (US),
December 1962 (UK)[1]
Format7-inch
RecordedOctober 19, 1958
GenreChristmas, country, rockabilly
Length2:02
LabelDecca 9-30776
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marks
Producer(s)Owen Bradley
Brenda Lee singles chronology
"Rock-a-Bye Baby Blues"
(1957)
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
(1958)
"I Want to Be Wanted (Per Tutta La Vita)"
(1960)
Music video
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (audio) on YouTube

"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.

Original recording by Brenda Lee[edit]

Because of her mature-sounding voice, Lee recorded this song when she was only thirteen years old. 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.[2] 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.[citation needed]

Chart performance and sales[edit]

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" peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. It continued to sell well during subsequent holiday seasons, peaking as high as No. 3 on Billboard's Christmas Singles chart in December 1965.

It peaked at No. 6 in the UK Charts, when it was released there in 1963. In 2013, due to downloads, it became one of a number of songs to re-enter the UK Singles Chart near Christmas time - it peaked at No. 63 on Sunday December 15, 2013. In 2017, it reached number 9, its highest position since 1963.[3]

Radio stations ranging from Top 40 to Adult Contemporary to country music to Oldies to even Adult Standards played this version. Lee's recording still receives a great deal of airplay, and has since turned into a perennial holiday favorite, and beginning in 2014 has returned annually to the Billboard Hot 100 chart:

Year Debut/Re-entry
chart date
Yearly
chart peak
position
Yearly
total weeks
charted
1960 December 12[4] 14 4
1961 December 11[5] 50 4
1962 December 15[6] 59 3
2014 January 4[7] 50 1
2015 December 26[8] 30 3
2016 December 24[9] 27 3
2017 December 23[10] 34 4
2018 December 8[11] 9 5

As of November 25, 2016, Nielsen SoundScan estimated total sales of the digital track at 1,000,000 downloads, placing it fifth on the list of all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday digital singles in SoundScan history.[12]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1958–2019) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[13] 35
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 30
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[15] 3
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[16] 9
France (SNEP)[17] 106
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 26
Greece International Digital Singles (IFPI)[19] 9
Hungary (Single Top 40)[20] 12
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[21] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 4
Italy (FIMI)[23] 31
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[24] 8
Norway (VG-lista)[25] 25
Portugal (AFP)[26] 19
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[27] 46
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[28] 4
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[29] 77
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 12
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[31] 16
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[32] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[33] 9
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[34] 16
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[35] 2
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[36] 62

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[37] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[38] Platinum 600,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Track listing[edit]

Side A

Side B

  • "Papa Noël" (Roy Botkin) – 2:02

Personnel[edit]

Other recordings[edit]

Kim Wilde and Mel Smith version[edit]

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Mel & Kim.jpg
Single by Mel & Kim
B-side"Deck the Blooming Halls"
ReleasedNovember 23, 1987
Format7", 12"
GenreChristmas music
Length3:38
LabelTen
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marks
Producer(s)Stuart Colman
Kim Wilde singles chronology
"Say You Really Want Me"
(1987)
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
(1987)
"Hey Mister Heartache"
(1988)
Music video
Mel & Kim
"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"
on YouTube

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.[39] 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.

Kim Wilde and Nik Kershaw[edit]

Kim Wilde recorded a new version of the song on her 2013 holiday album Wilde Winter Songbook together with Nik Kershaw.[citation needed]

Other versions[edit]

Many artists have recorded the song. Among the most notable of those are:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Crampton, Luke; Lazell, Barry (1989). Guinness Book of Rock Stars. Guinness Books. p. 293. ISBN 0-85112-872-6.
  2. ^ American Federation of Musicians (October 26, 1958). No. 34784 (Report). American Federation of Musicians. Bradley's Studio 16th Ave So., Nashville, TN; 10/19/58 3:00 - 5:00 PM
  3. ^ White, Jack (December 15, 2017). "Christmas classics reach new all-time highs on the singles chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 12, 1960: #64)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 11, 1961: #85)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 15, 1962: #89)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (January 4, 2014: #50)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  8. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 26, 2015: #44)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 24, 2016: #37)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  10. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 23, 2017: #37)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  11. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart (December 8, 2018: #23)". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  12. ^ Billboard Staff (November 25, 2016). "What Are the Top-Selling Holiday Songs?". Billboard. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  13. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. December 31, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  15. ^ "Brenda Lee Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  16. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201851 into search. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  17. ^ "Lescharts.com – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Official IFPI Charts – Digital Singles Chart (International) – Week: 52/2018". IFPI Greece. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  20. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  21. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  23. ^ "Top Singoli – Classifica settimanale WK 52" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  24. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 31, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  25. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 20 Single uke 52, 2018". VG-lista. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  26. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  28. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201851 into search. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Canciones – Semana 52: del 21.12.2018 al 27.12.2018" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  30. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  31. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  33. ^ "Brenda Lee Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  34. ^ "Brenda Lee Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  35. ^ "Brenda Lee Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  36. ^ "Brenda Lee Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  37. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  38. ^ "British single certifications – Brenda Lee – Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 5, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  40. ^ Alabama's charting singles at AllMusic. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  41. ^ LeAnn Rimes's charting singles at AllMusic. Retrieved October 14, 2011.