Vale Helen Reddy, 1941 - 2020

Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020

(photo credit: Craig Greenhill)

It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Helen Reddy, trailblazing singer, songwriter and artist. Through her beloved anthem ‘I Am Woman,’ Helen will always be remembered as a songwriter and performer who truly changed the cultural landscape.

 

The song, co-written with fellow Australian Ray Burton, topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, earned her a GRAMMY award — the first for an Australian song — and mobilised an entire generation of women to fight for change. In her Grammy acceptance speech, she famously said, "And I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible.“

Attributing the inspiration for I Am Woman’ to pioneer feminist and Australian rock critic, Lillian Roxon, Helen said she had been looking for songs to record which reflected the positive self-image she had gained from joining the women's movement but could not find any. She remarked, “I realised that the song I was looking for didn't exist, and I was going to have to write it myself. 

Originally from Melbourne, Helen bravely set out on an international career when she headed to US in the 70s. She would become the top-selling female vocalist in the world in that decade, with other Billboard number one singles including ‘Delta Dawn’ and ‘Angie Baby’ and 25 million albums sold. She entertained audiences ever since, whether it was in concert, at the theatre, in film or on TV - even as the host of her own US variety show on NBC.

Helen became an APRA member in 2003, following a move back to Australia.

“We are immensely proud to have called Helen Reddy an APRA member. She leaves an incredible legacy through her songs, and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family,” said APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston.

Helen passed away in Los Angeles after being diagnosed with dementia in recent years. She performed a very special version of ‘I Am Woman’ in 2017 for a crowd of 750,000 at the downtown LA March for Women. She is survived by children Traci and Jordan.


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