The Country artist is mostly remembered by her 1960 hit “I’m Sorry”
Singer Brenda Lee turns 74 today
Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley on December 11, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. Lee was a musical prodigy since she was a small child. Though her family did not have indoor plumbing until after her father’s death, they had a battery-powered table radio that fascinated Brenda as a baby. By the time she was two, she could whistle the melody of songs she heard on the radio. Her voice, pretty face and stage presence won her wider attention from the time she was five years old. At age six, she won a local singing contest sponsored by local elementary schools. The reward was a live appearance on an Atlanta radio show, Starmakers Revue, where she performed for the next year. Lee achieved her biggest success on the pop charts in the late 1950’s through the mid-1960’s with rockabilly and rock and roll-styled songs. Her biggest (all top 10) hits included “Jambalaya”, “Sweet Nothin’s” , “I Want to Be Wanted” (No.1), “All Alone Am I” , and “Fool #1”, . She had more hits with the more pop-based songs “That’s All You Gotta Do”, “Emotions” , “You Can Depend on Me”, “Dum Dum” (No. 4), 1962’s “Break It to Me Gently”, “Everybody Loves Me But You”, and “As Usual”. Lee’s total of nine consecutive top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits from “That’s All You Gotta Do” in 1960 through “All Alone Am I” in 1962 set a record for a female solo artist that was not equaled until 1986 by Madonna. In 1960, she released her signature song, “I’m Sorry”, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart. It was her first gold single and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Even though it was not released as a country song, it was among the first big hits to use what was to become the Nashville sound Her last top ten single on the pop charts in the United States was 1963’s “Losing You” (No.6), though she continued to have other chart hits . Brenda Lee achieved notable success internationally, during that period she achieved great notoriety in Europe, and on November 2nd, 1964, she performed at the annual Royal Variety Performance before Queen Elizabeth II at the London Palladium in England. Brenda continues active as a singer , but far from the limelight and dedicating herself to the original Country music from where she originally came, she’s very involved with the Country Music Hall of Fame, announcing the inductees each year and then officially presenting them with their membership medallions at a special ceremony every year. Brenda Lee was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002, today she turns 74.
Watch Brenda Lee performing her signature song “I’m Sorry” in 1960
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