Township Voice • Thursday, February 17, 1994






Melanie is skating back on tour


By Elizabeth John Deal


Singer Melanie, who played at Woodstock and whose arguably best-known song is about roller skates, will be coming Feb. 19 to the Tin Angel folk club in Philadelphia

"I actually find my old records in garage sales or estate sales," says Melanie laughingly during a phone interview.

 The former Woodstock performer was talking about a song from her first U.S. album in nearly 10 years, Freedom Knows My Name. Toward the end of the first song, "Estate Sale"—a bouncy tune about going through dead peoples houses, Wonderful things they have collected"—there is a haunting refrain of her 1973, 3-million-selling hit "Brand New Key." "I thought it was just funny," says Melanie. "When I performed ('Estate Sale'), I thought I would hold up something old, like a pair of roller skates. It was a reminiscent thing." For those of you who are still muttering, "Melanie who?" let's rock and roll back the clock a little.

 After appearing at Woodstock in 1969, Melanie's 1970 album, Candles In The Rain, went platinum in just six months. That same year she was named Top Female Vocalist of the Year by Billboard, Cashbox, Record World, Melody Maker and Bravo. In addition to "Brand New Key" (which younger readers may remember as part of a Fisher Price toy promotion), her earlier hits include "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma" and "Ruby Tuesday, the latter an even bigger hit later for the Rolling Stones.


More recently Melanie won an Emmy for writing the lyrics to "The First Time I Loved Forever," for the television show "Beauty and the Beast." During the late 70s and through the 80s, Melanie says, musical tastes changed, so she took her act to Europe and made a living.

 "I just had a career and did music and never was out to be rich and famous," she says philosophically. "Being famous was not the purpose for what I did. For the fast 10 years, I never stopped working. I write. I still performed. I went to Europe, that's where my career started."

"I don't call it a comeback," she says of her return to the U.S. stage, "it's m

ore a public awareness.  Standards have come up to where they can have me again. It really does go in cycles: the (music) industry was very in control in the 8Os, an odd group of club owners and mega-record company conglomerates, and anyone from the Woodstock era was shunned. Places like the Main Point (in Bryn Mawr), turned into discos.


 "During the 60s we were fighting for something, and governments were afraid of that. And basically they won in the 80s. The artists had ... production value was everything. They stopped announcing who the artists were. It all sounded alike, effects overpowered the voices. Through layers and layers of effect, you couldn't really hear the person." When she chose the title for her new CD, she kept her 60s


 (See MELANIE page 12)


Back to Chronology
Back to Melanie