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No talent who came out of Woodstock and who continued actively performing more than a quarter century later remained as closely associated with the 1960s and "flower power" than Melanie. Born Melanie Safka in Astoria, Queens, in 1947, she made her first public appearance at age four on a radio show, later studying at the New York Academy of Fine Arts. After mounting a singing career while in college, she later sang in clubs in Greenwich Village, and was signed to a publishing contract in 1967. She recorded her first single, "Beautiful People," for Columbia Records that same year. Her relationship with the record company was short-lived, however, and after one more single she left the label.

In 1969, she chanced to meet producer Peter Schekeryk, and after a hastily arranged audition, he took charge of her career. Her first album, Born to Be, was recorded and released by Buddah later that same year. On August 16, Melanie took the stage at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in Bethel, New York; her song "Birthday of the Sun" was later released on the Woodstock 2 album, and 20 years later it was released on video as part of Woodstock: The Lost Performances, alongside the work of Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the Who.

Soon afterward, she cut her second album, Affectionately, which did slightly better than her first; however, her commercial breakthrough came 11 months after Woodstock, when she released the song "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers. The song, written as a tribute to the audience at Woodstock and displaying the feel of a gospel hymn, rose to number six on the U.S. charts, while the accompanying LP, entitled Candles in the Rain, reached the Top 20.

After 1970's Leftover Wine, a live album recorded at a Carnegie Hall concert, she issued a plaintive version of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday." In January of 1971, Melanie's own version of "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma," a recent smash for the New Seekers, got to number 39 in Britain, where she emerged as a major star. In March, however, her new release, The Good Book, peaked on the U.S. charts at just number 80, despite the presence of several impressive tracks, among them a hauntingly beautiful cover of Phil Ochs' prophetic, doom-laden self-eulogy, "Chords of Fame."

At around this time, Melanie rebelled against her contract with Buddah, which required her to supply albums more or less on demand -- she'd had four LPs released in half as many years, and wanted more control over her work and career. With help from Schekeryk, whom she had married, she organized her own label, Neighborhood Records, during the summer of 1971. Her first subsequent single, "Brand New Key" hit number one on the U.S. charts while on its way to becoming a million seller; thanks to its not-so-subtle sexual undertones, the song became a kind of "in" dirty joke in some circles, and was even censored on some radio stations, but it also made Melanie one of the top-selling artists of the year 1971.

The accompanying album, Gather Me, was the best produced long-player she had ever released, and reached a chart position of number 15, earning a gold record in the process. This huge success prompted Buddah to release Garden in the City, consisting of previously unreleased outtakes. At the same time that 1971's Gather Me spawned the single "Ring the Living Bell," Buddah decided to capitalize more directly on Melanie's catalog and released "The Nickel Song"; the presence of two singles in release simultaneously from two different labels and distributors -- each competing for radio play and listener dollars -- damaged both releases, and they effectively canceled each other out.

Garden in the City rose to number 19, but her next new album on Neighborhood, Stoneground Words, only got to number 70 late in 1972. In June of 1973, her double-concert album, At Carnegie Hall, recorded the previous year, didn't even make the Top 100. By this time, Melanie had withdrawn from the stage, and was devoting her time to more personal and domestic concerns, having the first of three children in as many years. She re-emerged in 1974 for a short series of concerts, but her new album of that period, Madrugada, barely made it on to the charts, and her subsequent two LPs, As I See It Now and Sunset and Other Beginnings, released in 1975, barely sold. Neighborhood Records was later closed down.

A year later, Photograph was released to lackluster sales on Atlantic; the follow-up, Phonogenic, also failed to chart, and her last album for the next five years, Ballroom Streets, appeared on the Tomato label in 1977. In 1982, Melanie cut a comeback album, Arabesque, for RCA; a year later, her single "Every Breath of the Way" scraped the middle of the British charts and led to a series of concerts in England. Neighborhood was soon reactivated just long enough for Melanie to release one last album, Seventh Wave.

At the end of the 1980s, she re-emerged once again with her theme music for the popular television series Beauty and the Beast. By that time, Woodstock nostalgia was beginning to be stoked by the media and concert promoters, and Melanie appeared at one of the 20th anniversary events. She continued to periodically perform at clubs in the United States and larger festivals in Europe, where her association with the 1960s made her a major draw, and every so often released an album of new songs or re-recordings of her classic numbers. ~ Bruce Eder
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Madrugada

1. Love to Lose Again

2. Lover's Cross

3. Pretty Boy Floyd

4. Wild Horses

5. I Think It's Going to Rain Today

6. Will You Love Me Tomorrow

7. Maybe Not for a Lifetime

8. Holding Out

9. The Actress

10. Pine and Feather

11. I Am Being Guided


Track List: Sunset and Other Beginnings

1. Perceive It

2. Almost Like Being in Love

3. Loving My Children

4. You Can't Hurry Love / Mama Said

5. People Are Just Getting Ready

6. Ol' Man River

7. I've Got My Mojo Working

8. Where's the Band

9. Dream Seller (Meet Me on the Corner)

10. What Do I Keep

11. Sandman

12. The Sun and the Moon

13. Afraid of the Dark

14. Beautiful People


Track List: Stoneground Words

1. Together Alone

2. Between The Road Signs

3. Summer Weaving

4. My Rainbow Race

5. Do You Believe

6. I Am Not A Poet (Night Song)

7. Stoneground Words

8. Song Of The South

9. Maybe I Was (A Golf Ball)

10. Here I Am

11. Bitter Bad

12. Seeds


Track List: Born To Be


Track List: Melanie

1. I'm Back In Town

2. Tuning My Guitar

3. Soul Sister Annie

4. Any Guy

5. Uptown Down

6. Again

7. Beautiful People

8. Johnny Boy

9. Baby Guitar

10. Deep Down Low

11. For My Father

12. Take Me Home


Track List: Solo Powered

1. Brand New Key

2. Peace Will Come

3. Ruby Tuesday

4. Look What They've Done To My Song

5. Nickel Song

6. Someday I'll Be Aan Old Record

7. Missing You

8. Cyclone

9. Close To It All

10. Bitterblue

11. Friends And Company

12. Ballerina

13. Arrow

14. Ring The Living Bell

15. Together Alone

16. Bitter Bad

17. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

18. Stop!I Don't Wanna Hear It Anymore

19. Candle In The Rain

20. Beautiful People

21. You Could Have Had Me For A Nickel

22. Anytime At All

23. Every Breath You Take

24. Life Will Not Go Away

25. Racing Heart

26. The Sun And The Moon

27. Natural Man

28. Perceive It

29. Long Long Time (Rehearsal And Song)

30. Freedom Knows My Name

31. Live Coal

32. Ring Around The Moon

33. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye

34. Long Train Runnin'


Track List: Phonogenic Not Just Another Pretty Face (Digitally Remastered)

1. Knock On Wood

2. Bon Apetite

3. Spunky

4. Runnin' After Love

5. We Can Work It Out

6. I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love

7. Let It Be Me

8. Yankee Man

9. Record People

10. California Dreamin'


Track List: The Natural Man EP

1. The Natural Man (San Bernadino)

2. You Could Have Had Me For A Nickel

3. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye

4. Long Train Runnin'


Track List: Candles In The Rain + Leftover Wine

Disc 1

1. Candles In The Rain

2. Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

5. Leftover Wine

6. Alexander Beetle

9. Ruby Tuesday

10. What Have They Done To My Song Ma

13. Please Love Me

15. Almost Like Being In Love

Disc 2

1. Close To It All

2. Uptown And Down

3. Momma Momma

5. Beautiful People

6. Animal Crackers

7. I Don't Eat Animals

9. Tuning My Guitar

11. Leftover Wine

12. Peace Will Come


Track List: Revisited

1. I'm Back In Town

2. Beautiful People

3. Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

4. Peace Will Come (According To Plan)

5. Leftover Wine

6. Nickel Song

7. What Have They Done To My Song, Ma

8. Baby Guitar

9. Christopher Robin

10. Brand New Key


Track List: Look Into My Eyes/Mira A Mis Ojos

1. Latin Trance

2. Look Into My Eyes

3. Why Oh Why

4. Mira A Mis Ojos

5. No One Here But Us

6. Paris In The Rain (Film Score)

7. Amazing Grace

8. Latin Trance Remix (Club Mix)


Track List: Crazy Love

1. And We Fall

2. Jammin' Alone

3. Punishment Fits The Crime

4. Smile

5. Till They All Get Home

6. This House

7. Right About Now

8. Leftover Emotion

9. You Can Find Anything Here

10. The Wonderer

11. You Don't Know Me

12. I Can Do This

13. Crazy Love

14. Prone To Wander

15. Come Away Come Go

16. Poet Is King


Track List: Beautiful People: The Greatest Hits Of Melanie

4. What Have They Done To My Song, Ma

5. Brand New Key

8. Ruby Tuesday

9. The Nickel Song

10. Bobo's Party

11. Good Book

12. Christopher Robin

15. Beautiful People

17. Leftover Wine

18. Peace Will Come (According To Plan)


Track List: The Best Of Melanie

1. Lay Down

2. The Good Book

3. Beautiful People

4. What Have They Done To My Song Ma

5. The Nickel Song

6. Animal Crackers

7. Momma Momma

9. Ruby Tuesday

10. Peace Will Come

11. Ring The Living Bell

12. Some Say (I Got Devil)

13. Brand New Key

14. Together Alone

15. Bitter Bad

16. Love To Lose Again

17. Bobo's Party

18. Leftover Wine


Track List: Photograph (Double Exposure)

Disc 1

1. Cyclone

2. If I Needed You

3. The Letter

4. Groundhog Day

6. Photograph

7. I'm So Blue

8. Secret Of The Darkness (I Believe)

9. Save Me

10. Raindance

11. Friends & Co.

Disc 2

5. Unfinished Business (Selma Version)

6. Whamp Bhomp Song

7. Ruby Tuesday

8. Love To Live Again

9. Here We Go Again

10. Jukebox Magazine

11. Miranda

12. Unfinished Business (West Version)

14. Over The Rainbow


Track List: The Four Sides Of

Disc 1

1. Somebody Loves Me

2. Beautiful People

5. Johnny Boy

6. Any Guy

7. I'm Back In Town

8. What Have They Done To My Song, Ma

9. Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

10. Peace Will Come (According To Plan)

11. Good Book

12. Nickel Song

Disc 2

1. Mr. Tambourine Man

3. Ruby Tuesday

5. Lay Lady Lay

6. Christopher Robin

7. Animal Crackers

8. I Don't Eat Animals

9. Psychotherapy

10. Leftover Wine


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Hey, Sh&tstain... b o b - o n n - i t , w h y is it, out of 70 + positive comments your the only negative Nelly? I guess you are the only one who gets it right? Tell me,Mr. Genital wort on the face of all humanity...W h a t is it like being the Pariah of Pandora? Cont.
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Mmmm.......C o r n !
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Great voice and wonderful choir
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Nickel Nickel Music! Music! Music!
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I NEED Stoneground Words!!!!! This album was a lifesaver/ch a n g e r for me and a very critical time in my life!! Every. single. song. on that Album!!
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love candles in the rain
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Nickel Song my favorite Melanie song girls like to put a nickel in a relationship and want a Dollar song LOL funny but all too true
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Whamp bomp good song
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They only put a nickel and they want a dollar song
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She got "Chops" Beautiful Woodstock child! ....Candles in the Rain! One of the greatest gospel songs ever! Ed. Hawkins singers .... Background !
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Nickel Song you put in a nickel and want a dollar song
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As happy song
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sometimes I think you're avoiding me I got a brand new pair of roller skates you got a brand new key
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I'm 37 but my mom Bonnie(RIP) raised me up listening to people such as Melanie,Bob Dylan,The Doors, Janis Joplin,Jimi Hendrix,Otis Redding even the Carpenters among many others.She had great taste in music and I continue to love it to this day! I love you mom.I will see you again one day!
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I love Melanie! My husband is obsessed with Stevie Nicks and Miley Cyrus.Yuck!
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vikkigreenwo o d 0 1 3 1
Her songs never grow old. Beautiful People is just as relevant today.
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A little Melanie goes a long way. Her sound got old fast
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candles in the rain makes my whole day
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Melanie Is up North right now. Check out her websites for more info
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jenmurdock20 0 6
Sejah2002, they mean 'no talent' like 'no other talented artist'. Its a compliment.
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Sejah2002... I sincerely hope you re-read that first, however very long sentence again...
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Concert Tour: http://www.m e l a n i e s a f k a . c o m / t o u r /
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Your no talent comment is offensive and untrue. Melanie shared the musical spotlight with many artists who focused their musical spirit on social, economic and racial change, plus peace vs. war activism. Many of us demonstrated and huddled against police w/Melanie's message of Beautiful People and Lay Down (Candles in the Rain). Let your review be contextual w/respect to the time and generation where people still believed and acted on their desire to change the world. We love Melanie!
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You suck monkey butt are you signal
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Love Melanie
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Love Melanie -- Stoneground Words was my good friend on many a road trip.
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My angel voice thx!
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haven't heard music, music, music for a long time great song
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found out yesterday morning on the radio that she was gonna be in concert last night, and right near our house in FL !! WOO HOO !! called my 19 y.o. daughter, she was overjoyed. Momma brought her babies up on fine music.... Melanie, Joni, Dylan.... the concert was great. my first Melanie concert was in 1973 in Central Park, and many more since. she is a national treasure. thank you Melanie for making my world and my children's world a better place.
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she was one of my B.F.F's as a child....My moms albums were my best friends..:)
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Girls want to put a nickel in and want a Dollar song too
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watching Melanie Martinez on The Voice reminded me of t h have very lovely, unique voices
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She wrote some awesome lyrics. They were good for then and great for now
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You played at the Midland Bar and Cafe in Basalt Colorado, 1988. My boyfriend owned that bar and just introduced me to you now. I think you are amazing and he misses you....hence him missing you...Ric loves your music and i thank him for showing me to you! (i am 21 years younger than him but still love your voice) Ric says up here on this mountain, and the people all around who say that I have been up here too long and want me to come down.... you know the rest. Wish you well! Karen&Ric!
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Love her music, Love her style. It don't get better for an old hippie like me!
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Melanie is playing tonight 6/2/12 in Woodstock, NY @ the Bearsville Theater.
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Her voice still has the energy and power of a 13 yr old. How could you not like her. Had no idea she was still performing.
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My future husband and I saw Melanie in New York's Central Park in 1968 and she was sensational. Lay Down, Lay Down, was one of her popular songs and was just right at that time to sing. It was the Viet Nam war and her songs were instrumental at that time along with Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. We have all her CD's and treasure the time we had together.
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Saw Melanie at So. Fla. Folk Festival a few years back. She was accompanied by her son. Super fun set. Great back and forth with the audience. Would love it if she came back. I listen to "Lay Down" with the sound turned way, way up and the lights turned down. And "Psychothera p y " as well.
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I love the innuendos of this song. It's simple innocence, yet sexual.
Not to mention the psychotic stalking. What a great song!
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Man I wish I saw her. I was a kid but even in my 'kid-ness' I knew she was cool and special. If anyone has seen her in concert feel free to write more about it because i would love to read it.
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Saw her in concert in college. GREAT!! A Beauty inside and out!!!!
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steven.canna d a y
Not only could she sing, but she was a babe in her day.
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If you know where Melanie tours, please let me know.

rsteinme@ear t h l i n k . n e t
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Yeah, I still get off on her music too! Old hippies never die!
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marianschomp 4
Melanie is awesome and still tours. I am looking forward to seeing her very soon. Once a Melanie fan, always a Melanie fan.
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Always wanted to 'Lay Down'with her
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We lover her also
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Yeah, JaneBirdhous e is correct, but we all know how long it takes for Pandora to respond. It'll never be fixed. Sorry Melanie.
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