She was always considered to be British by me, but in fact Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk was born in New York City in 1947. She had entertainment in her blood as she first sang in public at the age of four years old.
She got signed up by Buddha Records in 1969 where she had a hit with Bobos Party in France and Beautiful people in the Netherlands. She also had a hit with Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) which she sang at Woodstock and became a hit in several territories.
She left Buddha in 1971 and formed her own record company with her new husband Peter Schekeryk called the Neighborhood label. This gave her the ability to release Brand New Key from the album Gather me. The song went to No. 4 in the UK and No. 1 in the States, Canada and Australia. The song was about a girl roller skating trying to get the attention of a boy, but it also provoked problems. The song had sexual links in it which Melanie does not deny.
“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.”
Brand New Key was covered later in the 1970s by The Wurzels.
At the end of 1970 Melanie had a UK No. 9 hit with her version of the 1966 hit by the Rolling Stones. She also had a small hit wit Look What They Done To My Song Ma in 1971 in the UK, which was also covered by the New Seekers. In 1974 she had her last single top forty song in the UK charts with Will You Love Me Tomorrow a cover of the Shirelles 1960 hit.