Brand New Key

"Brand New Key" is a pop song written and sung by folk music singer Melanie. Initially a track of Melanie's album Gather Me, produced by Melanie's husband Peter Schekeryk, it was known also as "The Rollerskate Song" due to its chorus. It was her greatest success, scoring No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart during December 1971 and January 1972. Billboard ranked it as the No. 9 song of 1972. It also scored No. 1 in Canada and Australia and No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

"Brand New Key"
Melanie Brand New Ky.jpg
Single by Melanie
from the album Gather Me
B-side"Some Say (I Got Devil)"
ReleasedOctober 1971
Songwriter(s)Melanie Safka
Producer(s)Peter Schekeryk
Melanie singles chronology
"Ruby Tuesday"
"Brand New Key"
"The Nickel Song"
Official audio
"Brand New Key" on YouTube


The song is sung from the viewpoint of a girl with roller skates trying to attract the attention of a boy.

In an interview with, Melanie described what she claimed was the inspiration for the song: "I was fasting with a 27-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 McDonald's and the aroma hit me, and I had been a vegetarian before the fast. So we pulled into the McDonald's 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."[1]

The song has been described as folk music, pop music, and soft rock.[2] It was arranged by Roger Kellaway.[3]

Possible sexual innuendoEdit

Melanie has acknowledged the possibility of detecting sexual innuendo in the lyrics, but has denied any deeper meaning:

[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.[4]

Track listings and formatsEdit

  1. "Brand New Key"  – 2:26
  2. "Some Say (I Got Devil)"  – 3:07



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Parodies and other versionsEdit

  • A parody of the song titled "Kinky Boots" by The Irish Brigade, with lyrics mocking British policies and policing authorities in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • A cover of the song by the American cello rock trio “Rasputina” was included on their 1996 debut album Thanks For The Ether.

References in popular cultureEdit

Melanie's version is heard in the 1997 film Boogie Nights as Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) has his "audition" with Rollergirl (Heather Graham) in front of Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds).[22] The song is also played in Jackass 3-D during the "Bungee Boogie" stunt skit (in which the cast members use bungee cords, skateboards and a ramp to slingshot into a kiddie pool). On April 4, 2016, Jimmy Fallon lip synced the song during a "Lip Sync Battle" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, while he competed with actress Melissa McCarthy.[23]

In the 9th season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, "Werewolf", Mike sings part of the song's chorus in a medley set to the film's end credits.

On the October 17, 2016, episode of singing competition television show The Voice, Team Miley (Cyrus) contestants Darby Walker and Karlee Metzger performed the song in a Battle round.

The original version appears in season one of the FX show The Bridge, as the character Daniel Frye flushes his supply of drugs and alcohol.

The original version also appears in the 2016 Hallmark TV movie Signed sealed delivered from the heart.

During the 16th season of American Idol, contestant Maddie Poppe performed the song during the Top 24 elimination round.[24]

The original version appears in episode 1 of the first season of the 2017 Australian television series Sisters, as the viewer is initially introduced to Julia, one of the main characters.

In the first online episode of the Comeback Stage of the singing competition television show The Voice, no-chair reject Klea Olson performed the song as part of a Battle round against fellow Team Bebe (Rexha) members Nathan and Chesi Arnett, who performed the song "Tulsa Time."

Melanie's version is heard playing over the closing credits of the 2nd episode of the 2020 miniseries The Stand, right after Randall Flagg gives Lloyd Henreid a stone that transforms into a key, and frees him from prison. It is also heard in the 2021 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode, "The Gang Buys a Roller Rink", when Frank drops Dennis and Dee off at South Philly Skate in 1998.

In the 2022 "Kids in the Hall" revival series, it is played during the through sketch portion of episode 3, depicting a radio dj (played by Dave Foley) in the aftermath of an apocalypse from a "DNA Bomb".

The song is also heard in Family Guy season 20, episode 18, "Girlfriend, Eh?".[25]


  1. ^ Ray Shahso (August 12, 2013). "The Classic Rock Music Reporter: 'Melanie' Safka Exclusive: "My Mother Drove Me To Woodstock" (Part 1)". Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. ^ "Brand New Key". AllMusic.
  3. ^ "Melanie - Gather Me".
  4. ^ ""Brand New Key" - Melanie". Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  5. ^ Brand New Key (United States 7" vinyl liner notes). Melanie. Neighborhood Records. 1971. NRA-4201.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  7. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Brand New Key". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "Dutch Top 40 - Melanie, Brand New Key".
  10. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  11. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Songs (A-B)".
  12. ^ "MELANIE".
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 161.
  14. ^ "70s Files". Archived from the original on 2019-09-26. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  15. ^ "Songs from the Year 1972".
  16. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1972". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1972". Cashbox Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  19. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  20. ^ "American single certifications – Melanie – Brand New Key". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  21. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 327. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  22. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Boogie Nights". AllMusic.
  23. ^ Lip Sync Battle with Melissa McCarthy. YouTube. April 4, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-04-05.
  24. ^ American Idol (2018-04-15), Maddie Poppe Sings "Brand New Key" by Melanie - Top 24 Solos - American Idol 2018 on ABC, archived from the original on 2018-04-16, retrieved 2018-04-26
  25. ^ "s20e18 - Girlfriend, Eh? - Family Guy Transcripts - TvT". Retrieved 2022-05-14.

External linksEdit