Week #6 Song- Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

This week we take a closer look at a little lighter holiday song offering.  Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree is ranked as high as Number Four on some Top Christmas Song lists.  The song was penned by Johnny Marks in 1958.  Marks also was the one responsible the song version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Marks was trying to come up with a chart topper to rival the previous year’s hit, Jingle Bell Rock.  The singer was teenage newbie, Brenda Lee.  Lee was just 13 years-old when she recorded the song.  She was tiny lady (only 4 foot 9) but had a big voice.  Rockin’ had simple lyrics but a catchy tune, more country than rock, with a great saxophone solo section.  Unfortunately the song didn’t fare too well in ’58.  Elvis had THE Christmas song of the year with Blue Christmas.  Rockin’ would hit it big years later as Lee’s star rose.  She became such a huge act that even the Beatles opened for her as she toured Europe in the early 60s.  Lee’s version of the song is the best know but there are some other interesting ones as well.  Take a minute to listen to some of them:

Brenda Lee Original– the 1958 version.
Grand Ole Opry– This live performance features three powerful country ladies in a great version of the classic.  
Amy Grant– A little more modern version, but still with the twangy country feel.  
Partridge Family– This recording from the TV show family has a more relaxed, laid back sound to it.  Definitely not rock!
Mel & Kim– A comic parody from a pair of comedians in the United Kingdom.
Chicago– This video features an odd little story resulting in the musical entry from Chicago.  Not sure what to make of this…

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