She Can't Find Her Keys

Album: Greatest Hits (1962)
Charted: 19


  • This was written by Roy Alfred and Wally Gold. Gold also co-wrote the hit "It's My Party" recorded by Lesley Gore.
  • The song tells the tale of a young woman out on a date who pulls everything except the kitchen sink out of her purse while searching frantically for her keys, which, of course, she can't find. Some of objects she extracts from her purse include an autograph of Fabian (a singer and teen idol), tangerines, Presley records, hair spray and jelly beans, potato chips and portable batteries, frozen custard, piano bench, pretzels and a monkey wrench, tennis racket, army cots, pumpkin seeds and coffee pots, watermelons, goal post, fire hydrant, TV set, etc., etc.
  • Paul Petersen appeared at age 8 as a Mouseketeer on Disney's TV show, The Mickey Mouse Club. But he gained greater fame as a teenage heartthrob appearing as son "Jeff" on The Donna Reed Show, an ABC family sitcom airing between 1958 and 1966. The show featured Donna Reed as his mom ("Donna Stone"), Carl Betz as his make-believe-doctor dad ("Dr. Alex Stone"), and Shelley Fabares who played his sister ("Mary Stone").

    When the show's producer, Tony Owen, (Donna Reed's real husband), said to Petersen, "You're going to be singing on TV," Petersen said, "Great! I hope I can be as successful as Ricky Nelson. "Rick was singing on his show and getting all the girls. I wanted to have my share," Petersen added.
  • Shelley Fabares also recorded songs while on The Donna Reed Show. When she was first asked to do so by Owens, she reportedly panicked because she felt she couldn't sing. Apparently, her fears were unjustified because her very first record, "Johnny Angel," (written by Lee Pockriss and Lynn Duddy) went straight to #1 in the US.
  • This was Petersen's first release. It was not a favorite of his mainly because of its novelty flavor, which caused him to be often confused with Brian Hyland who recorded "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." Petersen scored his biggest hit (#6 USA) with "My Dad," a song about Dr. Alex Stone, his father on The Donna Reed Show.
  • Petersen first performed "She Can't Find Her Keys" on The Donna Reed Show in January 1962 as part of a dream sequence with "Jeff" envisioning himself as a teenage recording sensation out on a date waiting for his goodnight kiss.

Comments: 5

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 15, 1962, Paul Petersen performed "She Can't Find Her Keys" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    And on the same day he was appearing on 'Bandstand', that evening he was playing Jeff Stone in the 'The New Office' episode on 'The Donna Reed Show'
    He appeared in 275 episodes of the ABC-TV family sitcom 'The Donna Reed Show' between the years of 1958 and 1966...
    William Paul Petersen will celebrate his 73rd birthday come next September 23rd {2018}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 25th 1962, Paul Petersen performed "My Dad" on the ABC-TV family sitcom 'The Donna Reed Show'...
    Seventeen days later on November 11th, 1962 the song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #93; and ten weeks later on January 20th, 1983 it peaked at #6 {for 1 week} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    The record's B-side was a covered version of Johnny Burnette's 1961 hit "Little Boy Sad"; Mr. Burnette's version reached #17 on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 25th 1962, "She Can't Find Her Keys" by Paul Petersen entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on April 22nd it peaked at #19 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1962 and 1964 he had six records make the Top 100; with "My Dad" being his biggest hit, it reached #6...
    Mr. Petersen, born William Paul Petersen, will celebrate his 69th birthday this coming September 23rd (2014).
  • Linda from Hillsboro, OrBoy, does this bring back memories for me. My friends and I used to listen to this record over and over, trying to memorize all the things she had in her purse!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWow. She'd have to have an awfully big purse for it to contain all those things. I've never heardthis song, but the description makes it seem funny
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks

Ron and Russell Mael of SparksSongwriter Interviews

The men of Sparks on their album Hippopotamus, and how Morrissey handled it when they suggested he lighten up.


WeezerFact or Fiction

Did Rivers Cuomo grow up on a commune? Why did they name their albums after colors? See how well you know your Weezer in this Fact or Fiction.

Randy Newman

Randy NewmanSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.

Grunge Bands Quiz

Grunge Bands QuizMusic Quiz

If the name Citizen Dick means anything to you, there's a chance you'll get some of these right.

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"They're Playing My Song

Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.

Country Song Titles

Country Song TitlesFact or Fiction

Country songs with titles so bizarre they can't possibly be real... or can they?