Woodstock Singer-Songwriter Dead at 76

She's DEAD - Another Legend Gone!


Melanie Anne Safka, the singer and songwriter known for her distinctive deep and raspy voice, passed away at 76. She was born on February 3, 1947, in Astoria, Queens. During the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, Melanie unexpectedly rose to stardom. Her delightfully innocent voice propelled her to the top of the Billboard charts a mere two years later.

Born to Frederick and Pauline (Altomare) Safka, she commenced her singing journey in childhood and made her first television appearance at the age of four on “Live Like a Millionaire.” While studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she brought her performance to the folk venues of New York.

Following her signing with Columbia Records and the release of two singles, she moved on to Buddah Records. Initially, her popularity soared in Europe, where she made numerous television appearances. Her 1969 French hit, “Bobo’s Party,” reached the pinnacle at number one.

In Melanie’s 1971 album “Gather Me,” a girl yearning for a boy rides her bike past his house and skates, capturing a moment. The title track of the album, this song catapulted Melanie to the height of fame, claiming the top spot on charts in the United States and several other countries.

As a musical artifact from the 1970s, embodying the lively kitsch and the carefree sensuality of that era, “Brand New Key” has stood the test of time in popular culture and continues to receive airplay on the radio.

At the youthful age of 22, Melanie graced the Woodstock stage, boasting prior recognition in the vibrant New York folk scene. Alongside Joan Baez, she stood as one of the sole female solo performers during the event.

Assisted by a gospel-infused supporting band, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, she collaborated on the recording of “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” Inspired by the sight of Woodstock attendees lighting candles, this inaugural single of hers reached the impressive sixth position on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release in 1970.