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Folk Legend Melanie Safka Dies at the Age of 76

By The Hyperhive


26 January 2024

Melanie Safka death

©️ tee cee / YouTube

Melanie, born Melania Safka on February 3, 1947, in Astoria, New York, had a career that spanned six decades. The iconic folk singer known for hits like “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” passed away at the age of 76. Melanie Safka’s death was confirmed by her representative, Billy James, to Rolling Stone.

Continue reading to find out more about who was the legendary singer and what is she known about.

Short Biography

Melanie was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. She gained prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She is best known for her hit song “Brand New Key,” which was released in 1971. Melanie’s music is often associated with the folk and pop genres.

Raised in a musical family with her mother being a jazz singer, Melanie studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1968, she debuted with the album “Born to Be” under Buddah Records. Less than a year later, she found herself performing at the historic Woodstock festival in 1969. This was the defining moment in her career.

“The First Lady of Woodstock” 

Melanie performed at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969, and her appearance there helped to boost her career. Woodstock was a historic music festival held in August 1969. It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in the counterculture movement of the 1960s.

Melanie Safka death
©️ 88dukecoupe / YouTube

Reflecting on the Woodstock experience, Melanie shared her nervousness performing in front of such a massive audience. In an interview with AP in 2019 she claimed, “The terror kept building in me. The thought of me performing in front of all of those people and that huge stage — I was all by myself.”

The rain and the sight of people lighting candles in the crowd inspired her to write “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” It ended up becoming a Top 10 single recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

“Brand New Key” Success

“Brand New Key” became Melanie’s most successful single, reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. She continued to release music throughout the years and has maintained a dedicated fan base. Melanie is recognized for her distinctive voice and her contributions to the folk and pop music scenes.

©️ Melanie – Official Page of Melanie Safka / YouTube

The breakthrough hit, “Brand New Key,” came after a unique inspiration – a visit to McDonald’s during a time of extreme hunger after a 27-day cleansing fast. The catchy song topped the charts and became a cultural phenomenon, although its lyrics led to some controversy.

Despite the success of these hits, Melanie remained an independent artist throughout her career. She founded Neighborhood Records, the first female-owned independent label in rock history. Melanie’s discography includes albums like “Ballroom Streets,” “Arabesque,” “Am I Real Or What,” “Precious Cargo,” “Old Bitch Warrior,” and “Ever Since You Never Heard Of Me.”

Melanie Safka Active Till Death

In recent years, Melanie continued to stay active in the music scene. She recorded covers of Morrissey’s “Ouija Board Ouija Board” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” for an upcoming tribute album titled “Second Hand Smoke.” That would have been her 32nd studio album.

In 2015 she teamed up with Miley Cyrus to sing a pair of duets for The Happy Hippie Foundation. They sang together “Peace Will Come (According To Plan)” and “Look What They’ve Done to MySong Ma.”

Melanie Safka death
©️ Melanie – Official Page of Melanie Safka / YouTube

Melanie’s impact extended beyond her chart-topping hits, making her a respected figure in the folk music scene. Her unique voice and contributions to music will be remembered, and her children expressed their gratitude for the affection shown by fans. Melanie’s legacy as a talented, strong, and passionate woman of her era will continue to influence future generations.

The cause of Melanie’s death was not disclosed, and her passing marks the end of a remarkable career that left an indelible mark on the world of folk music.

Melanie Safka’s death will be remembered by her fans by lighting a candle at 10 p.m. CT on Wednesday as was requested by her children.

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The Hyperhive

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