Thursday, March 01, 2007

Melanie Safka

Looking for the lyrics and the YouTube video for "Brand New Key" I learned several old favorites of mine were performed by the same artist, Melanie Safka. She was known simply as Melanie. I think I sense a vague, wishy washy recollection of her name in the recesses of my mind, but her songs are definitely branded in my brain.

"Look What They Done to my Song, Ma"
"Good-bye Ruby Tuesday"
"Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)"
"Brand New Key"

She quit a big record label because they wanted her to put out albums on a timed schedule. She wouldn't do it. Those were the days. Here is one of my favorite quotes from her:

"'Brand New Key' I wrote in about fifteen minutes one night. I thought it was cute; a kind of old thirties tune. I guess a key and a lock have always been Freudian symbols, and pretty obvious ones at that. There was no deep serious expression behind the song, but people read things into it. They made up incredible stories as to what the lyrics said and what the song meant. In some places, it was even banned from the radio."

"My idea about songs is that once you write them, you have very little say in their life afterward. It's a lot like having a baby. You conceive a song, deliver it, and then give it as good a start as you can. After that, it's on its own. People will take it any way they want to take it."

As a teenager, I thought 'Brand New Key' was kind of stupid. I didn't care for it. Even now, it's cute but I can take it or leave it. I always did like 'Ruby Tuesday' and of course everyone loved 'Look What They Done to my Song'. Even my husband remembers that one. 'Lay Down' is one of her best. She's magic with lyrics and tunes and presence.

In addition to all the music trivia sites she has a considerable web presence. She has an official site, a MySpace site, and a page a Wikipedia. She has three children and her youngest son is...a stone, cold fox.