Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Getting There: On Roller Skates

Roger Miller: You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd


Melanie: Brand New Key


Roger McGuinn & Chris Hillman: Skate Date


I really wanted to contribute an entry about roller skating -- sure, partly because it fits in with this week's theme. But, mainly because I was looking for an excuse to use this wonderful picture of Edvard Petrini's pedaled roller skates.

Problem is, the first two songs that came to mind actually aren't about skating. The first was Roger Miller's "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd." The title may mention roller skating, but it's merely a non sequitur -- though the advice offered is sound.

Then, of course, there's Melanie's "Brand New Key." But, even when it was released in 1971, few listeners thought the song was really about the missing key to her quad skates. (“I don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far” indeed.) The song's lascivious reputation was cemented by its insertion into the Boogie Nights soundtrack, during a memorable audition scene.

Finally, I remembered a song about skating that really is...a song about skating: "Skate Date" by ex-Byrds Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. It appeared on their 1980 album City, made just after Gene Clark bolted what had been McGuinn, Clark & Hillman. The harmonies, as always, are nice, but it's not among McGuinn's most profound songs. "Skate Date" would have benefited from a dash of "Brand New Key" double-entendre.

But, "Skate Date" is definitely about skating.

And now I feel fully justified using the picture.

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