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‘Brand New Key’ Singer Melanie, Dead at 76

Singer Melanie, who charmed the 70’s with her songs “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” has died. She was 76. News of the singer’s death came from a post on her official Facebook page, written by her children Leilah, Jeordie and Beau Jarred. “Mom passed, peacefully, out of this world and into the next on January, 23rd, 2024,” it read. “We are heartbroken, but want to thank each and every one of you for the affection you have for our Mother, and to tell you that she loved all of you so much! 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.”

Born Melanie Safka, Melanie got her start in the coffee shops and folk clubs of Greenwich Village in the 60’s. She first broke in the Netherlands with “Beautiful People,” a song she performed at Woodstock. “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” was written about that experience. She is best known today for “Brand New Key,” a throwback song about rollerskating. Melanie told music journalist Ray Shasho that the song came to her after breaking a 27-day water fast. “I was fasting with a twenty seven day fast on water. I broke the fast and went back to my life living in New Jersey,” she said. “We passed a McDonalds and the aroma hit me, and I had been a vegetarian before the fast. So we pulled into the McDonalds and I got the whole works … the burger, the shake and the fries … and no sooner after I finished that last bite of my burger …that song was in my head.” The song has been featured in Boogie Nights, ******* 3-D, Doctor Who, and The Kids in the Hall. It has also been covered by Rasputina, Deana Carter, and interpolated by Irish comedian Brendan Grace in 1975.

The family asks that fans light a candle in Melanie’s honor at 10 p.m. Central Standard Time, “Illuminate the darkness, and let us all be connected in remembrance of the extraordinary woman who was wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to so very many people.”

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