“I Am Woman” singer & feminist icon Helen Reddy, RIP
We're sad to learn that Australian-American singer, activist, actress, and feminist icon Helen Reddy has passed away at age 78. Rolling Stone reports:
Helen Reddy, the Australian singer whose early Seventies song “I Am Woman” has served as an empowering feminist anthem for several generations, has died. Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers, confirmed the news via her official Facebook page on Tuesday. She was 78.
“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 in the statement. “She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.”
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Reddy grew up in a show-biz family with actor parents. She performed as a child and later won a singing contest that brought her to New York to audition for a record contract. Though that situation did not materialize, she chose to remain in the U.S. and signed to Capitol Records. She recorded several singles, which climbed the charts.
In the Seventies, several of her songs made the Top 40, with three hitting Number One, including her enduring hit “I Am Woman.” The song earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Her other Number One bowing hits, include her rendition of Alex Harvey’s “Delta Dawn” and Alan O’Day’s “Angie Baby.” In 1974, she garnered a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In recent years, Reddy had a resurgence, as she performed "I Am Woman" with Jamie Lee Curtis at the 2017 Women's March in Los Angeles, following the inauguration of Donald Trump. She was also subject of the recently released biopic I Am Woman, which you can rent or buy to stream online.
Rest in peace, Helen. We'll miss you.
Watch her perform "I Am Woman" in 1971 and at the 2017 LA Women's March, along with '70s-era performances of a few of her other hits, below...