Brenda Lee and Ronnie Shacklett: A Love That Broke Through The Shackles of Rejection

1962: The Fateful, Fitting Meeting

Brenda Mae Tarpley, or more popularly known for her stage name Brenda Lee, has reached milestones in her singing career earlier than everybody else. At 12, she already earned herself a nickname – ‘Little Miss Dynamite’ after she wowed everyone with her performance of “Dynamite”- a little girl with a big voice – and became the first pop artist to have a contemporary international following. 

And she really did live up to that name. 

At 13, she already had her very own hit titled “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Not only that, but the song also became a Christmas standard that even generations of your family are probably still singing it today. Then she became the staple name of the 1960s, charting 47 hit songs and performing rockabilly, pop, and country music. Not to mention the fact that she was ranked fourth in that decade, surpassed only by men. At four-feet-nine-inches tall, she was truly a force to be reckoned with.

And that decade proved not only to be the prime years of her career but also of love. 

Fittingly for a world-renowned recording artist, Brenda first met the love of her life Ronnie Shacklett in a Bo Diddley and Jackie Wilson concert in November 1962. The two got acquainted and then shortly started dating. Their dating story didn’t write itself for so long – it didn’t have to – because the couple married just a few months after meeting. 


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