Friday, April 19, 2024

RIP Melanie, One of the Great Folk Pop Singers of the 60s and Early 70s, Dies at Age 76, Had a Hit with “Brand New Key,” and Wrote Coke’s Most Famous Ad Song


Melanie Safka has died at age 76. Her family posted an announcement to Facebook (see below).

Melanie went by just her first name. She had a huge hit with “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain}” but her breakthrough song was “Brand New Key.” It was number 1 on and the charts for weeks.

It was Melanie’s recording of her own song, “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?” that morphed into the New Seekers’ hit “Look What They’ve Done to My Song.”  In turn, it was used for Coca Cola’s most famous ad as “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” (which claims its own songwriters, weirdly.) The original was so enormous it was covered by everyone. Coke used it for years, and it was even featured in the finale of “Mad Men.” She co-wrote the song, which meant, hopefully, she made a fortune. (If she didn’t, her kids will now.)

Melanie wasn’t particularly ambitious, and left the business almost as soon as she arrived. She kept recording and releasing music to fans but Melanie was not stoking the star making machine.

Condolences to her family.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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