Melanie, folk singer who performed at Woodstock, dies

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Melanie found success with titles like “ Brand New Key “, ” Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) » and a cover of “ Ruby Tuesday » by the Rolling Stones.

Melanie, the folk singer who topped the charts with “ Brand New Key ” And ” Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) “, who performed at the Woodstock festival in 1969, died Tuesday. She was 76 years old.

Billy James, the singer’s representative, confirmed her death to WECB, but did not specify the cause of death. “ We are heartbroken, but we want to thank each of you for the affection you have for our mother, and to tell you that she loved you all very much.wrote the children of the singer born Melania Safka in a press release. She was one of the most talented, strong and passionate women of the time and every word she wrote, every note she sang reflected that. Our world is much darker, the colors of dreary, rainy Tennessee fading in her absence today, but we know she is still there, smiling down on us all, all of you, from the stars. »

Born on February 3, 1947 in Astoria, New York, Melanie studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was influenced by both the folk scene of the time and the music of Edith Piaf, Kurt & Weill , by Blossom Dearie and her own mother Polly, a jazz singer.

Less than a year after the Queens native released her debut album Born to Be (1968) at Buddah Records, Melanie found herself on stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people at Woodstock.

I had never played in front of so many people in my life. I was thrown in there and had my first out-of-body experience. I was terrified, I had to leave. I started walking on the bridge leading to the stage, and I left my body and went to the side, higher up. I saw myself walk on stage, sit down and sing a few verses. And when I felt it was safe, I came back “, Melanie told WECB in 1989 about this experience.

It started raining right before I went on stageshe added. Ravi Shankar had just finished his concert and the presenter said that if we lit some candles it would help keep the rain away. When I finished my concert, the whole hill was nothing but a cluster of little flickering lights. I think that’s one of the reasons I got my body back. »

The Woodstock concert will soon inspire Melanie to release the single “ Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) », recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers, which will rank in the Top 10 sales. The success was followed by the release of “ Peace Will Come “, ” What Have They Done to My Song Ma “, ” The Nickel Song » and a cover of “ Ruby Tuesday » by the Rolling Stones.

Melanie then founded Neighborhood Records, the first woman-owned independent label in rock history, according to her representatives. “ Brand New Key “, his first title for Neighborhood, rose to the top of the charts around the world, notably in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Melanie remained an independent artist for most of her career, releasing Ballroom Streets (1978), Arabesque (1982), Am I Real Or What (1985), Precious Cargo (1991), Old Bitch Warrior (1995), and Ever Since You Never Heard Of Me (2010).

At the beginning of January, Melanie recorded, according to her label, a cover of “ Ouija Board Ouija Board » by Morrissey for an upcoming tribute album. (Morrissey had already taken up “ Some Say (I Got Devil) » by Melanie on her album Gather Me from 1971). She had also recorded a rendition of “ Hurt » by Nine Inch Nails for a cover album, Second Hand Smoke, which would have marked his 32nd studio album.

Covers of “ Creep » by Radiohead, « Nights In White Satin » from the Moody Blues, « Enjoy The Silence » by Depeche Mode and « Everyone Says Hi » by David Bowie were also among the songs planned for the album.


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.