The Roller Skates Song

Actually referring to the hit 1972 song Brand New Key written by Melanie Safka of New York, New York.

Melanie Safka was a beloved hippie performer from the 60’s. She was an American Singer-songwriter known professionally as Melanie. She is best known for her hits, Brand New Key, Ruby Tuesday, Look What They’ve Done to My Song Ma, and her song about performing at Woodstock, Lay Down (Candles in the Rain). She was discovered while singing in the folk clubs in Greenwich Village during her college years. Her first hit was Beautiful People in 1969.

She also had a rebellionist streak. In 1970 she was the only artist to ignore a court injunction banning The Powder Ridge Rock Festival.Shortly after that she played a concert at Mosport Park in Ontario and played for a huge following in Britain where she received standing ovations. She left Buddah Records when they insisted she produce records on demand, and formed a recording company with her husband instead. When she became an official UNICEF ambassador in 1972 she agreed to forgo her world tour in favour of raising money for this organization instead.

When Brand New Key was first released in 1972 many radio stations banned it due to the sexual double-entendres of the song lyrics. Melanie claimed she wrote the song in 15 minutes and intended it to be light-hearted. The follow-up song was “Ring the Living Bell”. To compete with that, her previous record label released “the Nickel Song”. Both songs were simultaneous Top 40 hits while Brand New Key was still in the charts, setting a record for the first female performer to have three Top 40 hits concurrently. Melanie was also awarded Billboard’s #1 Top Female Vocalist Award for 1972.

I was a child in 1972 and started high school in 1979. I think this song was a standard on the radio almost the entire time. My favourite line in the song was always, “some people say I’ve done all right for a girl, oh, yeah!” Needless to say one of my favourite passtimes was rollerskating in our unfinished basement with my best friend. I also never sing the “la la la” part to the last chorus in the song. When singing it with my ukulele I just feel like singing “la la la” wastes my effort, so I prefer to sing the words there instead. Also, the song ends abruptly after the last word, “key”, and I prefer to come in for a gentle landing with 2 beats each of F and G7 and a single down strum on C. So at the bottom you will see *Original version with the La la la’s, followed by *Cat’s version with words and my ending instead. Your choice! Enjoy!

Brand New Key  ~  Melanie Saftka

[C] I rode my bicycle past your window last night

[G7] I roller skated to your door at daylight

Oh, [C] it almost seems, like you’re avoiding me

[F] I’m OK alone but you’ve got [G7] something I need

Well

[C] I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key

I think that we should get together and try them on to see

[F] I’ve been lookin’ around a while, you got something for me

[G7] Oh, [C] I got a brand new pair of roller skates

[G7] You got a brand new [C] key

(bow-wow-wow-wow!)

[C] I ride my bike, I roller skate, don’t drive no car

[G7] Don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far

[C] For somebody who don’t drive I’ve been all around the world

[F] Some people say I’ve done all [G7] right for a girl

Oh, [C] yeah! Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!

Oh, yeah, yeah, [F] yeah! Oh [G7] yeah, yeah [C] yeah…..

(bow-wow-wow-wow!)

[C] I asked your mother if you were  at home

[G7] She said yes, but you weren’t alone

Oh, [C] sometimes I think, that you’re avoiding me

[F] I’m OK alone but you got [G7] something I need

Well

[C] I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key

I think that we should get together and try them on to see

*Original version:

[F] La la la la-la, la la la la-la, la la la la-la la)

[G7] Oh, …… brand new [C] key 

*Cat’s version:

[F] I’ve been lookin’ around a while, you got something for me

[G7] Oh, [C] I got a brand new pair of roller skates

[G7] You got a brand new [C] key [F-2, G7-2, C-1]

Listen to the song below:

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