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Brenda Lee

One of the biggest pop stars of the early '60s, Brenda Lee hasn't attracted as much critical respect as she deserves. She is sometimes inaccurately characterized as one of the few female teen idols. More crucially, the credit for achieving success with pop-country crossovers usually goes to Patsy Cline, although Lee's efforts in this era were arguably of equal importance. While she made few recordings of note after the mid-'60s, the best of her first decade is fine indeed, encompassing not just the pop ballads that were her biggest hits, but straight country and some surprisingly fierce rockabilly.

Lee was a child prodigy, appearing on national television by the age of ten, and making her first recordings for Decca the following year (1956). Her first few Decca singles, in fact, make a pretty fair bid for the best preteen rock & roll performances this side of Michael Jackson. "BIGELOW 6-200," "Dynamite," and "Little Jonah" are all exceptionally powerful rockabilly performances, with robust vocals and white-hot backing from the cream of Nashville's session musicians (including Owen Bradley, Grady Martin, Hank Garland, and Floyd Cramer). Lee would not have her first big hits until 1960, when she tempered the rockabilly with teen idol pop on "Sweet Nothin's," which went to the Top Five.

The comparison between Lee and Cline is to be expected, given that both singers were produced by Owen Bradley in the early '60s. Naturally, many of the same session musicians and backup vocalists were employed. Brenda, however, had a bigger in with the pop audience, not just because she was still a teenager, but because her material was more pop than Cline's, and not as country. Between 1960 and 1962, she had a stunning series of huge hits: "I'm Sorry," "I Want to Be Wanted," "Emotions," "You Can Depend on Me," "Dum Dum," "Fool #1," "Break It to Me Gently," and "All Alone Am I" all made the Top Ten. Their crossover appeal is no mystery. While these were ballads, they were delivered with enough lovesick yearning to appeal to adolescents, and enough maturity for the adults. The first-class melodic songwriting and professional orchestral production guaranteed that they would not be ghettoized in the country market.

Lee's last Top Ten pop hit was in 1963, with "Losing You." While she still had hits through the mid-'60s, these became smaller and less frequent with the rise of the British Invasion (although she remained very popular overseas). The best of her later hits, "Is It True?," was a surprisingly hard-rocking performance, recorded in 1964 in London with Jimmy Page on guitar. 1966's "Coming on Strong," however, would prove to be her last Top 20 entry.

In the early '70s, Lee reunited with Owen Bradley and, like so many early white rock & roll stars, returned to country music. For a time she was fairly successful in this field, making the country Top Ten half-a-dozen times in 1973-1974. Although she remained active as a recording and touring artist, for the last couple of decades she's been little more than a living legend, directing her intermittent artistic efforts to the country audience. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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guts in the songs!!
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This is good music but not something that I had chosen to listen to wish they would play what I choose and mix it very little with the ones I don't choose
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I have never figured out why people compare Brenda Lee to Patsy Cline - there is absolutely no problem distinguishi n g one from the other! When she sings " I Want to Be Wanted ", I still feel that this song could never have been recorded by anyone else! Definitely my number 1 Brenda Lee song - her heart and soul make that song so amazing... Her voice was a gift from God.
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I'm sorry , sitting in my 55 Chevy with kitty, my first love , and who owns a piece of my heart , still R BEALS
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t_heath
I'm Sorry was one of her best!! What a great song.......
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Her voice and songs are both memorable and unmistakable . I grew up with her music in the 60's and remember being amazed the first time I saw her. Some show on black and white TV in the late 50's. Up to that point I thought she was an adult, but on that show I found she was only a couple years older than I, then about 10. Powerful voice and musical prowess. Thank you Brenda Lee for many enjoyable memories. And, thank you for making it possible for us to enjoy your music even now.
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My God, pass the tissues so I can dap the memories, not wipe them away, Brenda you tug at my heart strings..... GREAT SONG,All your songs are GREAT
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I cannot say enough about Pandora, they have a collection of music (obviously, traditional country and bluegrass are my favorite) but I get to hear songs that are so dear to me. Only Brenda Lee, can sing " I Want To Be Wanted "- my favorite, with her heart & soul!! Of course, I have a lot of favorite songs. Yet, there are those that make you pause and smile!
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I always thought "I'm Sorry" was such a beautiful and haunting melody! Still love that song.
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Getting back into the years.
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Got a minute ? There's a church that was built and they need monetary donations to help cover expenses , the church is Saint Patrick church - 1046 E. 34 th street Los Angeles California 90011 - (323) 232- 8756 ( 323) 234- 5963 - Pastor Rev. Timothy Dyer - Jesus is God :)
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ftmaza
She was one of my favorite 60's singer, sweet n lovely voice
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Brenda Lee was my favorite singer but I must say that I Loved the 60's music. You could understand the words that were sang. Sure wish I could go back to those years.
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Went to see her perform a Christmas show at Seneca Allegany Casino in 2012. She is truly amazing!
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So smooth
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one of the very best singers, ever!!
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pjtoal24
When I was 10 my sister bought me Brenda Lee record for me that was 1963! I got my first record player too for my birthday.
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Steven seagal moves
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Brenda lee...all alone am I ...
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My sweet husband always liked Brenda Lee and he passed away in 2012 so to hear her sing gives me sweet memories.
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lindawinton7 0
Iwantsweetno t h i n g b r e a n d a l e e
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She sure best
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golden1086
She made my life mean something:)
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She retired years ago which was a sad time in the lives of people who loved her music
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she and patsy are my cousins
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She started recording in GRAMMAR school! Her Autobiograph y is incredible! Patsy Cline came out of the same stable at Decca and got lots of credit that really should have gone to Brenda.
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frog_catcher _ g u y
she could take you from sadness to laughing in two songs, she knew my heart could not stay broken.
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I am not lost in the 50's, 60's or the 70's. I am kinda lost in the heavy metal music today!
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mazda161
no religious songs
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Few vocalists, male or female, ever delivered such an enormous long list of brilliant recordings as this passionate genius.
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buttercuptuc k e r , y o u are not lost.only in a better place & time.
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Most people doesn't realize that beautiful sound was coming from the mouth A (10)year old. Don't get any better than this
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ittlle Miss Dynomite nobody can ever take her place.What a voice
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Brenda Lee is one of my favorite singers. I love her voice and she has much more tanlent than she gets credit for. A funny thing is my ex husband said when I sing I sound just like her. What a compliment. She is just wonderful I only place one person higher and it's Loretta Lynn. I'm 47 and my family and friends say i'm lost in the 50's and 60's music and tv. lol
Nancy Tucker
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An underappreci a t e d talent.
dlc
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Have 35 albums of hers and treasure them all! Have seen her many times in concert and have driven 8 hours to see her. One of my favorits is Rusty Bells though not popular..... . b e a u t i f u l ! ! What a treasure this little lady is.
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I must also state that Brenda Lee and her unique sound is very much a part of my musical life. Love it that I sound just like her. Great!
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Brenda Lee has a unique sound that has become a part of who I am.
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Break It To Me Gently: Brenda owns this song!
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This song is actually Jesus is Calling - Not When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.
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Brenda Lee owns. I don't have anything intelligent to say. BRENDA LEE OWNS
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thehiebertco
The bio doesn't mention my favorite Brenda Lee song, That's All You Gotta Do. It was a lesser hit, but what a rocker! I would love to have been a fly on the wall during that recording session. How those vocals could come out of a young girl like that I'll never know.
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spivey.joe
I saw her in concert at Moonlight Gardens in Cincinnati in 1967. It was an outdoor night club on a hot July night. Despite the heat, she strutted across the stage in a long satin coat-dress and knocked us all dead for 3 hours straight. What a trouper! I fell in love with her that night and no one else will ever do.
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jhhamilton2
not sure whats up but have yet to hear a Brenda Lee tune on this channel
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I Love All Of Brenda Lee Songs.
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I have SEEN some really weird comparisons by pandora. BUT ALAN JACKSON, GARTH BROOKS, TIM MCGRAW, WHAT THE HELL BILLY CURRINGTON?? ? ? NONE OF THOSE GUYS COULD LACE HER SHOES.
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Amazing voice, amazing lady.
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Her song--"I'm Sorry" --was a young lovers lament--I speak from from the heart !!!
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tomdooley770
I was ten years old when I first heard this very talented little girl. She sang from way down from the soul, and only improved from there.
Ahh what memories.
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What a gracious, incredibly talented lady. Growing up in Nashville, my family was fortunate enough to have known hers, and our admiration over the decades goes beyond her considerable creative genius. Thank you Brenda Lee for enriching so many lives.
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