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Ambient/New Age - Released October 19, 1964 | MCA Nashville

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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 1999 | MCA Nashville

Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree includes the festive title track and a mix of classic holiday tunes, including "Winter Wonderland," "Silver Bells," "White Christmas," and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Unique Christmas and winter tunes like "Christy Christmas," "A Marshmallow World," "Strawberry Snow," and "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" round out this happy holiday collection. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Country - Released August 27, 1991 | MCA Nashville

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Pop - Released October 10, 1960 | MCA Nashville

Brenda Lee's third album was significantly above the average for a pop/rock LP of the era. The orchestrated Nashville production was lush but tasteful, Lee's singing unfailingly committed, and the material pretty strong, even if there was nothing else on the album as strong as its big hit, "I Want to Be Wanted." The record did lean more toward pop than rock, but it was clearly not either Nashville country or straight adult pop, even if by this time in her career she was taking her shots at (and doing quite well with) standards like "Teach Me Tonight." The rock & roll side of her sound was represented by "Love and Learn" and covers of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" and "Walking to New Orleans," though she really did better with the ballads. And some of the ballads here are among her stronger material that you won't find on typical Lee greatest-hits collections, à la "If I Didn't Care," "Pretend," and "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)." It was certainly among the most commercially successful of her albums, reaching number four in the LP charts. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 1, 1960 | MCA Nashville

Released in England on Brunswick Records as Miss Dynamite Brenda Lee (that label also issued a 78 RPM of "Dynamite" b/w "Love You Till I Die" in 1957), the Brenda Lee album followed Grandma, What Great Songs You Sang by exactly a year, debuting August 1, 1960, according to the singer's website. It launched three songs into the Top Ten, "Sweet Nothin's," the Ronnie Self tune that went Top Five a half a year before this album's release; the number one smash "I'm Sorry" in June of that year; and its follow-up, "That's All You Gotta Do," all three titles placed right in a row at the beginning of side two. "Dynamite" opens the album and it is -- rockabilly pop from a young dynamo some called "the female Elvis." She tears through "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" in a way that keeps the song familiar, but allows the artist to pull it into her catalog. And that's the success of this phenomenal breakthrough album -- a young singer who took control of the mic and the material, calling it her own with an authority far beyond her years. The album is a treasure that can stand up to repeated listenings years after its creation. With the orchestra directed by Owen Bradley and backing vocals from the Anita Kerr Singers, the young singer has direction and a touch of class to give this phenomenal effort superb support. Just listen to her devour John D. Loudermilk's "Weep No More My Baby" and wonder why it wasn't a huge hit. "My Baby Likes Western Guys" could take on an entire new meaning decades after it was recorded, was it sly innuendo or total innocence? Songwriter Buzzy Linhart has stated that Brenda Lee's style and vocal tone mirror that of Teresa Brewer, the woman who did "Jingle Bell Rock" prior to Lee's seasonal hit "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." That influence was no doubt an essential ingredient in this most successful formula. The '70s had Tanya Tucker, the '80s Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, while Britney Spears in the '90s brought the century to a close. They all had hugely popular releases, but this second album from Brenda Lee is the ultimate in a teen female performer writing the rules and retaining the crown. © Joe Viglione /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 12, 2007 | Sony ATV

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Country - Released January 10, 2006 | MCA Nashville

Like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and only a few others, Brenda Lee could sound equally wonderful whether she was tearing into an upbeat rock & roll number or crooning a melancholy countrypolitan ballad. The fact that she demonstrated ample knowledge of both even before getting halfway through her teenage years made her achievements much more special. MCA's The Definitive Collection befits its title in one area: it's the definitive collection of her Billboard chart history, where most -- but not all -- of her artistic excellence occurred. The disc includes a full 28 tracks, but dispatches her early history as a rock firebrand with only three songs (when even ten wouldn't have been overdoing it), and moves quickly to her decade-long mastery of the forlorn, love-scorned ballad. It's a fact that most new listeners with a potential appreciation for Lee's talents would be drawn to her earlier rockabilly material, not her balladry, so this is a lost opportunity that some other collection will have to remedy. (In fact, the two-disc Anthology [1956-1980] proves that there's enough excellent Brenda Lee material to fill two discs.) © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released November 5, 2020 | Nostalgic Melody Music Production

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Pop - Released April 3, 1961 | MCA Nashville

Brenda Lee's fourth album, Emotions, stayed with the approach she'd used on her previous LP, This Is...Brenda, mixing gorgeously produced Nashville orchestration with a bit of rock & roll and lush pop ballads. While it was the kind of record that could appeal to both kids and adults, it wasn't watered down, as the production on its own was pretty delightful to listen to, matched by the excellence of Lee's incredibly (for a teenager) mature vocals. "Emotions" was the big hit on the record, which also contained its B-side, "I'm Learning About Love," which made the Top 40 under its own steam. Nothing else on the album is too well known to listeners other than serious Lee fans. But there are some good ballads here, particularly "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)," which is nearly on par with her big hits in that style. While the rock covers (the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" and "Swanee River Rock") were more on the filler side, Lee still brought commitment to each and every one of her vocals. Also leaning toward the rock & roll side of things was a decent frisky number, "Crazy Talk," co-penned by Mel Tillis, who had a few of his tunes cut by rock & roll artists in his early years. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 1993 | UME Custom Premium

Jingle Bell Rock features Brenda Lee performing a variety of holiday songs, the most noteworthy being her well-known performance of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Other performances include "This Time of the Year," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Strawberry Snow," and "Silver Bells," along with five others. This is one of the better holiday collections out there. Lee's version of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is widely considered to be definitive, and her other performances are nearly as charismatic and lively. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 1999 | MCA Nashville

This edition in Universal's discount-priced compilation series Best of Brenda Lee: The 20th Masters Christmas Collection is actually a re-titled reissue of the 1999 collection Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree: The Decca Christmas Recordings. It contains all of the seasonal music Brenda Lee recorded for Decca Records between 1956 and 1965. Included is her initial Christmas single "Christy Christmas"/"I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus," along with the 1958 45 rpm "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"/"Papa Noel," the A-side of which finally became a gold-selling hit in 1960; the complete contents of Lee's 1964 LP Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee; and three songs, "White Christmas," "Jingle Bells," and "Silent Night," recorded in 1965 and included as bonus tracks on Japanese copies of the LP, but not released in the U.S. until 1999. The selections are a combination of familiar holiday fare done in Lee's inimitable style and a few attempts to join the pantheon of Christmas perennials. Only "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" succeeded, despite Lee having reached the charts with the ballads "This Time of the Year" and "Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day," but the surprisingly aggressive "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" is amusing, especially coming from a singer who was only 11-years-old when she recorded it. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 12, 1962 | MCA Nashville

Brenda Lee had made popular standards a part of her recorded repertoire almost from the time she started making records. But on this 1962 album (known both as Sincerely and Sincerely, Brenda Lee), these did not so much add to her versatility as tilt the LP away from the strengths that had made her so popular in the first place. It wasn't unknown for rock singers to make albums dominated by adult-oriented material in an attempt to broaden their appeal, and Lee could sing this kind of stuff well. The problem was that the record featured almost nothing but these kind of songs, most of them taken at a slow tempo, and none of them rock & rollers (or hit singles, for that matter). As a result, it's one of the more forgettable albums from her prime, of value only to big fans and completists. All that stated, it's not a terrible record, benefiting from Owen Bradley's typically lush-yet-tasteful orchestral production and characteristically committed Lee vocal performances. None of the tracks are outstanding, however, though none are embarrassing and a few are decent, particularly the one up-tempo number, "Fools Rush In." "Hold Me" is also of note, as it's the same song that P.J. Proby would make into a huge British rock hit in 1964, though it's done in a much more conventional slower romantic fashion here. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Country - Released August 10, 1999 | MCA Nashville

Like any record company worth their salt, MCA knows a good gimmick when they see it, and when the millennium came around, 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection wasn't too far behind. Supposedly, the millennium is a momentous occasion, but it's hard to feel that way when it's used as another excuse to turn out a budget-line series. But apart from the presumptuous title, 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection turns out to be a very good budget-line series. True, it's impossible for any of these ten-track collections to be definitive, but they're nevertheless solid samplers that don't feature a bad song in the bunch. For example, take Brenda Lee's 20th Century volume. Yes, there are some great songs missing, but what's here is terrific, including "I'm Sorry," "Sweet Nothin's," "I Want to Be Wanted," "That's All You Gotta Do," "Emotions," "Break It to Me Gently," "Dum Dum," "Everybody Loves Me but You," and "All Alone Am I." Serious fans will want something more extensive and neophytes would be best-served by better-chosen collections, but this disc is quite entertaining, considering its length and price. That doesn't erase the ridiculousness of the series' title, but the silliness is excusable when the music and the collections are good. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 12, 1963 | MCA Nashville

Even ardent consumers of Brenda Lee's prolific album output can be forgiven for feeling as though her '60s albums all began to sound the same. That impression only deepened as the decade wore on, but in 1963 Lee's bottomless fund of pop ballads could still seem fresh. Let Me Sing begins predictably enough with a Cole Porter song ("Night and Day") but also includes "Break It to Me Gently" -- one of Lee's greatest '60s hits -- and "Losing You." Bobby Darin's "You're the Reason I'm Living" is the kind of cover material preferable to the traditional pop songs that tended to dominate Lee's ballad albums, but Let Me Sing manages to sound vital where very similar albums failed later in her career. Not surprisingly, Let Me Sing was also Lee's second-to-last Top 40 album. © Greg Adams /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 29, 2000 | MCA Nashville

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Pop - Released February 18, 1963 | MCA Nashville

Although All Alone Am I featured a classic 1962 hit single as its title track, like some of Brenda Lee's other early albums, it was unduly weighted toward adult pop standards. This LP alone had "(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco," "Lover," "What Kind of Fool Am I," "Come Rain or Come Shine," and "Fly Me to the Moon," reinforcing the impression that her album market was viewed as being a more mature audience than the more youthful one responsible for buying a high percentage of her smash 45s. The cover of Fats Domino's "All By Myself" is, aside from "All Alone Am I," about the only nod to the more vigorous segment of the pop market that had made her a star in the first place. The bulk of the record, it should be emphasized, is well done, both due to Lee's always committed singing and to Owen Bradley's unfailingly lush production. It even swings, just a bit, on "By Myself," "Lover," and Cole Porter's "It's All Right with Me." But it's on the sedate side, and is one of the less imaginative and interesting of her early albums. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 7, 1961 | MCA Nashville

Like many albums of its time, Brenda Lee's All the Way was a little thin on outstanding non-45 material. A number of covers of recent rock and pop songs ("Kansas City," "Tragedy," and Ray Charles' "Talkin' Bout You") filled out an LP spearheaded by a big hit single, the organ-grinding groover "Dum Dum." Within its limitations, however, it was a pretty good record, and certainly very well produced and well sung. Ronnie Self, who'd written or co-written a couple of her big earlier hits, co-penned what was probably the most outstanding cut other than "Dum Dum," the arching orchestrated ballad "Eventually" -- one of several dramatic orchestrated ballads here, actually. Lee also showed some good tough rock chops on "Talkin' Bout You," and while (again like many albums of the period) the LP seemed programmed to showcase versatility, she sang each and every number -- even the less imaginative selections, like "On the Sunny Side of the Street" -- with nothing less than utter panache. It seems a little strange to apply the adjective "overlooked" to a singer as popular as Lee was at this time, but the album, like so much of her early-'60s work, is further evidence of her underrated skills as a rock and pop singer. And it was appreciated by listeners at the time, the album making the Top 20, even if most of the songs are unfamiliar today even to many Brenda Lee fans. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Christmas Music - Released September 13, 1991 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 12, 1964 | MCA Nashville

By Request, a Top 100 album for Brenda Lee in 1964, is heavy on ubiquitous easy listening ballads like "Days of Wine and Roses," "Tammy," and "Blue Velvet," but don't pass it over just yet. It also contains four of Lee's hits from 1963: "My Whole World Is Falling Down," "I Wonder," "The Grass Is Greener," and "As Usual," all of which charted in the Top 25. They are also reissued on the two-disc set Anthology, Vols. 1 & 2 (1956-1980), which leaves half a dozen overly familiar adult contemporary songs for your consideration. By Request offers a useful roundup of hit singles for vinyl addicts, but no surprises for completists. © Greg Adams /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 3, 1959 | MCA Nashville