Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$20 Million
Dec 11, 1944 (79 years old)
4 ft 9 in (1.448 m)
United States of America
💰 Compare Brenda Lee's Net Worth

What is Brenda Lee's Net Worth?

Brenda Lee is an American singer who has a net worth of $20 million. During her career, Brenda Lee has sold over 100 million records globally, making her one of the most successful American artists of the 20th century. Some of Lee's most successful songs include "Losing You," "Sweet Nothin's," "Speak to Me Pretty," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Amazingly, Brenda was just 13 years old when she recorded "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree in 1958. The song continues to be extremely popular even decades later. It actually topped the US "Billboard" Hot 100 in 2023, making Lee the oldest artist ever to top the chart.

Early Life

Brenda Lee was born on December 11, 1944 in the charity ward of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Annie Grayce and Ruben Lindsey Tarpley. She grew up quite poor as her father was often seeking work between Atlanta and Augusta.. As a child, she shared a bed with her brother and sister in series of houses that typically lacked running water. The family did regularly attend local Baptist churches where she began singing solos every Sunday. At the age of five, she won first place at her school's talent show contest, where she sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." When Lee was 8 years old, her father died in a construction accident. Over the next couple years, Lee became the primary breadwinner in her family, as she began earning an income from singing and entertaining. Her mother remarried in 1955 and the family relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio.


Lee regularly appeared on the country music show "TV Ranch" in Atlanta by the time she was 9 years old. After the family moved to Cincinnati, Lee began performing at the Jimmie Skinner Music Center where her stepfather worked. Shortly afterward, the family moved back to Georgia where Lee continued making regular radio appearances. Her breakthrough came in February 1955 when she performed on "Ozark Jubilee" singing "Jambalaya." She signed a five-year contract with the show, though she broke her contract in 1957. In 1956, Lee signed a contract with Decca Records and released two Christmas singles.

In 1957, she released "One Step at a Time." The song became a hit in both the pop and country fields. Her next hit, "Dynamite," led to her lifelong nickname, Little Miss Dynamite. Over the next years, Lee achieved hit after hit on the pop charts. Her biggest hits include "Sweet Nothin's," "I Want to Be Wanted," "All Alone Am I," "That's All You Gotta Do," "You Can Depend on Me," "Dum Dum," and "Everybody Loves Me But You. Between 1960 and 1962, she had a total of nine consecutive top 10 "Billboard" Hot 100 hits, setting a record for a female solo artist that was not equaled until 1986 by Madonna.

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Lee's biggest-selling track of her career was a Christmas song – "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." In 1958, when she was 13 years old, the producer Owen Bradley asked her to record a new song by Johnny Marks who had written a number of other successful Christmas tunes like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas." The song was initially released as a single in November of 1958, but it only sold 5,000 copies. It was re-released in 1959 but did not do much better. However, in subsequent years, the song eventually sold more than five million copies. Since 2017, the song has appeared at the end of each year on the "Billboard" Hot 100. In 2023, it peaked at the number one spot on the charts. Lee also released a special video commemorating the occasion and the 65th anniversary of the song.

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In 1960, Lee recorded her signature song "I'm Sorry." It became one of the biggest hits of the year in both the U.S. and the U.K. It was her first gold single and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Lee's last top ten single on the pop charts in the United States was "Losing You" in 1963. In 1964, she released "As Usual" and "Coming on Strong." She also developed a very strong fanbase in the United Kingdom during this time.

In the 1970s, Lee reestablished herself as a country music artist. She earned a string of top ten hits in the United States on the country charts, the first of which was "Nobody Wins." Some of her other country hits include "Sunday Sunrise," "Wrong Ideas," "Big Four Poster Bed," "Rock on Baby," and "He's My Rock." In 1979, she again had a Top 10 hit with "Tell Me What It's Like." Her last well-known hit was 1984's "Hallelujah, I Love Her So."

In 2002, Lee's autobiography, "Little Miss Dynamite: The Life and Times of Brenda Lee," was published. In 2006, she was the second recipient of the Jo Meador-Walker Lifetime Achievement Award by the Source Foundation in Nashville. In 2009, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2023, "Rolling Stone" ranked Lee at number 161 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Personal Life

In 1962, Lee met Ronnie Shacklett at a Bo Diddley and Jackie Wilson concert in Nashville. They got married less than six months later in April 1963. The couple have two daughters – Jolie and Julie and three granddaughters – Taylor, Jordan, and Charley. The couple resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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