Brenda Lee

  • American musician
  • Born December 11, 1942

Brenda Lee (born Brenda Mae Tarpley; December 11, 1944) is an American performer and the top-charting solo female vocalist of the 1960s. She sang rockabilly, pop and country music, and had 47 US chart hits during the 1960s, and is ranked fourth in that decade surpassed only by Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Ray Charles. She is known for her 1960 hit "I'm Sorry", and 1958's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", which has become a Christmas standard.At 4 ft 9 inches tall (approximately 145 cm), she received the nickname "Little Miss Dynamite" in 1957, after recording the song "Dynamite" when she was 12, and was one of the earliest pop stars to have a major contemporary international following.Lee's popularity faded in the late 1960s as her voice matured, but she continued a successful recording career by returning to her roots as a country singer with a string of hits through the 1970s and 1980s.

I've always gone to see all kinds of shows and stole what I could, as we all do. We see an artist and hear a song and think, 'I bet I could sing that song. I'll put that in my show.'

When 'I'm Sorry' came out and became such a huge hit, that made 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' start selling. Then that became a huge, huge hit.

Whatever happened to the tomboy I used to be, the slightly rebellious rocker?

The Beatles were raw musically, but I think they really had something.

'I'm Sorry' was one of the first songs to come out of Nashville using strings.

I believe I became one of the first singers to be launched via television exposure. I guess I was a new kind of musical stylist for a new kind of media.

I had been singing since I was 3 years old, so my love of singing was always there.

I only wish Chet Atkins could be here for this joyous occasion.

The music business can be very cold. And it doesn't honor its elders.

A lot of people thought I'd died, because of your coverage, they know I'm still around.

John Lennon was very irreverent and very intelligent.

I don't think you ever get tired of the well-written, well-crafted songs.

I'm not used to introspection. I've never lingered on my feelings. The show must go on.

God has never disappointed me.

I gave up my childhood for a career.

I still don't look at myself as a star. I've always had a thankful heart.

The word matters in country music, and it always has. And everybody had lived those words in country songs.

I always loved reading. I always was the spelling bee champion. I always loved words. I always wanted to know what they meant, why you used them, who first said them. I was always interested in that.

I didn't really have an agenda for my talent. I just wanted to be able to sing.

I've spent an awful lot of my time in the air. I've had everything happen to me in a plane that could happen. Except a crash.

I still sing because I love the sound of applause, because it's who I am, and because I still can.

The amazing thing is that I'm sane. I'm not bitter. I'm not drugged out. I'm not broke. I'm still married to the same guy. My children don't hate me.

I was nuts about Elvis, like every girl in America.

I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was a big favorite with the Mafia.

I always felt that I was one of the women who helped lay the foundation for rock and roll. But I'd always been overlooked by the Hall of Fame.