American singer Brenda Lee has been around the block a few times. The “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” singer may have lived most of her life in the spotlight, but there are still some things about her that most people do not know. With that in mind, here we present our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about Brenda Lee. Check out part one below, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!
Number Fifteen: Her Real Name Is Not Brenda Lee. She was actually born Brenda Mae Tarpley. She was born on December 11, 1944, and she is now 71 years old.
Number Fourteen: She Is Really, Really Short. The famous performer is only 4 feet and nine inches tall! This earned her the nickname of “Little Miss Dynamite” in 1957. She got the nickname for both her short stature and after recording the song “Dynamite.”
Number Thirteen: She Is the Top-Charting Solo Female Vocalist of the 1960s. Lee had an impressive 47 United States chart hits throughout the entire decade of the 1960s. She is only surpassed in hits of that decade by Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Ray Charles.
Number Twelve: She Had Humble Beginnings. Though Lee would grow up to be a star, she was extremely poor when she was growing up. In fact, she had to sleep in a bed with her siblings, and her house did not have running water. Her entire life as a child revolved around whether or not her parents could find work. The one shining light in her life was her role as a solo singer at the Baptist church her family attended.
Number Eleven: She Was a Musical Prodigy. By the time Lee was just two years old, she could already whistle the songs she heard on the radio from memory. Her mother and sister also used to take her to a candy store so she could sing for coins and candy.
Number Ten: She Was the Primary Breadwinner in Her Family by the Age of 10. Lee’s father died in 1953 when she was just nine years old. By the time she was 10, she was her family’s primary breadwinner, and she would earn money by singing at local events and on radio shows.
Number Nine: She Almost Missed Her Big Break. Lee got her big break in 1955 when she went to go see Red Foley, who was on tour promoting his show Ozark Jubilee at the time. She performed for Foley, and the audience loved her so much that she became a mainstay on the show. However, she was offered $30 to appear on another radio show that conflicted with the Red Foley show, so if she had said yes to that, she may not have made it.