November 12

Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry”: A 15-Year-Old Girl’s Song That Blew Everyone Away

“I’m Sorry” was a 1960 hit song by American singer Brenda Lee. Ronnie Self and Dub Allbritten penned it, and Brenda sang the song when she was still 15 years old. After its release, the song peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart number one spot in July 1960. 

Brenda started her career at the young age of six. Born and raised in a low-income household in the red-clay belt of Georgia, she became her family’s chief breadwinner. 

RELATED: 7 Unspoken Brenda Lee Facts That’ll Surprise You

According to the information found in Fred Bronson’s “Billboard Book of Number One Hits,” Brenda Lee recorded the song early in 1960. However, her label, Decca Records, held it from release for several months. They did that because of concerns about Brenda’s age not being mature enough to sing a song about one-sided love. 

Additionally, her label also wondered about the legalities of letting a teenager sing about such passionate affairs of the heart. As a child star, these were issues that Brenda and her label faced. 

Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” was the first example of a song with what people call the “Nashville Sound.” It’s a sound that focuses on a crooning lead singer, stringed instruments section, and backing vocals. Many consider it a fusion of country and pop music with a touch of doo-wop. This type of sound was pioneered in the mid-1950s by Columbia Records and RCA. 

The classic hit song also made its way into popular culture. The song got sampled for the Sweet Valley track called “Hypomania.” Beyonce’s 2016 tour, called “The Formation World Tour,” also used the song as an interlude. The song was also featured in episode 3 of The End of the F***ing World Netflix series and played over the end credits of Richard Linklater’s tape. 

Despite the delays “I’m Sorry” experienced with its release because of the issues about Brenda being 15 years old then, it still became a massive hit. It’s undoubtedly one of the best songs by Brenda Lee that’s worth hearing at least once in your lifetime. 

If you haven’t heard Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” for a while or have never heard it before, don’t sweat it. You can listen to the song right now if you click here. 


Brenda Lee

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