Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

MELANIE

(b Melanie Safka, 3 Feb. '47, Queens, NYC) Singer-songwriter. Single 'Beautiful People' on Columbia flopped c'67; came back on Buddah with album Born To Be '69 incl. 'What Have They Done To My Song, Ma', a hit in France and covered by the New Seekers for a top 15 US hit. Melanie '69 was followed by top 20 LP Candles In The Rain '70, incl. 'Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)', no. 6 title hit written after her appearance at Woodstock: it was her fans who started the fad for holding aloft candles and matches at concerts. Top 40 'Peace Will Come (According To Plan)' was a typically optimistic prediction of the period; live Leftover Wine, studio LP The Good Book '70--71 on Buddah were followed by top 15 LP Gather Me '71 on Neighborhood, own label with manager/husband Peter Schekeryk, incl. no. 1 hit 'Brand New Key'. From then on it was downhill as her childlike voice and demeanour no longer enchanted: Garden In The City and two-disc compilation Four Sides Of Melanie '71--2 didn't do as well; Stoneground Words '72 on Neighborhood was no. 70 LP; 2-disc live Melanie At Carnegie Hall and studio LP Madrugada were the last to chart. Other albums incl. As I See It Now and Sunset And Other Beginnings '74--5, Photograph '76 on Atlantic; Phonogenic/Not Just Another Pretty Face '78 on Midsong/RCA boasted Brecker brothers and David Sanborn among backing musicians, plus mus. dir. Hugh McCracken on guitar, had four Safka songs, covers of Beatles and Mamas and Papas, but didn't make it. Ballroom Streets '79 on RCA was followed by single 'One More Try' '81 on Portrait, which almost made the Hot 100.