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.
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 TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved