One of the best musicians from the late 60s/70s was the underrated Melanie Safka. She performed at the legendary Woodstock 1969 and was the first female artist to have three singles reach the Top 40.
Melanie Safka covered some classic artists of her time such as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, putting in her own unique sound and making it even better. “Ruby Tuesday,” I believe was meant to be sung by a woman. She took “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and added some spunky female pizzazz, making it stronger and more powerful.
As a talented song-writer, she wrote some extraordinary masterpieces. She is best known for her song “Brand New Key,” which she wrote by herself in about fifteen minutes. The song is cute, catchy, and carries a nostalgic 1930’s vibe to it. “For somebody who don’t drive, I’ve been all around the world // Some people say I’ve done alright for a girl.”
Yet she wrote more than just bops. Melanie Safka was ultimate hippie-inspiration, as she used her platform to make political statements and voice her unpopular opinions. She has always been a big believer in peace, individual rights, animal rights, environmentalism, equality, and feminism. Melanie labels herself as a libertarian and dissociates herself from both the democratic and republican parties.
“What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?” is another big hit of hers. The song is about the corruption of the world, how innocence is twisted and exploited into profit. “Well if the people are buying tears, then we’ll be rich someday, Ma.”
“I Don’t Eat Animals” is not only political but also somewhat humorous. “I don’t eat white flour, white sugar makes you rot // Oh white could be beautiful, but often, it’s not,” she sings as you can hear laughter from the crowd in the live-recorded version. Melanie sings about being vegetarian — very straightforward. “I don’t eat animals, I want nothing dead in me.”
“Peace Will Come (According to Plan)” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” are also favorites of mine. They promote peace and encourage hope.
Melanie Safka is one-of-a-kind and deserves to be remembered and celebrated long after her time. Her positive impact on the world through music exceeds any other male artist.