After 65 years, Brenda Lee’s rockabilly holiday chestnut, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” has finally made it to No. 1 — and beaten Mariah Carey to it, no less.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” which Lee recorded in 1958, when she was just 13, has been a seasonal standard for years, including a notable appearance in the 1990 movie “Home Alone.” In recent years, streaming playlists have given it a boost, sending the song to No. 2 multiple times, though until now it was always held from the top by Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which has hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart each holiday season for the last four years.

For 2023, however, Lee has made a renewed push for “Rockin’” — as the singer prefers to call it — including a new music video and a TikTok account. And it has paid off, with Lee, now 78, beating Carey to the top of the chart this week in a photo finish, separated by just a couple of million streams.

“I would’ve never thought in my wildest dreams that ‘Rockin’’ would be my signature song,” Lee said in a recent interview with The New York Times at her home in Nashville, where the decorations include a crimson pillow embroidered with that song’s (full) title.

“Rockin’” is credited with 34.9 million streams for the week, while “All I Want for Christmas” had 32.4 million, according to the tracking service Luminate. The Hot 100 also takes into account radio popularity and downloads, and in both those criteria Carey fared slightly better. “All I Want” had 21.5 million “radio airplay audience impressions” and sold 4,000 downloads, while “Rockin’” had 20.7 million airplay impressions and sold 3,000 downloads.

But altogether, streaming sent “Rockin’” over the edge, giving Lee her first No. 1 hit since 1960. It was also the longest stretch that any song has taken to make it to the top of the Hot 100, which was first published in 1958 — displacing Carey’s “All I Want,” which took 25 years, and this week lands at No. 2.

On this week’s album chart, Taylor Swift places five titles in the Top 10, including the return of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” to No. 1 for a third time. In addition to that, “Midnights” is No. 3, “Folklore” is No. 5, “Lover” is No. 6 and “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is No. 10.

Drake’s “For All the Dogs,” last week’s top-selling LP, falls to No. 2, while Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time” is No. 4.

The post 65 Years Later, Brenda Lee’s ‘Christmas Tree’ Hits No. 1 appeared first on New York Times.

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