Woodstock Legend Melanie Passes Away at 76

Woodstock Legend Melanie Passes Away at 76 | Society Of Rock Videos

via RobScure Music / YouTube

Woodstock star Melanie, the iconic singer known for her powerful voice, has passed away at the age of 76 on January 23, as confirmed by her family. One of the only nine women to perform at Woodstock in 1969, Melanie, whose real name is Anne Safka-Schekeryk, gained recognition with her 1970 song “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” inspired by her experience at the historic festival.

Her career began in 1967 and continued until her recent passing, marked by hits like “Brand New Key” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday.” At the time of her death, Melanie was actively working on what would have been her 32nd album.

In a post on Melanie’s Facebook page

Her three children shared the news of her passing, stating:

“Mom passed, peacefully, out of this world and into the next. 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.”

Expressing gratitude for the outpouring of love, they assured that a public memorial event would be announced, adding:

“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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A post shared by Michael Richardson (@bigmikerocks)

Reflecting on her Woodstock appearance in 1969

Melanie shared with the Guardian in 2021:

“It was an unbelievably frightening day. I just thought it was a weekend of singing. I pictured families with picnic blankets, and arts and crafts. I had no idea! I thought, ‘I can’t do this. I don’t have any hit records, nobody knows who I am.’ I had no musicians with me, no roadie – I even brought my mom!”

Melanie, never identifying herself as a hippie

She expressed discomfort with the interpretation of her hit song “Brand New Key” as childish. She clarified that it was about the loss of innocence and stated:

 “I never even felt like I was a hippie; I didn’t like the term. If anything, I was the beat generation – people in the Village expressing themselves in so many ways, not being pigeonholed.”

Looking back on her 1971 album, “Gather Me,” Melanie remarked:

 “It’s pretty incredible all these years later that Gather Me could even be relevant; it’s amazing to think that I have soundtracked people’s lives. It really hits the mark.”

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