Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ From 1958 Tops Hot 100 For First Time, Breaking Records



Brenda Lee’s holiday classic “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” finally reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week, smashing plenty of records for the 78-year-old singer’s 1958 release and dethroning perennial holiday leader, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” in a heated chart battle.

Key Facts

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is the first holiday song to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 above Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which has ruled the Hot 100 every holiday season beginning in 2019 for 12 total weeks atop the chart.

Lee won the chart battle with 34.9 million streams (also landing her atop Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart) and 20.9 million radio airplay impressions.

Lee’s song also claims the title for the oldest song to reach No. 1, Billboard reported: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” reached the chart’s apex 65 years after release, breaking a record Carey has held since 2019, when “All I Want for Christmas Is You” went No. 1, 25 years after its release.

At 78, Lee became the oldest person to ever top the Hot 100, Billboard reported, though it noted that if the song had topped the chart upon release, Lee would’ve been the youngest artist to rule the Hot 100, at 13.

Lee last topped the Hot 100 in 1960 with “I Want To Be Wanted,” making her 63-year gap between No. 1s the longest in chart history, Billboard reported.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is only the third holiday song to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, after “All I Want For Christmas” and “The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks with David Seville.

News Peg

Billboard’s top 10 includes a total of six holiday songs: after Lee, Carey ranks at No. 2 with “All I Want for Christmas Is You”—Carey fell behind Lee in streams, garnering 32.4 million for her holiday classic, but outperformed Lee on radio, with 21.5 million airplay impressions, Billboard reported. Carey also led Lee in sales, selling 4,000 downloads of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to Lee’s 3,000 downloads. Also in the top 10 are Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” at No. 4, Wham!’s “Last Christmas” at No. 5, Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” at No. 6 and Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” at No. 10.


Carey’s Christmas hit ranks No. 1 on this week’s Billboard Global 200, a worldwide ranking of singles based on streaming and sales from more than 200 countries. Lee, however, ranks fourth. Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is the second-biggest holiday song on this week’s Global 200, ranking No. 2.

Key Background

Lee and Carey’s tight chart battle captured the attention of social media—and of the artists themselves, both of whom have stepped up their promotional efforts. Lee released a music video for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in November to celebrate its 65th anniversary, and she joined TikTok to promote her holiday hit and reminisce on its long history. In one TikTok video, Lee addressed her “Brendanators,” telling them: “Grandmother is here.” Carey rang in the holiday season on Nov. 1 with a video of herself defrosting, which garnered 650,000 likes on X. She also embarked on a holiday tour and discussed her holiday dominance on the cover of People magazine. Carey’s fans have fervently organized streaming parties on social media to help her win the chart battle, while an X account called “Brenda Lee Charts” emerged this year to promote Lee’s song and monitor her chart performance.

What To Watch For

Will Carey and Lee duke it out for No. 1 again next week? Billboard previously reported the two may be locked in a tight chart battle all holiday season.

Further Reading

New Old-Fashioned No. 1: Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Tops Hot 100, 65 Years After Its Release (Billboard)

Will Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ Finally Dethrone Mariah Carey On The Charts? (Forbes)


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