Brenda Lee has made history – several times over.

The singer’s widely popular Christmas tune, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” recently made its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Between Black Friday and the following Thursday, the 1958 song was streamed roughly 35 million times – 65 years after its debut.

It was even enough to oust Mariah Carey’s holiday juggernaut, “All I Want for Christmas is You” out of the top spot. (At least, temporarily.)

And as noted, the achievement isn’t only impressive – in some ways, it’s also unprecedented. For starters, 78-year-old Lee is now the oldest performer ever to make it to the top of the charts. In addition, the song has the longest amount of time between its initial release and its climb to No. 1. And, she has the longest span of time between two No. 1 hits – her last, “I Want to be Wanted,” became a topper 63 years ago.

Though it’s long been a staple on holiday music playlists, the song’s resurgence in popularity in 2023 is due, in part, to the November release of a new music video to commemorate its milestone anniversary. In it, Lee dons a flowing red dress and lip syncs the tune between shots of a family enjoying a holiday evening together.

It makes for quite the throwback – Lee was about 12 when she first recorded the track. She recalls thinking it was something special from the outset. “You do something in this industry, and you yourself feel like, ‘Oh, I think that’s a winner,'” she told CMT in an interview. “Nine times out of 10, it’s not. But that song, as raw as it was when I got it, it was magical to me.”

She added, “I just thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this song says it all. It’s got a good beat. It’s not a Christmas ballad, but yet it says everything that you want it to say.’”

Still, it took a few years for the song to grow wings – it wasn’t until 1960, when Lee rose to greater prominence, that it began to sell at all. And it didn’t chart higher than no. 14 back then. In Lee’s heyday, she released several other hits, including “I’m Sorry” and “Losing You.”

In 1990, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” enjoyed a moment of sorts when it was featured in the hit film “Home Alone.” Today, it’s in the limelight once more. 

Now – and in general – Lee hopes listeners “take away a little magic of Christmas” when they hear her song, “because Christmas is not all gifts.”

Lee continued to CMT: “It’s blessings. It’s people. It’s dreams. It’s hopes. It’s a lot of things that I felt as a child growing up in Georgia that I thought to myself, ‘Maybe one day I’ll do this, or I’ll do that.’ And, Lord knows I did it.”