Brenda Mae Tarpley was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 11, 1944. At five years of age, Brenda won first prize in a talent contest and runner-up in the beauty contest that would lead to her singing on an Atlanta radio show. Called “Little Miss “Dynamite” because of her big voice and diminutive size, she first recorded at eleven years of age as Brenda Lee.
In 1957 Brenda charted for the first time with “One Step at a Time.” The multi million selling “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” first released in 1958, almost fifty year later continues to be one of the most played recordings for radio during the holidays.
In 1960 her first multi million seller, “Sweet Nothin’s” peaked in the top five of the pop Hit Parade. It was followed with two #1 singles, “I’m Sorry” and “I Want to be Wanted.” In 1961 Brenda’s “Emotions,” “You Can Depend on Me,” “Dum Dum,” and “Fool #1” each turned gold. In 1962 Brenda charted with three more million sellers, “Break It To Me Gently,” “Everybody Loves Me But You” and “All Alone Am I.” “Losing You” earned her another gold record in 1963. In the years between 1957 and 1973 Brenda Lee visited the pop music Hit Parade a total of 52 times.
Returning to her country music roots in 1973, “Nobody Wins,” “Sunday Sunrise,” “Wrong Ideas,” “Big Four Poster Bed,” “Rock On Baby,” “Tell Me What It’s Like,” The Cowgirl and the Dandy,” and “Broken Trust” each were top ten on the country music surveys. She had a total of 35 visits to the country Hit Parade.