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Little Miss Dynamite: The Life and Times of Brenda Lee Hardcover – March 6, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Brenda Lee is one of those inescapable musical personalities known primarily for a seasonal hit record no longer than two minutes long yet still a recognizable name 40 years after its release. That hit, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," was recorded when she was only 16 and remains a joyous expression of rock's formative years. With Oermann, editor at large for Country Music magazine, and Clay, the singer's daughter, Lee fleshes out her years in the entertainment business. Born in a Georgia tarpaper shack, she quickly became a child star among the musical elite of her time and suffered the usual show business pitfalls a bad manager, brushes with financial ruin, and illness. Unfortunately, the details of Lee's first-rate rockabilly recordings of the early 1960s are largely passed over in favor of more sensationalistic matters. After her brief pop career, Lee made a big name for herself in country music, so libraries in the South may experience demand. Popular music collections with concentrations on women in music can consider, but others will probably pass. Caroline Dadas, Hickory Hills, IL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Lee began in stereotypically classic-country-music circumstances: dirt-poor family, drunken dad, tar-paper shack--hard to get much more down-home than that. Her first chart success came in 1957 with "One Step at a Time," and she skyrocketed to number one in 1960 with "I'm Sorry," which made "Little Miss Dynamite" ("Dynamite" was an early single of hers) a worldwide phenomenon. The brief discography here describes her career in shorthand, as pop, country, and "Xmas" charting records give way over time to country and "A/C" (adult/contemporary) charters: "today's teen idol is tomorrow's A/C act," Lee observes. Still, in testimony to her broad, continuing appeal, "I'm Sorry" hit number one in France as late as 1978. Seems only right that she is in the Country Music Hall of Fame and has been nominated for its rock-and-roll analog. Although it is almost morbidly upbeat, what with its cheerful nods to almost everyone she mentions, Lee's autobiography is another welcome brick for the foundation of any thorough pop-music book collection. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 1st edition (March 6, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786866446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786866441
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on March 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Any one growing up in the fifites and sixties will remember the powerful voice of Brenda Lee. To say that is was, indeed, dynamite, is no exaggeration. This book is a typical "rags to riches story", but Brenda, herself, is strong woman who has overcome some extremely significant challenges in her lifetime. From her childhood poverty, to the manager she trusted who left her virtually financially destroyed in the seventies, Brenda tells it all - the good, the bad, the trust and betrayal, her day in the sun and her illness - this is her story. For those of us who are today's baby boomers, we look back at that time of our youth, when rock 'n roll was what made the world go round, and often we hear a name and say, "I wonder whatever happened to...." Brenda Lee, is a name most of us no longer think about on a daily basis, but every now and then we hear a golden oldie, such as "I'm Sorry" and we remember Brenda Lee. The book is filled with information told as only Brenda could tell it and the book is highly recommended reading material for those of us who like to "remember when."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A life-long fan of Brenda Lee, I bought this book the day that it hit first hit the bookstore ... I have always felt that Brenda's story should be told and have known it was in the works ... Written in a style that was highly "conversational," the book makes the reader feel that they are sitting at a table in an informal chat with the author. Having followed her career for at least 35 years, I found the book fascinating. I had my nose in it for three straight days, every time that I had a free minute, until it was finished. The stories that dealt with Dub Albritton, her manager, who used every piece of energy he had to promote her and then, was found to have mismanaged her funds; her statements about extreme poverty as a child, even when her early image screamed "success"; and the telling of how her marriage to Ronnie Shacklett has stayed strong from her late teens until present day all were total highlights of an excellent read. I plan to read it again within the month. The true and avid fan of Brenda Lee can't afford to miss this one!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By thesavvybamalady VINE VOICE on April 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I really wasn't into this book until I watched this documentary on PBS on women who sang rockabilly music, and I had noticed her auto at the library, so I checked it out and here I am giving a review. It is not fortunate for child stars to grow up and become normal,productive adults. If anything, they are scarred, eccentric, or trying to relive their glory days. But with this lady, you have a woman who just happened to be a child star, survived the business despite her controlling manager, bad business moves, and illnesses. She has turned out into a gracious lady and her book is really great. If you are looking to go back into memory lane to the the good ol' days, well this is the book for you. A great book by a great American lady.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Josephine Kaszuba Locke on January 18, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The cliché 'better late than never' holds much substance with me -- an avid reader and reviewer, and music lover -- as in my finally reading a book that has sat in boxes during residential moves, then sat on my bookshelves... until now. (The book was published in 2002 and it is now 2007!)

An energetic ball of fire... From the time she was a babe in a crib, Brenda Lee identified with music on the radio; by age two she was powerfully singing the lyrics -- all in tune and rhythm, without voice nor music lessons. By age six she was a TV regular; the family breadwinner by age ten; a national recording artist by age eleven; by twelve -- the youngest headliner to entertain Las Vegas audiences; rock 'n roll by fifteen, and largest-selling female performer by twenty-one. Red Foley, of TV's 'The Ozark Jubilee', became a friend and promoter, and she earned the moniker 'Little Miss Dynamite', making top recordings one after the other. It was the time of singles, of which Brenda Lee holds the largest hit numbers of all female recording artists. She writes of her agents, especially Dub Allbritten, who became a guardian on the road and off, and a father figure. Brenda refers to him as 'the Professor Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle'. When he said 'Jump', she'd say 'How High?'

She was entered into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, was a four-time Grammy Award contender, presented The Governors Award for Lifetime Achievement (Georgia), performed in the Legendary Ladies of Rock 'n Roll (a highly successful video taped at the Latin Quarter), named Nashville's Ambassador of Goodwill, among many other well-earned titles, with a vast, and I mean vaaaaaast... collection of songs....
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sybil A. Williams on February 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
February 17, 2002
A book for the utlimate Brenda Lee fan. What a life this terrific lady has had with it's ups and downs or should I say downs and ups. She is always able to bounce back up. I'm sure most fans like myself have thought Brenda has lead a glamorus life all these years and for the most part she has. We don't realize all that goes on in that world we are not a part of. Her book is well written and keeps your attention. Even though I've been a fan of Brenda's for 43 years and an honored to be a friend for about 25, there was lots of things about her life the book enlighten me to.
I want give away anything in the book, you will have to read it for yourself, but you will see that there are more reasons than one she is know as "Little Miss Dynamite"! Brenda Lee, the lady with THE VOICE.
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