Brand New Key

Brand New Key

Infobox Song
Name = Brand New Key

Caption =
B-Side = "Some Say (I Got Devil)"
Artist = Melanie
Album = Gather Me
Released = 1971
Genre = Rock/Pop
Length = 2:26
Composer = Melanie Safka
Label = Neighborhood Records
Producer = Peter Schekeryk
Chart position =

  • #1 (U.S.)
  • #1 (Australia)
  • #4 (UK)
  • "Brand New Key" is a pop song written by folk singer Melanie (Melanie Safka), which became a novelty hit in 1971-2. Taken from Melanie's album "Gather Me" the song (also known as "The Rollerskate Song") was her biggest hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in December 1971 and January 1972. It reached #1 in Canada and Australia, and #4 in the UK charts. Melanie's version of "Brand New Key" was also featured in the 1997 film "Boogie Nights".


    The song is lighthearted in tone, sung from the viewpoint of a girl 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 you see"The rollerskates in question would have been quad skates which fitted over ordinary footwear and were tightened with a screw. The girl's skates are presumably adequate, as she is already skating, but not perfect, as she needs the key::"I roller skated to your door at daylight [...] ":"I'm okay alone, but you got something I need"


    Many listeners detected innuendo in the lyrics, with the key in its lock symbolizing sexual intercourse, or in phrases like "I go pretty far" and "I been all around the world". The phrase "new key" could be interpreted as "", slang for sexual intercourse.Fact|date=October 2007

    Melanie has acknowledged the possibility of reading sexual innuendo in the song:

    "Brand New Key" I wrote in about fifteen minutes one night. I thought it was cute; a kind of old thirties' tune. I guess a key and a lock have always been Freudian symbols, and pretty obvious ones at that. There was no deep serious expression behind the song, but people read things into it. They made up incredible stories as to what the lyrics said and what the song meant. In some places, it was even banned from the radio.

    "My idea about songs is that once you write them, you have very little say in their life afterward. It's a lot like having a baby. You conceive a song, deliver it, and then give it as good a start as you can. After that, it's on its own. People will take it any way they want to take it." [ [ Brand New Key] from the Super Seventie Rocksite.]

    elected list of recorded versions

    * 1972 Cher, on episode 12 of the "Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" (animated)
    * 1996 Rasputina, on the album, "Thanks for the Ether"
    * 1998 Deana Carter, on the album, "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"
    * 2007 The Dollyrots, on the album, "Because I'm Awesome".

    Parodies and other versions

    In 1976, the parody song "Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)", produced by Bob Barrett, was released in the UK by West Country comedy folk act The Wurzels and reached #1 for two weeks in June. New rustic-themed lyrics by Brendan Grace included "I got a brand new combine harvester An' I'll give you the key". The song was used prominently in the film "Evil Aliens".

    Following the January 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, a parody of "Brand New Key" circulated on radio stations. The parody featured lyrics from Tonya Harding's point of view, and included the chorus,

    "I've got a brand new pair of figure skates,
    You've got a busted knee;
    They're gonna lock up my ex-husband and throw away the key"

    Minnie Driver parodied the song at the Spirit Award 2007. The song's lyrics were changed in order to mock the film, "Pan's Labyrinth".

    Pro-IRA music group the Irish Brigade recorded a song titled "Kinky Boots" that disparaged British forces in Northern Ireland. This song is sung to the tune of "Brand New Key", with lyrics such as "I drove my Saracen through your garden last night" replacing "I rollerskated to your door at daylight."


    Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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