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Brenda Lee takes the stage at The Orleans

Jan 1, 2002 12:52 AM

Brenda Lee, “The Lady, The Legend” will perform Thursday through Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Orleans showroom. For tickets, call (702) 365-7075.

Brenda Lee was born in Georgia in 1944. She had an adult husk of a voice that could slip from anguished intimacy to raucous lust, even during “Speak to me Pretty” and other jaunty classics that kept her in the hit parade from the mid-50s to 1965.

By 1957, through local radio and wider exposure, Brenda was ensured enough airplay for her first single, a revival of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya,” to crack the US country chart before her Billboard Hot 100 debut with “One Step at a Time.” The novelty of her youth facilitated bigger triumphs for “Little Miss Dynamite” with the million-selling “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The next decade brought the heartbreak ballads, such as “I’m Sorry” and “Too Many Rivers.”

In 1959 at the age of 15 she embarked on her first foreign tour, which netted her fifty-one front-page stories, nine feature stories and the title of “The Best Goodwill Ambassador the United States ever had.”

In 1977, Newsweek Magazine’s compilation of “Top 20 Artists of the Past 20 Years,” Brenda’s accomplishments placed her in the No. 7 position. Newsweek also credited her as one of the five leading American artists that had best survived the British Invasion of the early 60s.

In 1984, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences presented Brenda with the prestigious “Governor’s Award.” The Award was in recognition of her lifetime career contributions to the recording industry, and was heralded by a glittering award celebration, appropriately titled, “A Tribute to a Legend.”

Brenda Lee ranks No. 9 in “Most Consecutive Top Ten Hits of All Time,” a category shared by both male and female artists. In retrospect of the entire decade of the 60s, Brenda was the top charted female artist and fourth overall charted act, with Elvis, The Beatles, and Ray Charles completing the top four.

Lee’s worldwide record sales are in excess of 100 million. Her biggest selling single to date, “I’m Sorry” has sold in excess of 20 million units and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” which is the number four best selling Christmas recording of all time, is close behind with sales approaching 15 million.