b. Melanie Safka, 3 February 1947, Queens, New York, USA. One of the surprise discoveries of the 1969 Woodstock Festival with her moving rendition of 'Beautiful People', Melanie briefly emerged as a force during the singer-songwriter boom of the early 70s. Although often stereotyped as a winsome 'earth-mother', much of her work had a sharp edge with a raging vocal style very different from her peers. Her first US Top 10 hit, the powerful 'Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)' (1970), benefited from the glorious backing of the Edwin Hawkins Singers. In Britain, she broke through that same year with a passionate and strikingly original version of the Rolling Stones' 'Ruby Tuesday'. Candles In The Rain was a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, with an effective mixture of originals and inspired cover versions. 'What Have They Done To My Song, Ma"' gave her another minor hit, narrowly outselling a rival version from the sing along New Seekers.
Melanie's last major success came in 1971 with 'Brand New Key', which reached number 1 in the USA and also proved her biggest hit in Britain. The same year Melanie founded Neighborhood Records with her husband Peter Schekeryk, and its parochial title seemed to define her career thereafter. Marginalized as a stylized singer-songwriter, she found it difficult to retrieve past glories. Sporadic releases continued, however, and she has occasionally been seen playing charity shows and benefit concerts all over the world. Her 'creative awakening' came in 2002 with a new album, produced by her husband and supported vocally by a number of her children.
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