Pretty Ballerina

Album: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (1967)
Charted: 15
  • This and "Walk Away Renee" are both about a ballerina named Renee Fladen, whom songwriter Michael Brown had a big crush on. He was about 18 at the time.
  • Left Banke did not have many hit recordings, but their arrangements, particularly the "baroque pop" style with its strings and harpsichord, influenced numerous other musicians, including classical composers. Controversy around the group began with the song "And Suddenly," which was recorded by Brown using session musicians but released with the Left Banke name. The other band members urged a boycott through their fan club, and the record was finally pulled by Mercury/Smash.
  • This has been covered by Alice Cooper (whose wife is a ballet dancer) and John Mellencamp. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ekristheh - Halath, for all above

Comments: 5

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 1st 1967, "Pretty Ballerina" by the Left Banke* entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #96; and seven weeks later on February 9th, 1967 it peaked at #15 {for 2 weeks} and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    The New York City group had two other Top 100 records; "Walk Away Renee" {peaked at #5 in 1966} and "Desiree" {it had a two week stay on the chart, peaking at #98}...
    * Over the years the group has had at least twenty different members.
  • Al from Baltimore, MdThis is an incredibly sophisticated song both musically and lyrically. Michael Brown was certainly thinking outside the box when he came up with the changes, and the eerie, haunting Lydian mode that transports the melody line is nearly unique in all of rock or pop. I think the best line in the song is in the second verse, "somewhere a mountain is moving, 'fraid it's moving without me." Evidently Brown had been exposed to romantic novels and their ilk, since "feeling the earth move" is an obvious metaphor for sexual ecstasy. Poor kid knew she was getting it, but not from him. I can clearly remember the pain of jealous longing that I used to feel under similar circumstances. But to nail it so brilliantly at 18 years of age is just amazing. What ever happened to him?
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzWhat I love about "Pretty Ballerina" is that little piano lick that runs through nearly the entire piece, playing an almost countermelody. In fact, that piano lick and the lyrics, which seem to be about a dream the narrator had, places this song well ahead of "Walk Away Rene," in my book.
  • Adam from West Palm Beach, FlMichael Brown was actually under 18 when both Pretty Ballerina and Walk Away Renee were recorded, which is an absolutely remarkable feat in realizing that two songs of such amazing depth and sensitivity could've been conceived by someone of such a young age.
  • Kenny from Los Angeles, CaThe songwriter DID have a crush on a girl. turns out though, that it was the lead singers' girlfriend. after the songs became hits, all was forgiven, and the singer even broke up with the girl at some point
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