Related Artists

The Byrds


Three Dog Night


Manchester Orchestra


Donovan


Judy Collins


Ray Lamontagne


The Association


City and Colour


Paul Revere & The Raiders


B.B. King

Melanie Biography


Home > Music > M > Melanie > Biography


Birth Name: Melanie Anne Safka
Born: 1947/02/03
Birth Place: Astoria, Queens, New York, United States
Years Active: 1967–present
Genres: Folk, Pop, County


Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk (born February 3, 1947) is an American singer-songwriter. Usually known professionally as Melanie, she is best known for her hits "Brand New Key," "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" and "What Have They Done To My Song Ma."

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 when her 1969 song, "Bobo's Party", reached Number 1 in France. Later in 1969, Melanie had a hit in the Netherlands with "Beautiful People", before performing at the Woodstock Festival. The inspiration for her signature song, "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)", apparently arose from the Woodstock audience lighting candles during her set.

The recording became a hit in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States in the spring and summer of 1970. The B-side of the single featured Melanie's spoken-word track "Candles in the Rain". "Lay Down" became Melanie's first Top Ten hit in America, peaking at #6 on the Billboard singles chart, and achieving worldwide success. She left Buddah Records when they insisted that she produce albums on demand.

In 1971 Melanie formed her own label, Neighborhood Records, with her producer/husband Peter Schekeryk. Melanie had her biggest American hit on the Neighborhood label: the novelty-sounding 1972 number one "Brand New Key" (often referred to as "The Roller Skate Song"). "Brand New Key" sold over three million copies worldwide and was featured in the 1997 film “Boogie Nights.” The follow-up single to "Brand New Key" was "Ring the Living Bell". To compete with this release, Melanie's former record company released "The Nickel Song," which she had recorded while still signed to Buddah Records. Both songs were simultaneous Top 40 hits while "Brand New Key" was still on the charts — setting a record for the first female performer to have three Top 40 hits concurrently. Melanie was awarded Billboard's #1 Top Female Vocalist for 1972.

She had another Top 40 hit single in 1973 with "Bitter Bad.” Other chart hits during this period were the self-penned "Together Alone" and a cover of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow".

Melanie has been awarded two gold albums (and a gold single for "Brand New Key") and three of her compositions were hits for The New Seekers. She is also well-known for her musical adaptations of children's songs, including "Alexander Beetle" and "Christopher Robin."

In 1976, Melanie released one album on Atlantic Records, “Photograph,” which was overseen by Ahmet Ertegün. The album was praised by the New York Times as one of the year's best, although it was largely ignored by the public. It was re-issued on CD in 2005 with an additional disc of unreleased material.

In 1989, she won an Emmy Award for writing the lyrics to "The First Time I Loved Forever," the theme song for the TV series “Beauty and the Beast.” Melanie's most recent album, “Paled By Dimmer Light,” was released in 2004. It was co-produced by Peter and Beau-Jarred Schekeryk and includes the songs "To Be The One," "Extraordinary," "Make It Work" and "I Tried To Die Young."