Monday, May 19, 2014

The Rollerskate Song

"Brand New Key" is a pop song written by folk singer Melanie, which became a novelty hit in 1971-72. Taken from Melanie's album Gather Me, it was also known as "The Rollerskate Song" due to its chorus. It was her biggest hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in December 1971 and January 1972 and it reached No. 1 in Canada and Australia and No. 4 in the UK charts. Melanie's version of "Brand New Key" was featured in the 1997 film Boogie Nights as well as the 2010 film Jackass 3D.

Overview
The song is lighthearted in tone, sung from the viewpoint of a girl with roller skates trying to attract the attention of a boy:

I got a brand new pair of roller skates,
 You got a brand new key.
 I think that we should get together and try them out, to see ...

The roller skates in question would have been children's quad skates, which were clamped to the soles of ordinary shoes. The clamps were tightened with a special "key" that was basically a very simple socket wrench. If the key was lost or misplaced, a screwdriver or other tool could usually substitute, though at some inconvenience. Although the lyrics claim that the roller skates are "brand new," the girl has presumably either lost her key, or the boy of the song is now in possession of it, the key being "brand new" as well:

 I roller skated to your door at daylight [...]
 I'm okay alone, but you got something I need

In an interview with classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho on July 22, 2013, Melanie describes the inspiration behind "Brand New Key" ... "I was fasting with a twenty seven day fast on water. I broke the fast and went back to my life living in New Jersey and we were going to a flea market around six in the morning. On the way back …and I had just broken the fast, from the flea market, we passed a McDonalds and the aroma hit me, and I had been a vegetarian before the fast. So we pulled into the McDonalds and I got the whole works … the burger, the shake and the fries … and no sooner after I finished that last bite of my burger …that song was in my head. The aroma brought back memories of roller skating and learning to ride a bike and the vision of my dad holding the back fender of the tire. And me saying to my dad …“You’re holding, you’re holding, you’re holding, right? Then I’d look back and he wasn’t holding and I’d fall. So that whole thing came back to me and came out in this song."

Lyrics
Melanie Safka - Brand new key

I rode my bicycle past your window last night
 I roller-skated to your door at daylight
 It almost seems like you're avoiding me
 I'm okay alone, but you got something I need

Well, I got a brand new pair of roller skates
 You got a brand new key
 I think that we should get together and try them out you see

I been looking around awhile
 You got something for me
 Oh! I got a brand new pair of roller skates
 You got a brand new key

I ride my bike, I roller skate don't drive no care
 Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far
 For somebody who don't drive
 I been all around the world
 Some people say, I done all right for a girl

Oh, yea yea, oh, yea yea yea, oh yea yea yea yea yea yea

I asked your mother if you were at home
 She said yes but you weren't alone
 Oh, sometimes I think that you're avoiding me
 I'm okay alone, but you got something I need

Well, I got a brand new pair of roller skates
 You got a brand new key
 I think that we should get together and try them out to see
 La la la la la la la la, la la la la la la
 Oh! I got a brand new pair of roller skates
 You got a brand new key

3 comments:

Torro Spyker said...

Hey nice post - I'm a big fan! Torro

Christo Spyker said...

Wow Torro.
You are the last person that I would point out as a Melanie fan. It seems I have to know you more! :-))

Torro Spyker said...

We are a rare, but discerning breed Christo - I think you either get Melanie or you don't - always great to discover another one who does. ;))
Stay beautiful.