30 September 2020 14:45
Helen Reddy, the Australian singer best known for her anthemic 1972 hit I Am Woman, has died at 78. Reddy had been diagnosed with dementia in 2015 and had been living in a Los Angeles nursing home for professional entertainers. A statement from Reddy's children, Traci and Jordan, was posted to her official fan page on Tuesday afternoon. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles," the statement said. Reddy might have once been famously called the "queen of housewife rock" by Alice Cooper, but her music captured the zeal of a generation of women radicalised by the sixties and a nascent second-wave feminist movement.
Reddy became a star despite pushback from record companies at the time, many of which believed there was little money to be made in music by women. In the early 70s, Reddy's songs dominated the Billboard charts. In 1972, she won a Grammy for best female pop vocal for I Am Woman, becoming the first Australian to do so. By the end of her career Reddy had 15 top 40 singles and three no. 1 hits, including her most popular, I Am Woman, and had sold more than 25m albums in the United States alone.
She was unsuccessful but undaunted, and decided to remain in the States and try to make a career as a singer, despite having very little money and few prospects. In 1968, she met her future music manager Jeff Wald at a party. The couple were married quickly, and Reddy decided to stay in the US. Reddy, Wald and Traci lived frugally until, after frequent lobbying, Wald managed to secure Reddy the opportunity to record a single at Capital Records. It was the intended B-side of that single, I Don't Know How To Love Him, from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, that kicked off Reddy's career, reaching no.
I Am Woman was released the following year, and by December had topped the charts, making Reddy the first Australian singer to have a number one hit in the United States. I Am Woman set off a chain of hits for the Reddy, including Delta Dawn, Angie Baby, Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) and You and Me Against the World. Reddy also developed a minor film and TV career, including roles in the thriller Airport 1975 (1974) and the family film, Pete's Dragon (1977). Later in life, she would cameo as herself on Family Guy. Reddy's music career had tapered off by the 1980s, but I Am Woman still reverberated around the industry, reappearing in film and TV soundtracks and as pop culture shorthand for feminist empowerment. In 2006, Reddy was inducted in to the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame. Reddy's former husband and manager Jeff Wald reflected in a piece for the Guardian in August this year on the attitudes of the record companies to Reddy's success. "The record executives said: 'How can you let your wife do that women's lib crap? It'll end her career!'" he said. His comments came as Reddy's life and career were immortalised in a feature film, I Am Woman, directed by Unjoo Moon and starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy. Moon paid tribute to Reddy in a statement on Tuesday, saying: "When I first met Helen Reddy she told me that I would be in her life for many years. What followed was an amazing seven-year friendship during which she entrusted me with telling her story in a film that celebrates her life, her talents and her amazing legacy. "I will forever be grateful to Helen for teaching me so much about being an artist, a woman and a mother. She paved the way for so many and the lyrics that she wrote for I Am Woman changed my life forever like they have done for so many other people and will continue to do for generations to come." Reddy is survived by her children, Traci and Jordan, and her sister Toni Lamond. (CNN) Helen Reddy, singer of the 70's feminist anthem "I Am Woman," died Tuesday, according to a statement on her Facebook fan page. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman," said a statement attributed to her children Traci and Jordan. The Australian singer was also known for "Delta Dawn" and "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady." "I Am Woman" was released in 1971, but didn't make it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 until December of the next year. Then, in 1973 Reddy won her first GRAMMY for the song, according to the Recording Academy GRAMMY Awards website. "I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible," Reddy said in her short acceptance speech. "Our hearts are broken," the statement from her children said. MUSIC fans around the world are mourning the death of singer Helen Reddy. But her legend lives on through her powerful song I Am Woman. 2 The late Helen Reddy will be remembered for her 70s song I Am Woman Credit: Getty Images - Getty What are the lyrics to Helen Reddy's I Am Woman? I am woman, hear me roar 'Cause I've heard it all before 'Cause it only serves to make me 'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul Yes, I've paid the price 2 Helen won a Grammy for I Am Woman in 1973 Credit: AP:Associated Press What is I Am Woman about? Released in May 1972, the song is about female empowerment and became an anthem for the feminist movement in the 70s. Helen's own long years on stage fuelled her contempt for men who belittled women and she wanted to write a song to inspire women. "It was demeaning and humiliating for any woman to have that happen publicly." MORE ON ENTERTAINMENT 'this don't wobble' Catherine Tyldesley hits back at troll who said she has 'big fat legs' FOOTIE WARS Holly Willoughby reveals football rivalry at home with rare pic of son Chester SCHER LOOKS GOOD Nicole Scherzinger cuddles up to Thom Evans amid pregnancy rumours get them outta here! I'm A Celebrity under threat as Wales is hit by new lockdown rules humble abode Inside Corrie's Jennie McAlpine's home with huge patio and open plan kitchen GRANBIA Viewers shocked as sex tourist grannies prey on young Gambian men in C4 documentary How successful was I Am Woman? The huge was a massive hit for Helen. It was a number-one hit in the US, eventually selling over one million copies. The song also won a coveted Grammy in 1973. Australian music legend Helen Reddy has sadly passed away today in Los Angeles. She was 78 years old. Reddy's children, Traci and Jordan, confirmed the news via a statement on the 'Helen Reddy Official Fan Page' on Facebook. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles," they wrote. "She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Statement from Traci and JordanIt is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen… Posted by Helen Reddy Official Fan Page on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 Longtime friend and operator of her fan club, Jim Keaton, also released a statement on the same Facebook page. "Quiet Please, There is a Lady Leaving the Stage," he wrote, before sharing anecdotes denoting Reddy's love of her children. "Helen was as proud of Traci and Jordan as any mother could ever be of their children," Keaton wrote. "I am so very thankful to Traci and Jordan for sharing their mother with me," he continued. "And to Helen for adding more to my life than I can ever explain or describe. That, in itself, is a rare and precious gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life." Read Keaton's full statement below: The trailblazing artist and feminist icon, most famous for her 1972 hit 'I Am Woman', was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 and moved into the Motion Picture and Television Fund's Samuel Goldwyn Center, a nursing home for retired talent in Los Angeles. Also famous for other hits like 'Delta Dawn', 'Leave Me Alone (Red Ruby Dress)' and 'You and Me Against the World', Reddy's life was immortalised last year in a biopic titled I Am Woman, directed by Unjoo Moon and starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey. The biopic, which became available to watch in Australia on Stan earlier this year, marked notable moments in Reddy's long career, including her famous GRAMMYs acceptance speech, where she thanked God "because she makes everything possible".