She had a worldwide hit single in 1970 with “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)”
Remembering Melanie Safka on her birthday
Melanie was born on February 3, 1947 in New York. She came to prominence during the late 1960’s as part of the American Folk music artists scene, however, unlike Joan Baez, Melanie failed initially to succeed in the U.S. She first found chart success in Europe in 1969 with “Bobo’s Party” which reached Number 1 in France, and later in 1969, she had a hit in the Netherlands with “Beautiful People”. It was when she performed live at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 that her popularity started to rise in the U.S. She was one of only three solo women who performed at the famous festival in 1969 and the inspiration for her first hit song, “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”, apparently arose from the Woodstock audience lighting candles during her set. The recording became a hit in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States in 1970. The B-side of the single featured Melanie’s spoken-word track “Candles in the Rain”. “Lay Down” became Melanie’s first Top Ten hit in America, peaking at Number 6 on the Billboard singles chart and achieving worldwide success. Later hits included “Peace Will Come (According To Plan)” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday”. Also in 1970, Melanie was the only artist to ignore the court injunction banning the Powder Ridge Rock Festival, playing for the crowd on a homemade stage powered by Mister Softee trucks. Shortly following this performance, she played at the Strawberry Fields Festival held from August 7 to 9, 1970, at Mosport Park, Ontario. She also performed at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 where she was introduced by Keith Moon and received four standing ovations. After the early 1970’s period, her popularity decreased significantly, though she still remained a very active artist and musician throughout the years, Melanie was often regarded as one hit wonder due to massive success of her song “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain” though her body of work was extensive. Her agent and family announced the artist’s death on January 24th, 2024 at age 76.
Watch Melanie Safka performing “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” in 1970
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