Thursday Inspiration #106 I’m Sorry

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word mistakes, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘I’m Sorry’, or by going with any other Brenda Lee song, or another song from the 1960 era.  ‘I’m Sorry’ sung by 15-year-old Brenda Lee was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.  It was written by songwriters Dub Albritton and Ronnie Self and released on her self-titled studio album going all the way up to the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaking at #12 on the UK Singles chart.  The release of ‘I’m Sorry’ which became Lee’s signature song was held back a few months by Decca Records, because they struggled with concerns that Lee might be too young to sing about unrequited love, and her singing with such passion about affairs of the heart was disconcerting, despite Brenda Lee already having had a long musical career.

This song was released as the B-Side to ‘That’s All You Gotta Do’ and later in 1960, it was released as the A-Side in the U.K.  ‘That’s All You Gotta Do’ was a chart success, reaching #6 on the Hot 100, but ‘I’m Sorry’ became the smash hit.  When Brenda Lee let loose, she had an absolute hurricane of a voice and this earned her the name of Little Miss Dynamite.  This song is considered to be a good early example of the “Nashville Sound”, which is a mix of country and pop with stringed instrumentals and sugary backing vocals.  This style was meant to counter the huge success of rock and roll, being sort of a fusion between country, pop, and a dash of doo-wop.

Brenda Mae Tarpley better known as Brenda Lee was an absolutely tiny prodigy, measuring in at 4’9” even as an adult, she was short enough to qualify as a little person.  She started her music career at a very early age and her family members had her sing for coins at a local store when she was three years old.  Church was an important aspect of life for the Tarpley family and Brenda Lee began to sing in the church choir at an early age.  Brenda grew up without indoor plumbing, sharing a bed with her siblings.  She was always singing wherever she went, and at the age of six, she won a singing contest at her elementary school.  Music became an integral part of life for Brenda Lee and when her father passed away in 1953, she became the bread winner, supporting her desperately poor Georgia family at the age of 10.  Brenda Lee started out singing on local radio in the Atlanta and Augusta areas, moving on eventually to early TV variety shows.

Her big break came when a local disc jockey persuaded Red Foley, backstage at one of his sold-out country music concerts in Atlanta, to hear the little girl.  Foley had her appear onstage that very hour in front of a huge crowd, standing on a crate to reach the microphone, the audience would not let her go until she had sung a string of songs.  A year later in 1956, at the age of eleven Decca Records signed her as country recording artist.  Two years before ‘I’m Sorry’, she’d recorded ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, an eventual holiday standard which would end up as the biggest-selling single of her career, however ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ wasn’t all that successful till after ‘I’m Sorry’ came out.  During the 1960s, Brenda Lee was the fourth biggest draw in the United States, outselling everyone except Elvis, the Beatles, and Ray Charles.

‘I’m Sorry’ had no formal arrangements when the musicians all met at the studio, the Anita Kerr Singers, saxophonist Boots Randolph and pianist Floyd Cramer.  They sat down and decided how it should go and did it in two takes.  Everybody knew the song was great feeling there was something very special about it.  On ‘I’m Sorry’ Brenda Lee toggles back and forth between quiet reserve and reckless passion in a way that deftly reflects the mindset of someone trying hard to cope with sadness.  It’s a virtuosic and strikingly mature performance, and it really showcases her voice.

“You tell me, mistakes
Are part of being young”


23 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration #106 I’m Sorry

  1. From ‘King of America’. My favourite Elvis Costello album

    He thought he was the King of America
    Where they pour Coca Cola just like vintage wine
    Now I try hard not to become hysterical
    But I’m not sure if I am laughing or crying
    I wish that I could push a button
    And talk in the past and not the present tense
    And watch this hurtin’ feeling disappear
    Like it was common sense
    It was a fine idea at the time
    Now it’s a brilliant mistake

    She said that she was working for the ABC News
    It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use
    Her perfume was unspeakable
    It lingered in the air
    Like her artificial laughter
    Her mementos of affairs
    “Oh” I said “I see you know him”
    “Isn’t that very fortunate for you”
    And she showed me his calling card
    He came third or fourth and there were more than one or two
    He was a fine idea at the time
    Now he’s a brilliant mistake

    He thought he was the King of America
    But it was just a boulevard of broken dreams
    A trick they do with mirrors and with chemicals
    The words of love in whispers
    And the acts of love in screams
    I wish that I could push a button
    And talk in the past and not the present tense
    And watch this lovin’ feeling disappear
    Like it was common sense
    I was a fine idea at the time
    Now I’m a brilliant mistake
    I was a fine idea at the time
    Now I’m a brilliant mistake

    Source: LyricFind

    Songwriters: Elvis Costello

    Brilliant Mistake lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My contribution is already up, Jim. I at first incorporated the word mistakes in the writing. Then during the editing process, I didn’t realize that the word was thrown out. But I think the idea is still in there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea what is going on with WordPress, as I usually get a notification when anyone links back to my posts, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks.


  3. I never knew she sold so much. I can’t help but like her…big voice to come out of her little body.

    Liked by 1 person

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