Rockin' around the Christmas tree

"Rockin' around the Christmas Tree" is a Christmas song, written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958. Although Decca released it in both 1958 and again in 1959, it did not sell well until Lee became a popular star in 1960; that Christmas season, it hit #16 on the Billboard pop chart and turned into a perennial holiday favorite. For well over 30 years, Brenda Lee's version had sales and radio airplay all to itself. Then, in 1992, Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love got together and recorded the song for A Very Special Christmas Volume 2. In 1993, Dion recorded a version for his Christmas album and Amy Grant recorded a version for her second Christmas album.

Mel & Kim version

Kim Wilde recorded this track together with Mel Smith in order to raise money for Comic Relief. It was produced by Stuart Colman. Some extra comedy material was added to the track, written by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones. The track was released on 7" and 12" single in the autumn of 1987. The duo operated under the name Mel & Kim. The single raised a total of £ 76,610 for Comic Relief.

Versions

There are three versions of the song: the 7" version and the 12" version, released on vinyl in 1987, and an edited version of the 12" version, released in 2017 on Spotify, iTunes and other media.

Live performances

'Rockin' around the Christmas tree' was performed live during the Here & Now Greatest Hits Tour in 2003, the Here & Now Tour 2004, Quofestive tour in 2011, Christmas gigs in December 2013, 2014 and 2015, and during the Wilde Wild Xmas Show in December 2017.

Kim about 'Rockin' around the Christmas tree' [1987]

What do you mean I'm unkind to Mel in the song? Well, yes... I suppose I am a bit off hand with him, but that's what's funny about the record, isn't it? (1)

Chart performance

Ireland: 4 (6 weeks)
United Kingdom: 3 (7 weeks)

Kim Wilde & Nik Kershaw version

In 2013, Kim recorded a new version of 'Rockin' around the Christmas tree', together with Nik Kershaw. Twelfth track of her album Wilde Winter Songbook.

Kim about 'Rockin' around the Christmas tree' [2013]

Me and this song go back a long way, and started when ‘Comic Relief’ asked comedian Mel Smith and I to record it to support their first ever ‘Red Nose Day’ in 1987. It reached No 3 in the UK charts and has been played on the radio every Christmas since. More recently my brother Ricky and I were caught belting this tune out on a train from London Kings Cross to Potters Bar. We had both been to a rather wonderful Xmas party hosted by Magic FM 105.4, and were in a somewhat over-refreshed state…the rest, as they, is history ; ) (2)

Credits

Vocals: Kim Wilde & Nik Kershaw
Piano & keys: Steve Power
Drums & percussion: Jonathan Atkinson
Bass, keys, acoustic guitar & additional vocals: Ricky Wilde
Backing vocals: Scarlett Wilde
Guitar solo: Nik Kershaw
Produced by Ricky Wilde
Recorded at RAK Studios, London
Mixed by Ricky Wilde & Sean Vincent at RAK Studios, London
Engineered by Sean Vincent, assisted by Robbie Nelson & Helen Atkinson

Interview sources

(1) Wow! What an almighty Christmas groove! In: Smash Hits (UK), December 16, 1987
(2) Track by track, Kimwilde.com website (UK), November 11, 2013

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