Singer-Songwriter Passes Away at 76

Singer-Songwriter Passes Away at 76

( – It’s not even a full month into 2024, and the music industry has already suffered some notable losses. David Soul, Jo-El Sonnier, Mary Weiss, and Frank Farian have sadly passed away this year. Now, another singer-songwriter has joined the list.

Melanie Safka, known to her fans as just Melanie, was born in New York in February 1947. She performed at the famous Woodstock festival in 1969, which she claimed was the first big break she had in her career. The singer-songwriter passed away on Tuesday, January 23, just days shy of her 77th birthday. Her children, Beau Jarred, Jeordie, and Leilah, posted a tribute on her Facebook page in her honor, saying their “world is much dimmer” without her presence and asked that the public give them privacy to grieve and to “figure out how to navigate this crazy world without her.”

The singer-songwriter got her start playing the ukulele, her first instrument, at a young age. Melanie later picked up the guitar and took it with her as she played folk songs at New York coffeehouses. In 1969, she was the “baby of Woodstock, the darling of Woodstock,” according to an NPR interview she gave in 1991. That experience would propel her to write “Lay Down (Candles In the Rain)” in 1970. From there, she wrote “Brand New Key” in 1971, which brought her even more fame — and controversy. Some speculated the song referenced drugs and sex, though she said her cherubic appearance lent to her being “misunderstood.” Both hits landed in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs.

Melanie’s voice was something of an anomaly in the industry. She could hit low, raspy notes with a soulful tune and suddenly switch to high-pitched tunes seamlessly, not something many could do. She continued to write music, and throughout her career, she released more than 30 albums, including one she was recording in the studio earlier this month.

The family didn’t provide information on the cause of Melanie’s death. However, her record label Cleopatra mentioned an unspecified illness in their statement, according to PEOPLE.

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