Despite writing mild-mannered hits such as "Beautiful People," "Lay Down/Candles in the Rain" and "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma," Melanie fancied herself a rebel. "I didn't think I wanted to be famous," she says. "I thought I wanted to join the Peace Corps." Even her 1968 marriage to album producer Peter Schekeryk was unassuming. "My record company wanted us to do this big hippie wedding in Central Park," she says. "Instead, we went to Yonkers, had a pizza in the limo and headed for Paris." Now married 28 years and living in Clearwater, Fla., she tours and records in the U.S. and Europe, sometimes with her three favorite backup singers: her children Leilah, 22, Jeordie, 21, and Beau Jarred, 15. "Going to Europe and seeing all these 15-year-olds scream my mom's name," says Leilah, "that was really wild." Melanie couldn't agree more. "They thought I only had old fans," she says. "When they started seeing 15-to 25-year-olds in the crowd, they said, 'Can we open for you?' "
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