MelanieFolk | 2018
Singer-songwriter Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk, known professionally as “Melanie,” was born in 1947 and raised in the Astoria section of Queens in New York City. She made her first public singing appearance at age four on the radio show “Live Like a Millionaire,” performing the song “Gimme a Little Kiss.” In the 1960s, she developed her chalky vocals in the folk clubs of Greenwich Village, such as The Bitter End, and signed her first recording contract. Initially signed to Columbia Records in the United States, Melanie released two singles on the label. Subsequently, she signed with Buddah Records and first found chart success in Europe in 1969 with “Bobo’s Party,” which reached No. 1 in France. Later in 1969, Melanie had a hit in the Netherlands with “Beautiful People.” She was one of only three solo women (the others were Janis Joplin and Joan Baez) who performed at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival that year—the inspiration for her first hit song in the U.S., “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” reportedly arose from the Woodstock audience lighting candles and cigarette lighters during her set. The song sold more than one million copies in 1970, and her single, “Brand New Key,” a romp about freedom and roller skates, topped the charts in 1971. Her songs have been covered by the likes of Cher and Dolly Parton, and she has sold more than 80 million records to date.