Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree



Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree“Rockin' around the Christmas tree

At the Christmas party hop,
Mistletoe hung where you can see,
Every couple tries to stop,
Rockin' around the Christmas tree,
Let the Christmas spirit ring,
Later we'll have some pumpkin pie,
And we'll do some caroling...”

Thus begins one of the most iconic contemporary Christmas songs ever written. Composed by Johnny Marks, a Jewish song writer who specialized in Christmas songs, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is a lighthearted addition to his repertoire of Christmas tree classics such as “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”.

The song was recorded in 1958 under Decca Records and was then sung by 13-year-old Brenda Lee. Featured in the album, A Brenda Lee Christmas, the song didn’t enjoy much airplay or popularity until Brenda Lee herself gained celebrity status two years later.

Typical of the period, the song features a rockabilly tempo, but it still has a country-blues element with the presence of a sax solo. The cheerful lyrics tell of a less somber and jollier approach to celebrating Christmas.

The song is directed to a younger audience, no doubt, but nevertheless it appealed to a wider audience. Its happy mood probably appealed to an affluent, post-war America and has become a staple of Christmas parties since then. The music proved to be so popular that it was also sampled in the 1960’s Rankin/Bass stop animation classic Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Since its massive airplay in the early 60’s, the song has been covered by other artists. In 1987, Kim Wilde and Mel Smith covered and recorded the song for the British charity, Comic Relief.

While Brenda Lee’s original version remains as the most popular, other notable artists who have done covers of the song include Cyndi Lauper, Mary J. Blige and Sheryl Crow. Rock DJ Bob Rivers also did a parody based on the song and is included in his 2002 Christmas album, A White Trash Christmas.

We all have our Christmas song favorites, and while others have a preference for solemn and haunting classics such as Silent Night or Carol of the Bells, Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” is a charming tune that can still put one in a happy, merry mood.