Brenda Lee

Lee in 2016, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Brenda Mae Tarpley

Place of Birth: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Date of Birth: December 11, 1944

Ethnicity: English, some French

Brenda Lee is an American performer. She is known for her songs “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (1957), which has become a perennial late-year chart topper; “Sweet Nothin’s,” “I’m Sorry,” “I Want to Be Wanted,” “Speak to Me Pretty,” “All Alone Am I,” and “Losing You.” As a tween, she was nicknamed “Little Miss Dynamite.” Performing mostly rockabilly, pop, country, and Christmas music, she is the top-charting solo female vocalist of the 1960s, and has sold over 100 million records globally. In 2023, with her “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” she became the oldest person to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Brenda is the daughter of Annie Grayce (Yarbrough) and Reuben Lindsey Tarpley. Her cousin is singer Dave Rainwater, of the New Christy Minstrels. She was raised in Atlanta and Augusta, GA. Brenda has two children with her husband Ronnie Shacklett.

Brenda’s paternal grandfather was named Richard Arthur Tarpley.

Brenda’s paternal grandmother was Nanny Lee Almond (the daughter of George M. Almond and Mattie Bouchelle). George was the son of Reuben C. Almand and Malinda Adline Fambrough. Mattie was the daughter of John Bouchelle and Nannie Doster.

Source: Genealogy of Brenda Lee (through Brenda’s sister; focusing on her father’s side) –

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