Helen Reddy, singer of feminist anthem 'I Am Woman', dies at 78

Brenda Watkins
September 30, 2020

"Everyone was very much in awe of her because of what she achieved".

Singer Helen Reddy poses at the 2015 G'Day USA Los Angeles Gala honoring actor Chris Hemsworth with an Excellence in Film Award, at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California January 31, 2015.

In 2006, Reddy published a memoir, "The Woman I Am".

"That was one of the reasons that I stopped singing, was when I was shown a modern American history high-school textbook, and a whole chapter on feminism and my name and my lyrics (were) in the book", she told the AP.

Since the first time he heard it, Wilkins says the song solidified Reddy's space as a musical and feminist powerhouse, and has spanned generations.

By the way, "I am Woman" was not an instant anthem, but gained popularity over time and eventually charted at #1. "It remains just as powerful and potent today with the ongoing fight for women's rights and equality", he says.

A performer as a child, Reddy moved to NY in 1966 after winning Bandstand but when that opportunity didn't pan out, she remained in the US.

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Armed with a one-way ticket to New York, Reddy was an " unlikely pop star", Wilkins says.

"In the Philippines, Reddy was known for her monster hits "I Can't Say Goodbye To You (1981)", "I Don't Know How To Love Him (1971)", and "(You and Me) Against The World (1974)".

"Every artist has a signature song, and that was hers", Wilkins says. She also performed the song at the ceremony. "And I thought, 'Well, I'm part of history now".

While accepting her Grammy in 1973, Reddy famously thanked "God, because she makes everything possible".

Radio and TV host Amanda Keller honoured Reddy in a touching tribute via Instagram, noting the singer was a big inspiration during her teenage years. She recorded several singles, which climbed the charts. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever": "Helen's family announced the news on Wednesday. She won a contest that brought her to the United States and launched her recording career, although she first had to overcome ideas about her sound.

After her retirement, Reddy returned to Australia and earned a degree in clinical hypnotherapy. Her subsequent music releases included Nineties albums Feel So Young on her own label, a show tune-focused Center Stage and in 2000 she dropped the holiday album, The Best Christmas Ever.

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