Melanie Safka, the singer-songwriter prominent in the seventies and professionally known as Melanie, has passed away at the age of 76. Known for hits like “Brand New Key,” “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” and “Alexander Beetle,” Melanie died peacefully at her home, as confirmed by her family in a statement.
“This is the hardest post for us to write, and there are so many things we want to say,” the statement posted to Melanie’s Facebook page read.
“Mom passed, peacefully, out of this world and into the next on January, 23rd, 2024.
“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!
“Our world is much dimmer, the colours 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.”
The cause of her death was not immediately disclosed. In a request to fans, Melanie’s children—Leilah, Jeordie, and Beau Jarred—asked for candles to be lit in her honor. Melanie gained recognition at the iconic 1969 Woodstock festival.
“We are planning a Celebration of Life for Mom and it will be open to all of you who want to come and celebrate her,” they wrote.
“The details will be announced as soon as they are in place. We look forward to seeing you there.
“At this time please allow us, her family, privacy as we grieve for her, remember her, and figure out how to navigate this crazy world without her.
“Thank you all for your love — you meant so very much to her.”
News of the singer’s death left her fans heartbroken.
“So sorry for your loss. She is and always will be loved and remembered,” one fan wrote.
“She is now off to the next chapter and she will be right there with you all as she does.”
“I bought a Melanie cassette when I was about 13, in 1986. I cannot tell you what it meant to me,” wrote another.
“She was one of the very special ones.”
“She is a great loss to all she touched through her music and passion to other people she met along the road,” wrote a third.
Melanie Safka, born in New York, achieved two top 10 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 with “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” She also had a successful cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” in the UK.
Recently, she was in the studio working on her 32nd album, which was planned to be a collection of cover songs. In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, she discussed the perception of her pop-infused folk music and its critical reception.
“It wasn’t the age of smiling women,” she said.
“It had to be much more broody and I was way too cherubic.
“Men can be cute. Randy Newman can sing ‘Short People’ and that’s OK because he’s a guy, he’s got something to say.
“But a girl? How could she possibly have any social significance?”