After Melanie wrote this song, she figured it would make a nice interlude on the album and could be a lighthearted novelty to perform between her more earnest material. Her husband, Peter Schekeryk, who was also her producer, had other ideas. After she recorded the song at Allegro Studios in New York City, she left for California. When she returned, Schekeryk had put jaunty doo-wop backing vocals on the song and it was super catchy.
"I'm sure if 'Brand New Key' had lived its life before my husband recorded it, it would have come out as a blues, swampy thing and nobody would have ever heard it," Melanie said in a Songfacts interview
. "That would have been that. But he'd say, 'Melanie, that's a hit.' I'd say, 'No, it can't be.'"