The Left Banke – Pretty Ballerina (1967)

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“Pretty Ballerina” is a song written by pianist Michael Brown (born Michael Lookofsky) and was a number 15 hit for his band The Left Banke on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and reaching #4 in the Canadian RPM Magazine charts. The original Left Banke version of the song, released December 1966, was sung by Steve Martin Caro. The song has appeared in the films Apocalypse Now, Off Limits and Things Behind the Sun and has been covered by such artists as Alice Cooper, John Mellencamp, Jason Falkner, Peter Kingsbery, Eels, Irish Electro Band “Les Marionettes”, Argentine rock star Charly García, Alan Merrill, The Bluetones, and The Dickies. The song features an oboe being played during the instrumental portion of the song, joining the string quartet, before the music pauses, and goes back to the refrain of the song. The song is one of a number Brown wrote about Renée Fladen, girlfriend of The Left Banke’s guitarist Tom Finn and object of Brown’s affection. Other songs written about her include the band’s biggest hit “Walk Away Renée” and “She May Call You Up Tonight.”

I had a date with a pretty ballerina
Her hair so brilliant that it hurt my eyes,
I asked her for this dance and then she obliged me
Was I surprised, yeah, was I surprised, no not at all

I called her yesterday, it should have been tomorrow
I could not keep this joy that was inside,
I beg for her to tell me if she really loved me,
Some where a mountain is moving
Afraid it’s moving without me.
(Instrumental Break)
La La La La La La

I had a date with a pretty ballerina
Her hair so brilliant that hurt my eyes
I asked for this dance and then she obliged me
Was I surprised, yeah, was I surprised, no not at all.

And when I wake on that dreary Sunday morning,
I open up my eyes to find there’s rain,
And something strange within says go ahead and find her
Just close your eyes, yeah, just close your eyes
And she’ll be there
She’ll be there
She’ll be there

[via Stanley Opmann]

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