“Brand New Key” brings up a lot of nostalgia for many people. The songwriter and singer behind the fun song, Melanie Safka (then known simply as Melanie), had her own wave of nostalgia that inspired her to write the song.
She had been a vegetarian and then had fasted and when she broke her fast she happened to be near a McDonald’s and decided to splurge once the scent wafted her way. Tasting the food brought back memories of her dad teaching her to ride a bike and the inspiration for the song came quickly after that. The song has been called goofy, but we like to think of it more as happy.
The song starts out with the lyrics: “I rode my bicycle past your window last night.
I roller skated to your door at day light.” This of course was in the old days when roller skates attached to your own shoes and you’d tighten them with a skate key.
Melanie was known for both her poignant and her quirky songs. Another of her big hits was “Candles in the Rain” about her experience of performing at Woodstock, a song which helped to create a culture of waving lighters at concerts so that the audience looked like fireflies from onstage. While “Brand New Key” is a very different style of song, it captures the essence of the era just as well, telling the story of riding over to other kids’ houses and then going rollerskating- a very different time when children spent a lot of time simply playing.
Hear this wonderful song full of happy memories again in the vide below.