I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) – The New Seekers – 1971

July 18, 2013

The New Seekers single coverFrom soft drink jingle to a #1 hit – The New Seekers’ hit, I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony), sold over one million copies back in 1971.

fan mail

Recently a seventiesmusic follower commented that I had, so far, failed to mention one of his favourite bands – The New Seekers. Enter the Twilight Zone, because that very afternoon, as fate would have it (!), while driving around town, I heard said band’s song, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony).

down memory lane

The New Seekers 2The New Seekers have a special place in my memory because their predecessors, The Seekers, are probably the first band I remember hearing on a regular basis.

My mum loved The Seekers and had most of their records. I would listen to them, revel in the harmonies and dream of Judith Durham (only about 20 years older than me!).

the birth of the new seekers

The Seekers were a Melbourne based quartet who achieved international success in throughout the 60s. With four million selling singles, they sold over 60 million records worldwide.

When The Seekers broke up, band member Keith Potger gathered a number of UK musicians and formed The New Seekers. After releasing one single, the band’s make-up was reworked and a place found for the wonderful voice of Lyn Paul (although she does not sing the lead vocal in I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)).

The band found instant success with a cover of Melanie Safka‘s song, What Have They Done To My Song, Ma (Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma, in the USA.

i’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony) fax

  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) began life as an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola. It was so popular that it was re-recorded as a full-length song.
  • The New Seekers did not, initially have time to record the song. That meant it was recorded by a group of studio singers who named themselves The Hillside Singers. Their version reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • When The New Seekers finally recorded I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) they had an instant hit. It sold 96,000 copies in one day and, eventually, 12 million total.
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) was a #1 hit in the UK and peaked at #7 in the US.
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) has sold over one million copies in the UK alone.
  • The Coca-Cola Company waived any claim on royalties to I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony), instead donating $80,000 to UNICEF.
  • The song is credited to veteran songwriters, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, with original jingle writers, Bill Backer and Billy Davis, also gaining credit.
  • Oasis were sued after their recording Shakermaker borrowed the melody and some lyrics from I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony). As a kinda-response, in 1996, Oasis tribute band No Way Sis released a cover of I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony). It peaked at #27 on the UK charts.
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) lyrics.

i’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony) – the new seekers – 1971 – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted and every Monday you’ll get “This Week in 70s Music.” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”

Advertisements

Brand New Key – Melanie – 1971-72

December 20, 2012

Brand New Key - Melanie - 1971Well, it may not be a Christmas song, but on Christmas Day 1971, Melanie’s, Brand New Key was at the top of the US singles chart.

forgotten but not gone…

I guess a lot of people have forgotten all about Melanie Safka, but back in the early 70s the American folk singer made more than an occasional dent on the US and UK pop charts. Maybe you remember:

  • Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)  [a wonderful song]
  • What Have They Done to my Song, Ma?
  • Ruby Tuesday (a cover of The Rolling Stones song)
  • Lover’s Cross (a cover of the Jim Croce song)

Melanie’s greatest hit, however, was Brand New Key.

Melanie Safka 3song about sex?

Brand New Key is a novelty folk song sung from the viewpoint of a girl with roller skates trying to attract the attention of a boy:

I got a brand new pair of roller skates,

You got a brand new key.

I think that we should get together and try them out, to see …

Some listeners claimed the song contained sexual innuendo with the key in its lock symbolising sex. Melanie’s take was a little ambiguous. She said;

Brand New Key I wrote in about fifteen minutes one night. I thought it was cute; a kind of old thirties’ tune. I guess a key and a lock have always been Freudian symbols, and pretty obvious ones at that. There was no deep serious expression behind the song, but people read things into it. They made up incredible stories as to what the lyrics said and what the song meant. In some places, it was even banned from the radio.

My idea about songs is that once you write them, you have very little say in their life afterward. It’s a lot like having a baby. You conceive a song, deliver it, and then give it as good a start as you can. After that, it’s on its own. People will take it any way they want to take it.

the most parodied song of all time?

There are surely few songs that have been parodied as often as Melanie’s, Brand New Key. Check it out:

  • A UK comedy folk act named The Wurzels released a version called, I Got a Brand New Combine Harvester (Brand New Key). Believe it or not, it sat at #1 on the UK singles chart for two weeks in June 1976. This version of the song was used in the film Evil Aliens.
  • Following the January 1994 attack on US figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, a parody of “Brand New Key” circulated on US radio stations. It was sung from the point of view of Tonya Harding, the attacker. She sang,

I’ve got a brand new pair of figure skates

You’ve got a busted knee;

They’re gonna lock up my ex-husband and throw away the key.

  • With lyrics describing Best Film nominee Pan’s Labyrinth, Minnie Driver sang a parody of the song at the 2007 Spirit Awards. Her lyric went,

I blew a giant frog to smithereens

I got his golden key

  • A Los Angeles pop-punk band named, The Dollyrots covered the song in 2007. It became a favourite when they later toured the UK—because concert goers remembered The Wurzels’ 1976 parody.
  • Los Angeles indie pop duo The Bastard Fairies covered Brand New Key in a YouTube video accompanied by a band of ukulele players.

brand new key fax

  • Brand New Key was written by American folk-pop singer Melanie.
  • Brand New Key hit #1 on the US singles chart on Christmas Day 1971 and stayed there for two weeks.
  • Brand New Key was also known as “The Rollerskate Song” because of its reference to roller skates in the.
  • This was Melanie’s biggest hit. As well as reaching #1 in the USA, it reached #1 in Canada and Australia, and #4 in the UK.
  • Melanie’s version of Brand New Key featured in the 1997 movie Boogie Nights and the 2010 movie Jackass 3D. It was also used on a commercial for Hewlett-Packard printers; and was sung by cast members in the UK television series, Dr Who.
  • Covered a number of times by various artists, the latest cover version was in 2012 by Olivia Newton-John.
  • Brand New Key lyrics.

brand new key – melanie – 1971-72 – video

combine harvester – the wurzels – 1976 – band new key parody – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted and every Monday you’ll get “This Week in 70s Music.” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”