When Melanie’s released her biggest hit back in 1972, roller skating and roller rinks were all the rage in my eleven year old age group, and “Brand New Key” was speaking our language.
Having an older sister, I had been exposed to Melanie’s music since 1970 and her single with The Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).” Around that time, my sister became enamored by Melanie Safka, and scrambled to not only get her latest album, Candles In the Rain, but also Born To Be, her first one.
To say that my sister was enamored by Melanie’s at times histrionic vocals and songs about peace, beautiful people and Winnie The Pooh would be an understatement, and as a result of her fascination with Melanie, I paid close attention. Anyway, it was Melanie’s covers of James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind” and The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” that ended up introducing me to the originals.
But Melanie had quite a few first-rate original songs that were favorites of mine including “What Have They Done To My Song Ma,” “The Living Bell,” “The Nickel Song” and “Beautiful People.” More Melanie albums followed in my sister’s collection including Leftover Wine from 1970, The Good Book from 1971 and Gather Me from 1972, before she outgrew Melanie and left for college.
Melanie formed her own record label in 1972 and released this single which topped the charts and sold over three million copies. I would have to think that today’s Song Of The Day was probably the straw that broke the Melanie fan’s back and caused my sister to pretty much decide that Melanie had become yesterday’s news.
But to my age group, Melanie’s star was on the rise. Forget the apparent double entendre going on in the lyrics with locks and keys, and “going pretty far,” that was all lost on me and my cohort (I think) the first time around.
Today, this song is a guilty pleasure, but the fact that I, for one, still have this single in my jukebox, says that it is still a pleasure.
P.S. I love this video!