Brenda Lee Lights Up The Grand Ole Opry Stage With Iconic ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ Performance

Lee created a nostalgic and joyous atmosphere during NBC’s ‘Christmas at the Opry’ special.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

December 8, 2023

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Brenda Lee; Photo by: Allen Clark/NBC

Brenda Lee brought her iconic holiday hit, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry during NBC’s two-hour special, Christmas at the Opry.  

The Rock and Roll Hall and Country Music Hall of Famer dressed in all red for the occasion and brought the holiday classic to life while standing in the Opry Circle. As she sang, videos of neon lights, reminiscent of those seen on Nashville’s Lower Broadway, flashed on the screen behind her. The audience inside the Opry House sang along as the 78-year-old created a nostalgic and festive vibe throughout the performance. 

Watch Brenda Lee Perform “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

This performance aired just days after Brenda Lee celebrated a milestone moment in her career. For the first time ever, 65 years after its debut,  “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”  topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was released in 1958 and this historic feat should be celebrated. 

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Additionally, Lee broke several records that were previously held by Mariah Carey and Cher. This week, Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” surpassed Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” as it claimed the third holiday No. 1 ever on the Hot 100 chart. A press release also revealed that Lee and her song now hold the record for the longest climb to the top of the Hot 100. 

“This is amazing! I cannot believe that ‘Rockin’’ has hit No. 1 65 years after it was released, this is just so special,” Lee stated. 

Surprise Gift From Mariah Carey

In honor of the occasion, Mariah Carey surprised Brenda Lee with a bouquet of flowers and a congratulatory note that read, “Dearest Ms. Brenda, Congratulations on your historic #1. Have a Merry Christmas. Love, Mariah.” 

Brenda Lee, Mariah Carey; Photo via Instagram Stories
Brenda Lee, Mariah Carey; Photo via Instagram Stories

Lee shared a photo of the gift on Instagram stories and wrote, “Thank you for your sweet note, Mariah Carey. Wish you the merriest Christmas, too!” 

Recently Released A Music Video For The Timeless Holiday Classic

Also this year, Brenda Lee released the very first music video for “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” The clip features cameos from Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood.

“For those out there who know me and have supported me and my music through the years, I’ve very proud to be putting out the first ever music video for ‘Rockin’.’ This song has been so special to me – I never thought it would be my signature song, but I love that it is because it brings so much joy,” Lee shared following the release of the music video. 

Brenda Lee; Photo by: Katherine Bomboy/NBC
Brenda Lee; Photo by: Katherine Bomboy/NBC

She went on to share her heartfelt appreciation for the millions of listeners who have made the song a part of their annual traditions. 

“I remember the day I recorded this wonderful Johnny Marks song, and here we are 65 years later and I’m only here because of you. I won’t ever meet all of you, but I know you are there and have been since I was a little girl – so Thank You and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas,” she added.

Christmas At The Opry

Lee’s performance of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” aired during Christmas at the Opry, hosted by Wynonna Judd. The two-hour special also featured performances from Adam Doleac, BRELAND, Opry member Chris Janson, Chrissy Metz, Kelly Clarkson, Opry member Lauren Alaina, Meghan Patrick, Mickey Guyton, Mitchell Tenpenny and Opry member Trace Adkins.

The show aired on NBC on Thursday, December 7. According to NBC, the program will re-air on December 20 at 9/8c and is now streaming on Peacock.   

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.