Melanie is without a doubt of the greatest female singers of all time. She began her career in the mid sixties. She first started her journey to success and a 60's icon in Europe in the late sixties. Her first major success came on the album Born to Be from her song "Bobo's Party." She had recorded under the Buddah and Kama Sutra Records label. It lasted nine weeks on the French charts. Though Melanie herself never gained much popularity in England during that time, an English group the New Seekers adopted her songs with an intense passion, releasing three of her songs as singles "Look What They've Done to my Song Ma", "Beautiful People", and "The Nickel Song." These three came from her hit album Candles in the Rain. Melanie herself finally broke into British charts with her remake of "Ruby Tuesday" in 1970. This success coupled with the widespread love of remakes of her songs made her the World's Top Female Singer in a 1972 United Kingdom poll.
Of course no singer could have been considered successful at that time who hadn't been at Woodstock. At the time of the festival, she was known in the US by only one song, an FM radio hit in the Midwest "Beautiful People." However, her superior connections in the music industry, namely Micheal Lang, a Woodstock promoter. opened her a spot during the three day music festival. It is said that during her stay she shared a motel room with Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. Though is is highly implausible and irrelevant, it's worth noting nonetheless.
Later in her life she conveyed the story of her Woodstock experience to Bruce Pollock author of In Their Own Words: Songs and Songwriters. After having had spent most of the day in a tent alone, she began to devolp a hacking cough and a sore throat. That evening as the rain and night simultaneously fell upon the festival, she was told it was her turn to perform. Melanie recalls: "At that point I had an out-of-body experience. I was watching my body walk out onto this gangplank...to the death. It was the strangest experience because I really wasn't there for most of it."
During her set the Hog Farm people were passing out candles, matches, and lighters. Melanie recalled as she saw the hillside light up with tiny flames, it was like a sign from the people that everything was all right again, and that was when she joined up with her body again. Her experiences that night would inspire in her the song that she would be most remembered by: "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)."
"I'm so glad I got to live through that time," Melanie reflects. "I thought I was the only person who was unusual. I read Siddhartha and Kahil Gibran, and I thought I was the only person even slightly interested in those things. It turns out there were other individuals all over the planet who were like me. It was like a spontaneous awakening. We were all waking up at once."