“Brand New Key” singer-songwriter Melanie Safka dies at 76

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Melanie Safka, best known for her breakthrough appearance at Woodstock and her #1 hit “Brand New Key,” has passed away at age 76. 

Safka was one of three solo female singers to perform at Woodstock. Her appearance inspired her to write the tune “Candles in the Rain,” which she released in 1970 and became her first U.S. hit, peaking at #6 on the Billboard charts. She released “Brand New Key” in 1971; it went on to be her biggest hit, reaching #1 in the U.S., Canada and Australia, and #4 in the U.K.  

Safka’s other known tracks include a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday,” “Peace Will Come,” “What Have They Done To My Song Ma” and “The Nickel Song.” She was also a well-known songwriter, writing tunes for such artists as Ray CharlesCissy HoustonMott The Hoople and others.

And there is apparently more music from Safka to come. Before her death she recorded a cover of Morrissey’s “Ouija Board Ouija Board” for a planned tribute album. She also started work on her 32nd studio album, a covers album tentatively titled Second Hand Smoke, recording a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” for the album.

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