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This simple song about a young girl who gets a brand new pair of roller skates was written by Melanie in 15 minutes. She intended it to be a lighthearted novelty to perform in between her more intense material. However it proved to be her most successful song.
In 1976 the English West Country comic folk band The Wurzels took their rewritten version, "Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)" to the top of the UK charts. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
Melanie's search for enlightenment inspired her to go on a 27 day fast, during which she drank nothing but distilled water. Coming off the fast, she was eating transitional food when she felt the urge to get a McDonald's hamburger. On the way back to her house, she started to write the song. (thanks, Sara - Greenville, AL)
This songfact has nothing to do with music, but here's a brief history anyway of roller-skating.
Roller-skates made their first recorded appearance at a party in Carlisle House, London in 1760. A young Belgian musician who rolled into a London party while playing the violin wore these first roller skates. It was not a successful introduction as the violinist crashed into a mirror causing nearly a thousand dollars worth of damage.
In 1866 former civil war arms producer Everett Barney patented the all-metal screw clamp skate. They clamped on to the edges of the soles of shoes and were tightened with a key. However, with the advent of athletic shoes, there was no place to secure the skates so they eventually disappeared.
Around the same time New Yorker James Plimpton came up with the four-wheeled turning roller skate, or quad skate. It was a huge success, so much that the first public skating rink was opened in 1866 in Newport, Rhode Island with the support of Plimpton. The quad skate remained the dominant roller skate design until Minnesotans Scott Olson and Brennan Olson came up with idea of roller blades in 1979. They were inspired after coming across a pair of inline skates created in the 1960s by the Chicago Roller Skate Company and, seeing the potential for off-ice hockey training, set about redesigning the skates using modern materials and attaching ice hockey boots. Within a few years the Rollerblade-branded skates were more popular than the traditional quads.
Want some more songs inspired by roller skating? Here's some:
1. London-based singer-songwriter Eliza Doolittle's "Rollerblades
" is "about quitting worrying, getting up off your butt and getting on your rollerblades 'and rolling on.'"
2. North Eastern England band Maximo Park's Roller Disco Dreams
is about, yep, a roller disco.
3. Jim Croce's Roller Derby Queen
is about a roller-skating woman that Jim met doing a gig at a country and western bar.
4. De La Soul's 1991 tribute to roller skating and weekends, is titled, A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays."
A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.
Gary Lewis and the Playboys had 7 Top-10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.