You’ll be glad to hear that I don’t have the stomach to post more than about two more “worst songs.” This dreadful specimen from 1971, “Brand New Key” by Melanie, is rife with not only face-palming lyrics, but also sexual innuendo. It is a testament to Americans’ bad taste that this song sold 3 million copies and became a gold record. Not only that, but it reached #1 in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. What were we thinking?
Melanie, whose real name was Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk (born 1947), had two other hits, “Lay Down” (tolerable) and “What Have They Done to My Song Ma” (intolerable).
Wikipedia describes its genesis, which is more or less what you’d expect. It was inspired by a meal from McDonald’s:
In an interview with classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho on July 22, 2013, Melanie describes the inspiration behind “Brand New Key” … “I was fasting with a twenty seven 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 McDonalds and the aroma hit me, and I had been a vegetarian before the fast. So we pulled into the McDonalds 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.”
It should have stayed in her.
And there’s this:
For a time, at the beginning of her career, Melanie was a follower of Meher Baba and this influenced some of her songs (such as “Love to Lose Again” and “Candles in the Rain”). Over time she became disenchanted with other followers and then disassociated herself from Meher Baba. In 2006 she underwent a life-altering experience with Mata Amritanandamayi or Amma (Mother) as she is also known, or as the “hugging saint” from India, which inspired Melanie to write “Motherhood Of Love”, one of her more recent songs.
She’s got a brand new guru, too.