WATCH: Carrie Underwood Honors Brenda Lee With Cover Of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’

Underwood performed the song in honor of its 65th anniversary.

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

December 18, 2023

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Carrie Underwood; Photo by Jeff Johnson, Brenda Lee; Photo Courtesy NBC

Carrie Underwood incorporated some Christmas classics into her setlist for her recent run of REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency, taking place at Resorts World Theater. One of those songs was a cover of Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” which Underwood beautifully brought to life in honor of the tune’s 65th anniversary and recent string of success on the charts. 

This moment in the show was captured on video and shared to Underwood’s Facebook page alongside a caption that read, “Congratulations Brenda Lee on the 65th anniversary of #RockinAroundTheChristmasTree! It was such a blast to perform your Christmas classic at my #REFLECTION show last night! #LasVegas.”

In the clip, the “Hate My Heart” singer donned a stunning purple dress with a high-low skirt and a bejeweled belt to match the overall shine of the ensemble. Surrounding the stage behind her are her band members who also got into the spirit of the season as they donned their holiday best along with a grand piano decorated in garland, lights, and colorful pink and purple ornaments. 

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@carrieunderwoodfan111 #fyp #carrieunderwood #rockinaroundthechristmastree #music #christmas #merrychristmas #lasvegasresidency #queenofcountry ♬ original sound – CarrieUnderwoodFan111

As for the performance itself, Underwood’s powerful vocals filled Resorts World Theater and evoked a festive energy as she made the classic tune her own. 

“You will get a sentimental feeling / When you hear / Voices singing, ‘Let’s Be Jolly,’ / Deck the halls with boughs of holly / Rockin’ around the Christmas tree / Have a happy holiday / Everyone’s dancin’ merrily / In the new old-fashioned way,” Underwood delivers on the chorus.

Who Wrote “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree?”

“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” was written by Johnny Marks, the songwriter who is also behind several other beloved Christmas classics like “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year” and more. Brenda Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded the song in 1958.

YouTube video

Countless artists have gone on to cover this 5x platinum certified tune over the years, turning it into one of the most successful Christmas songs to date. Despite its popularity, it took 65 years for “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” to make its chart debut. 

Chart Success

Universal Music Group Nashville recently announced that the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time ever as the third holiday No. 1 ever on the Hot 100 chart, putting it above Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” A recent 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 shared in the release.

This achievement came as Lee turned 79 years old, meaning she is currently the oldest woman to lead the Hot 100, trumping previous record-holders Cher (“Believe,” age 52) and Carey (“All I Want for Christmas is You,” age 53).

Brenda Lee; Photo by Alexa King Stone
Brenda Lee; Photo by Alexa King Stone

Since it took 63 years to earn her third No. 1 hit Lee also now holds the record for the longest gap between an artist’s first and most recent week at No.1 on the Hot 100. Her other smash hits include “I’m Sorry” and “I Want to Be Wanted,” both of which rose to the top of the chart in 1960.

First-Ever Music Video

In celebration of the 65th Anniversary of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” Lee released a first-ever music video for the tune and an accompanying EP titled, A Rockin’ Christmas with Brenda Lee. This collection features a mix of the Atlanta, GA native’s holiday favorites such as “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock” “A Marshmallow World.” For the final track on the project, Austrian producer and DJ Filous delivered a reimagined version of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.”

Brenda Lee recently performed the iconic holiday classic on the Grand Ole Opry stage during NBC’s Christmas At The Opry special.

Carrie Underwood wrapped her December leg of shows in Las Vegas over the weekend and will return to the Sin City venue next Spring. To see a complete list of her upcoming residency dates, click HERE.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.