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65 years later what's still the most played Xmas song?

Take that Bing Crosby!

Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Leads Billboard Hot 100 for Second Week

The classic gained by another 18% in streams, following its historic coronation a week earlier.

By Gary Trust , Billboard Magazine


Brenda Lee spends a second week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart with her holiday standard “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” A week earlier, the song led the list for the first time – 65 years after its release – and became Lee’s third Hot 100 No. 1, and her first since 1960.

Lee – who celebrates a birthday today (Dec. 11), as she turns 79 years young – reminisced to Billboard on Dec. 4 about recording the carol, when she was 13, after learning of its ascent to No. 1 at last from Universal Music Group Nashville chair/CEO Cindy Mabe. “The producer cut the air way down in the studio,” Lee recalled. “He had a big Christmas tree and everyone was there – the Anita Kerr Singers and the ‘A-team’ [of Nashville studio musicians], as we called them. It was like a little touch of magic kind of sprinkled in, and it turned out to be magic. It really did.”

The Hot 100 blends all-genre U.S. streaming (official audio and official video), radio airplay and sales data, the lattermost metric reflecting purchases of physical singles and digital tracks from full-service digital music retailers; digital singles sales from direct-to-consumer (D2C) sites are excluded from chart calculations. All charts (dated Dec. 16, 2023) will update on tomorrow (Dec. 12). For all chart news, you can follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both X, formerly known as Twitter, and Instagram.

Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” on Decca/MCA Nashville/UMe, drew 41.3 million streams (up 18%) and 20.5 million radio airplay audience impressions (down 1%) and sold 6,000 downloads (up 109%) in the Dec. 1-7 tracking week, according to Luminate.

The single holds at No. 1 for a third total week atop the Streaming Songs chart, after it first ruled the last frame of the 2022 holiday season; rebounds to its No. 4 high, from No. 12, on Digital Song Sales; and keeps at No. 33 on Radio Songs, where it has hit a No. 17 best.

Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Finally Hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 — So…


The song was originally recorded and released in 1958. Written by Johnny Marks and produced by Owen Bradley, it first hit the Hot 100 in December 1960 and reached an original No. 14 peak two weeks later. It went on to spend nine weeks at No. 2 on the Hot 100 between December 2019 and last holiday season.

For its 65th anniversary this year, Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” received its first official video, featuring cameos from country stars Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood, Nov. 3. Plus, Lee performed it on NBC’s Christmas at the Opry, which aired Dec. 7. She has also joined TikTok, where she’s been sharing posts about the song and her career.

The song is just the third holiday No. 1 ever on the Hot 100, with all three now having led for multiple weeks. “The Chipmunk Song,” by The Chipmunks with David Seville, also from 1958, spent four weeks on top beginning that December, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” released in 1994, has notched 12 weeks at No. 1, from its first scaling of the summit in December 2019 through last holiday season.

Plus, Lee, at 79 years of age as of today, expands by another week her mark as the senior-most artist to have ruled the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” leads the multi-metric Holiday 100 chart, which uses the same methodology as the Hot 100, for a second week.

Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” repeats at No. 2 on the Hot 100, with across-the-board gains in streams (38.5 million, up 19%), airplay (24.1 million, up 12%) and sales (5,000, up 29%). With its 2019 triumph, Carey claimed her 19th Hot 100 No. 1, extending her record for the most among soloists and moving to within one of The Beatles’ overall record 20. The single also reigns as the No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Holiday 100 Songs retrospective.

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