We lost Melanie Safka last week.
Like many great musicians from the 1960s-1970s, she was an iconic musician whose work made an indelible mark on my consciousness. I loved her music, but it seemed like I’d never have an opportunity to see her perform in person. From what I can tell, she was either semi-retired and/or never did any shows on the West Coast*.
All of of this changed in August 2017. She came to Salinas, CA to play a fundraiser concert for “Dorothy’s Place,” which at the time was the only women’s shelter in Monterey County. I immediately bought a ticket, and then reached out to Melanie’s management to see if they would allow me to document this concert for posterity. Luckily, Melanie allowed me to do this and I was able to capture video of a rare concert performance of Melanie in Northern California. Melanie was able to see the assembled video of the full concert, but we never got around to sharing it publicly.
When Richard Berry was still alive, I had fantasized him singing “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma,” a Melanie song that I thought would be perfect for him, considering the context and history of Richard’s most famous song. In fact, I was hoping to make that idea and many other things happen when I moved closer to Richard in Los Angeles in 1997. Sadly, Richard passed away a few weeks before my scheduled plan to make the big move. (I lasted a year in L.A.)
While I was not able to get Richard to sing the suggested Melanie song, I was able to sweet-talk Melanie into singing a little bit of the famous Richard Berry song.
Melanie + LOUIE LOUIE?
This little clip has never been seen before and it goes without saying that it’s a super-rare performance that you likely won’t see anywhere else…
Thank you, Melanie!
* – i later discovered that Melanie had an active career in the last 20 years that I wasn’t aware of, including a catchy little song called “Psychotherapy” which received some serious airplay on Dr. Demento’s show. WOW!!
Melanie – Look What They Done To My Song, Ma (2017 Salinas)
MELANIE talks about “Look What They Done To My Song (Ma)”
Ray Charles “Look What They’ve Done To My Song” – Montreux Jazz Festival – 1991
Happy Hippie Presents: Miley Cyrus & Melanie Safka – Look What They’ve Done to My Song Ma
MELANIE – The challenge of women in a mostly male rock ‘n’ roll universe.
Melanie & The Edwin Hawkins Singers LIVE ’70 (Candles In The Rain)