Brenda Lee placed 37 songs on the American singles charts during the 1960s making her one of the top selling solo female artists of the decade.
She was born Brenda Mae Tarpley December 11, 1944 in Lithonia, Georgia. She has been a professional singer since the age of six and signed a contract with the Decca Label in 1957 at age 12 when she issued her first chart single. Her nickname is Little Miss Dynamite because of her diminutive stature and was taken from her rockabilly hit “Dynamite.”
Her most memorable hits are her number one song “I’m Sorry,” “Dum Dum,” “All Alone Am I,” “Break It To Me Gently,” “Fool Number #1,” and the perennial Christmas favorite “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” When her pop hits ran out at the end of the sixties she would re-invent herself as a country singer which eventually led to her induction into The Country Hall Of Fame in 1997. She would enter The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at their 2002 induction ceremony.
Fifty years ago this week she toped the Billboard Magazine Pop Charts for the second and last time. “I Want To Be Wanted” would spend one week on top of The United States music world replacing The Drifters “Save The Last Dance For Me” which would then ascend the summit again for two more weeks.
It was a ballad of teen angst as were most of her big hits of the day. It was a subject she knew alot about as she was still in her mid-teens when the song was released. It would remain on the charts for 15 weeks and even reach number seven on the rhythm & blues charts which was quite a stretch.
Now 65 years old, Brenda Lee continues to perform and record plus has been married to the same person for 47 years which is a rare feat for the music world.
Brenda Lee’s legacy is secure and so one last tip of the hat to her number one song of a half century ago, “I Want To Be Wanted.”