Music

The (Kind Of) Complete Woodstock: Melanie Safka

The time was nearing eleven p.m. when twenty-two year old Melanie Safka, or Melanie, took the Woodstock stage.  A label mate of Bert Sommer’s over at Buddah, she was enjoying a little success in Europe with her single “Bobo’s Party,” but she was still a few years away from her biggest hit, “Brand New Key.”

Melanie may have been the sixth act on opening night’s card, but hers was the first solo female performance at Woodstock.  Her sound was period folky, perfect for an evening shared with Richie Havens, Tim Hardin, and Joan Baez. Songs like “Momma Momma” and “Beautiful People” captured the hippy zeitgeist, and Melanie’s reaching vibrato foreshadowed artists like Stevie Nicks.

She’s still out there performing occasional gigs, writing, and being generally awesome.  You can visit her here.

Here’s Melanie’s complete Woodstock set list along with where to find official releases of  her performance:

  1. Close To It All
  2. Momma Momma (Woodstock -40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm (CD)
  3. Beautiful People (Woodstock -40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm (CD)
  4. Animal Crackers
  5. Mr. Tambourine Man
  6. Tuning My Guitar
  7. Birthday of the Sun (Woodstock -40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm (CD)

Your official Woodstock soundtrack to date: 19

Next Week: Arlo Guthrie

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Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.

Here is Melanie‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:

1. John Morris – “One, two, three–light ’em up!”
2. CLOSE TO IT ALL
3. MOMMA MOMMA
4. BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
5. ANIMAL CRACKERS
6. MR. TAMBOURINE MAN
7. TUNING MY GUITAR
8. BIRTHDAY OF THE SUN
9. John Morris – “It’s a free concert from now on”

14 replies »

  1. Melanie is STILL AMAZING…she has an autobiographical play that will be performed in Rochester, NY (Blackfriars Theatre) in a few weeks. Check out their website for ticket info. MELANIE SAFKA RULES!!!

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  2. I loved Melanie even before she sang at Woodstock and I love what she does now. I will be flying in from Amsterdam, the Netherlandss to see the musical she will be playing in in Rochester, New York. Great that you wrote about her Woodstock performance and I reblogged!

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  3. I grew up listening to her version of Carolina in My Mind and that one about Alexander beetle…have got Carolina in the áll-time faves’ playlist….

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