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Brenda Lee Thanks ‘Home Alone’ for Helping Make ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ a No. 1 Hit

Brenda Lee Thanks ‘Home Alone’ for Helping Make ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ a No. 1 Hit
Brenda Lee Taylor Hill/WireImage

Brenda Lee’s holiday classic, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” has officially reached No. 1, and she’s grateful for everyone who helped make it happen — including Macaulay Culkin.

“I like that God has given me that favor that I can stand aside and look and know that it wasn’t just me; that it’s a conglomerate of a lot of people that made the song what it is,” Lee, 78, told Billboard after the song reached the top of the Hot 100 65 years after its release.

The 1990 movie Home Alone is part of that “conglomerate.” The film played Lee’s song as Kevin McCallister (Culkin) threw a fake party to confuse burglars Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) into thinking he wasn’t home alone.

With Home Alone entering the holiday movie rotation alongside It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and Die Hard, the song continues to be introduced to new fans every year. “That’s the catalyst that pushed it over that hill, as we’ll call it,” Lee told Billboard, adding that she had watched Home Alone a few nights before her interview. “It’s just been a blessing.”

Brenda Lee Thanks ‘Home Alone’ for Helping Make ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ a No. 1 Hit
20th Century Fox

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” was first released in 1958 but didn’t become a hit until Lee scored her first two No. 1s in 1960 with “I’m Sorry” and “I Want to be Wanted,” per Billboard. The festive song reached No. 14 in December 1960 before entering the Christmas cannon, where it would be woven into the holiday zeitgeist alongside other timeless tracks.

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The song finally hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 for December 9, dethroning Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” a song first released in 1994 that has become a recurring chart-topper in December and January. Billboard changed its rules around 2012 to allow for recurring songs to appear on the Hot 100, per Slate’s breakdown. Additional rule changes have allowed holiday music to appear on the main chart, resulting in Carey’s dominance once Halloween is over.

Brenda Lee Thanks ‘Home Alone’ for Helping Make ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ a No. 1 Hit
David Redfern/Redferns

These changes are also why, along with Lee and Carey’s songs, Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” are at No. 4, 5, 6 and 10 (respectively) on the Hot 100.

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Culkin, 43, also enjoyed an early Christmas present on Friday, December 1, when he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His Home Alone costar Catherine O’Hara, who played Kevin’s mother in the film, spoke at the ceremony attended by A-listers like Paris Jackson and Natasha Lyonne.

“Thank you @hollywoodchamberofcommerce for the star,” Culkin wrote on Monday, December 4, while sharing a photo of himself alongside fiancée Brenda Song and a picture of him and O’Hara recreating an image from Home Alone. “It was such a special day to spend with my friends and family.”

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