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Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

"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)
RecordedOctober 19, 1958
Genre
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 around the world with the 4th most digital downloads sold of any Christmas single.

Original recording by Brenda Lee

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was written by Johnny Marks, who had previously penned "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas". In spite of her adult voice, Lee recorded the song when she was only 13 years old. In a 2019 interview with The Tennessean, Lee recalled that she had no knowledge as to why Marks wanted her specifically to sing it: "I was only 12 [sic], and I had not had a lot of success in records, but for some reason he heard me and wanted me to do it. And I did." It is a rockabilly song. 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. 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] The song was also used in D-TV set to the Disney cartoons, Pluto's Christmas Tree and Mickey's Christmas Carol.

Chart performance and sales

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" placed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, eventually peaking at No. 14. It continued to sell well during subsequent holiday seasons, peaking as high as No. 3 on Billboard's Christmas Singles chart in December 1965. Lee said, "It was magic, and I think we all knew it. It took a few years to take off, but once it did, it really did."

Lee's 1958 recording still receives a great deal of airplay, as radio station formats ranging from top 40 to adult contemporary to country music to oldies to even adult standards have played this version. It has since turned into a perennial holiday favorite, and due to rule changes in 2014 has returned annually to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching an all-time chart peak of No. 2 during the 2019 holiday season.

Year Chart debut/re-entry
date
Peak chart
position
Ref.
1960 December 12 14
1961 December 11 50
1962 December 15 59
2014 January 4 50
2015 December 26 30
2016 December 24 27
2017 December 23 34
2018 December 8 9
2019 December 7 2
2020 November 28 2
2021 December 4 2

The song reached over one million in digital downloads by 2016 according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it fifth on the list of all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday digital singles in SoundScan history. It has sold 1,170,000 copies in the United States as of December 2019.

On the official UK Singles Chart, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" peaked at No. 6 when it was released in the United Kingdom in 1962. In 2013, due to downloads, it became one of a number of songs to re-enter the UK Singles Chart near Christmastime each holiday season. The single peaked at No. 63 on Sunday, December 15, 2013. Then in 2017, it reached No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart, its highest chart position since 1963. On the week ending January 6, 2022, the song reached No. 5, peaking one place higher than its original release 60 years prior.

Charts

Weekly charts

Chart (1958–2022) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA) 8
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 7
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 2
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100) 5
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 11
France (SNEP) 55
Germany (Official German Charts) 12
Global 200 (Billboard) 4
Greece (IFPI) 2
Hungary (Single Top 40) 12
Hungary (Stream Top 40) 3
Ireland (IRMA) 4
Italy (FIMI) 31
Latvia (LAIPA) 2
Lithuania (AGATA) 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100) 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 2
Norway (VG-lista) 16
Portugal (AFP) 8
Scotland (OCC) 46
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100) 3
South Africa (RISA) 47
Spain (PROMUSICAE) 77
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 4
UK Singles (OCC) 5
US Billboard Hot 100 2
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 16
US Holiday 100 (Billboard) 2
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard) 62
US Rolling Stone Top 100 2

Year-end charts

2020 year-end chart performance for "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Chart (2020) Position
Hungary (Stream Top 40) 77
2021 year-end chart performance for "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Chart (2021) Position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 98
Global 200 (Billboard) 169
Hungary (Stream Top 40) 89
US Billboard Hot 100 92

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark) Gold 45,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI) Gold 25,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ) Platinum 20,000double-dagger
Portugal (AFP) Gold 5,000double-dagger
Spain (PROMUSICAE) Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI) 2× Platinum 1,200,000double-dagger
Streaming
Greece (IFPI Greece) Gold 1,000,000dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
dagger Streaming-only figures based on certification alone.

Track listing

Side A

Side B

  • "Papa Noël" (Roy Botkin) – 2:25

Personnel

Kim Wilde and Mel Smith version

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Mel & Kim.jpg
Single by Comic Relief presents Mel & Kim
B-side"Deck the Blooming Halls"
ReleasedNovember 23, 1987
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. 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.

Charts

Chart (1987–2020) Peak
position
Denmark (Tracklisten) 16
Ireland (IRMA) 4
Norway (VG-lista) 9
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan) 20
UK Singles (OCC) 3

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI) Silver 250,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Hannah Montana version

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Single by Hannah Montana
from the album Hannah Montana
ReleasedNovember 6, 2007
Length2:12
LabelWalt Disney Records
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marks
Hannah Montana singles chronology
"Make Some Noise"
(2007)
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
(2007)
"If We Were a Movie"
(2007)

American singer and songwriter Miley Cyrus under Hannah Montana name, released a cover version of the song as a single on November 6, 2007. She performed the song at Disney's 2006 Disney World Orlando Parade, as the song was first released as a track on the Holiday Edition of the album in 2006.

Kacey Musgraves and Camila Cabello version

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Song by Kacey Musgraves featuring Camila Cabello
from the album The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show
ReleasedNovember 28, 2019
GenreCountry
Length2:04
LabelMCA Nashville
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marks
Producer(s)

American country singer Kacey Musgraves released a cover version of the song featuring Cuban-born American pop singer Camila Cabello as a track on her soundtrack album The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show on November 28, 2019.

Personnel

Charts

Chart (2020) Peak
position
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard) 13
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard) 20
US Holiday 100 (Billboard) 97

Justin Bieber version

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Justin Bieber – Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.png
Single by Justin Bieber
ReleasedNovember 12, 2020 (promotional release)
October 29, 2021 (official release)
Length2:12
LabelDef Jam Recordings
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marks
Justin Bieber singles chronology
"Ghost"
(2021)
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
(2021)
"Lonely Christmas"
(2021)
Alternative cover
Cover art for the promotional single release
Cover art for the promotional single release

Canadian singer Justin Bieber released a cover version of the song as a promotional single on November 12, 2020, exclusively on Amazon Music. On October 29, 2021, the song was released on streaming platforms worldwide as single official.

Background

Talking about the cover, Bieber said: "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" has always been one of my favourite songs to celebrate the holidays and I'm excited to team up with Amazon Music to share my own version, with my fans. I'm so thankful to be able to spend the season with loved ones, and to also use this opportunity to give back to LIFT, Inner-City Arts and Alexandria House: three incredible organizations that I've supported in the past. I hope my fans join me in reaching out to the communities and organizations they care about, to help spread joy to those who need it most."

Charts

Chart (2020–2021) Peak
position
Canada AC (Billboard) 33
Global 200 (Billboard) 66
Italy (FIMI) 36
UK Singles (OCC) 4
US Billboard Hot 100 61
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 14
US Holiday 100 (Billboard) 40

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI) Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Other recordings

Many artists have recorded the song. These include the following:

This page was last updated at 2022-08-04 15:52 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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