‘I Am Woman’ singer Helen Reddy, 70s hitmaker, dies at 78

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LOS ANGELES – Helen Reddy, who rose to fame in the 1970s with her uplifting feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits, has passed away. She was 78 years old. Reddy’s children, Traci and Jordan, announced that the actor-singer died in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a really great woman,” they said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in knowing that his voice will live on forever. ”

Reddy’s 1971 version of “I Don’t Know How to Love It” from the “Jesus Christ Superstar” musical kicked off a decade-long streak of Top 40 hits, three of which reached No.

The Australian-born singer has enjoyed a prolific career, appearing in “Airport 1975” as a singer nun and scoring several hits including “Ain’t No Way To Treat a Lady”, “Delta Dawn”, “Angie Baby” and “You and me against the world. ”

In 1973, she won the Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Pop Performance for “I Am Woman,” quickly thanking her then-husband and the others in his acceptance speech.

“I only have 10 seconds so I would like to thank everyone from Sony Capitol Records, I would like to think of Jeff Wald because he makes my success possible and I would like to thank God because she makes everything possible”, a Reddy said, hoisting her Grammy up in the air and leaving the stage to loud applause. She also performed the song at the ceremony.

“I Am Woman” would become her biggest hit, used in films and television series.

In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Reddy cited the massive success of “I Am Woman” as one of the reasons she left public life.

“That’s one of the reasons I quit singing was when I was shown a modern American high school history textbook, and an entire chapter on feminism and my name and my lyrics. (were) in the book, ”she told the AP. “And I was like, ‘Well, I’m part of the story now. And how can I overcome this? I can’t get past that. ‘ So, it was an easy withdrawal. ”

Reddy’s death comes less than three weeks after the release of a biopic on his life titled “I Am Woman.”

Film director Unjoo Moon said the film resulted in a seven-year friendship with Reddy.

“I will be forever grateful to Helen for teaching me so much about being an artist, a wife and a mother,” she said in a statement. “She paved the way for so many people and the lyrics she wrote for ‘I am Woman’ changed my life forever, as they have for so many other people and will continue to do for them. generations to come. She will always be a part of me and I will miss her dearly. ”

An artist since childhood, Reddy was part of a show business family in Melbourne. She won a competition that brought her to the United States and launched her recording career, although she first had to overcome ideas about her sound.

“When I started in Australia, I was considered more of a jazz singer,” she told the AP in 1991. “When I won the competition that brought me to this country, a nobody said, “The judges didn’t think you could have a recording career because you don’t have commercial sound.

Reddy retired from performing in the 1990s and returned to Australia, graduating in clinical hypnotherapy.

She then returned to California, where in the 1970s she served on a statewide parks and recreation commission, and returned on stage on occasion.

In 2017, she performed “I Am Woman” at a Women’s March in Los Angeles, alongside actor Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis said it was “the honor of my life” to introduce Reddy to the event.

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