Pick 3 from Brenda Lee – this one is easy for me despite the fact she could break your heart with a rendition of the Marine’s Hymn. My favorites are, in order (give a listen),
“The little girl with the huge voice” was the moniker constantly assigned to Brenda Lee, After her father’s death when she was 10, Brenda – and that huge voice – became the primary bread winner in her family.
Her big break came when – at 10 years old -she went to see Red Foley perform in Augusta in 1955. A local disc jockey persuaded Foley to hear her sing before the show, and Foley was as transfixed as everyone else who heard the huge voice coming from the tiny girl so he immediately agreed to let her perform “Jambalaya” on stage that night, unrehearsed.
Foley later recounted the moments following her introduction:
“I still get cold chills thinking about the first time I heard that voice. One foot started patting rhythm as though she was stomping out a prairie fire but not another muscle in that little body even as much as twitched.
“And when she did that trick of breaking her voice, it jarred me out of my trance enough to realize I’d forgotten to get off the stage. There I stood, after 26 years of supposedly learning how to conduct myself in front of an audience, with my mouth open two miles wide and a glassy stare in my eyes.”
The audience erupted in applause and refused to let her leave the stage until she had sung three more songs.
A few months later Brenda signed a contract with Decca records, but it took until 1959 for Brenda to start her string of chart topping hits with “Sweet Nothings”, “I Want To Be Wanted”, “All Alone Am I” and “Fool #1”.
You could say that Brenda Lee was a victim of the English invasion, as the Beatles arrived in 1963 and forever changed the musical landscape of America. But, what a career! From Rock to Country, Brenda Lee has left her mark for all of us to enjoy.
What 3 would you pick from Brenda?