COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’
The song, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”, was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958
Seasonal favourite “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” was written by Johnny Marks (1909-1985), who also wrote “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and recorded by Brenda Lee (b.1944) in 1958, when Lee was just 14 years old. The song never actually charted until 1960, when it peaked at No.14, but has since climbed much higher, its highest, to date, being in 2019, when it made No.2. The song has sold 1.2 million copies Stateside and also been a huge hit globally, making the top ten in most countries.
Two notable covers exist, the first came in 1987, two years after Marks’ death, in the UK when comedian Mel Smith (1952-2013) and singer Kim Wilde joined forces for a charity recording for Comic Relief along with Smith’s long time partner, Griff Rhys-Jones providing intermittent ‘backing vocals’. They were billed as ‘Mel and Kim’ (a parody on sister act Mel and Kim, who had topped the chart earlier that year with “Respectable”) taking their version to No.3 in the UK.
In 2020, Justin Bieber recorded a version as a one-off promotional single, recorded for Amazon Music,which charted in both the US and the UK and will, no doubt, be revived and played for many years to come.
But which version is the best? BRENDA LEE’s original, MEL & KIM’s charity single or JUSTIN’s new version?