Pop Musician Melanie Passes At 76

Melanie Safka, 76, was an American singer-songwriter whose single “Brand New Key” became a worldwide phenomenon. She died on January 23rd. The reason behind the death remains unknown.

In a social media announcement, her children Leilah, Jeordie, and Beau Jarred hailed their mom as one of the most talented and passionate women of the 60s and 70s.

Born and brought up in Queens, New York, Melanie found her footing in the Greenwich Village folk clubs and eventually broke through in the late 1960s. Her bright yet husky voice matched the counterculture and pop listeners, and she was signed to the Buddah label.

In 1968, she published her debut album, Born to Be. She was a part of the singer-songwriter boom. The album peaked at number ten in both France and the Netherlands, marking her first major European triumph.

Three solo female performers graced the 1969 Woodstock festival. Melanie performed along with Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.

The same year that her cover of Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones became a UK hit, she also taped a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York for a live record that was a smashing success.

Her breakthrough came in 1971, though, with the release of the single “Brand New Key.”

Its lyrics about roller skating appeared to be a metaphor for love-making, yet the upbeat and carefree beat, sparkling background, and Melanie’s sweet nursery rhyme melodies made it incredibly appealing to listeners of all ages.

The most current of Melanie’s 28 studio albums was 2010’s Ever Since You Never Heard of Me. Famous artists like Morrissey covered her songs and were among her cult followers.

She wed Peter Schekeryk in 1968, and he went on to produce all of her big albums.