Melanie, 1969 Woodstock Performer And ‘Brand New Key’ Singer Dies At 76

American singer-songwriter Melanie, born Melanie Anne Safka, UK, 18th October 1972. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:39 PM – Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Melanie Safka, an American singer-songwriter known simply by her solo stage name “Melanie,” has passed away at the age of 76.


Some of Safka’s most popular and notable songs include “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).”

Despite her representatives vaguely mentioning an “illness” in their own announcement, the cause of her death remains unclear.

On Wednesday, her children posted on the singer-songwriter’s official Facebook page to announce the news. According to their statement, she departed this world on January 23rd.

“Mom passed, peacefully, out of this world and into the next on Jan. 23,” the statement said.

In addition to performing at Woodstock in 1969, Safka was honored with an Emmy Award for writing the theme song for the 1987–1990 CBS series Beauty and the Beast, which starred Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton.

Her greatest success, “Brand New Key,” was an original song from 1971 that she sang as a child boasting about having “a brand new pair of roller skates.” As a No. 1 pop success, it was later given new life as a theme song for the movie character “Rollergirl,” played by actress Heather Graham in Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s critically praised 1997 film Boogie Nights.

“I am profoundly heartbroken by the loss of one of the most remarkable female artists of our generation,” said Brian Perera of Cleopatra Records in a statement. “In the years ahead, I am committed to collaborating closely with her children to honor and perpetuate her extraordinary legacy for future generations.”

Some of her other hit songs include “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma” and her cover of the Rolling Stones favorite “Ruby Tuesday.”

“She was one of the most talented, strong and passionate women of the era and every word she wrote, every note she sang reflected that,” Melanie’s children wrote in their statement. “Our world is much dimmer, the colors of a dreary, rainy Tennessee pale with her absence today, but we know that she is still here, smiling down on all of us, on all of you, from the stars.”

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