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Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy.jpg
Helen Reddy in concert, 1974
Background information
Born (1941-10-25)25 October 1941
Melbourne, Australia
Died 29 September 2020(2020-09-29) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Pop, Adult Contemporary, Easy Listening
Occupation(s) Singer, actress
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1970–2002, 2011
Labels Fontana Records Capitol
MCA
Helen Reddy Inc.
Associated acts Olivia Newton-John

Helen Maxine Reddy (25 October 1941 – 29 September 2020) was an Australian singer, actress, and activist who held dual Australian and American citizenship.

Her song "I Am Woman" played a significant role in popular culture, becoming an anthem for second-wave feminism. She came to be known as a "feminist poster girl" or a "feminist icon". In 2011, Billboard named her the No. 28 adult contemporary artist of all time (No. 9 woman). In 2013, the Chicago Tribune dubbed her as the "Queen of '70s Pop".

Early years

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, to a show-business family, Reddy started her career as an entertainer at age four.

She sang on radio and television, and won a talent contest on a television program, Bandstand, in 1966; her prize was a ticket to New York City and a record audition, which turned out to be unsuccessful.

Career

Helen Reddy 1975
Helen Reddy, 1975

She pursued her international singing career by moving to Chicago and, subsequently, Los Angeles, where she made her debut singles "One Way Ticket" and "I Believe in Music" in 1968 and 1970, respectively. The B-side of the latter single, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" reached No. 8 in Canadian pop chart RPM and she was signed to Capitol Records a year later.

During the 1970s, she enjoyed international success, especially in the United States where she placed 15 singles on the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six made the Top 10 and three reached No. 1, including her signature hit "I Am Woman".

She placed 25 songs on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart; 15 made the Top 10 and eight reached No. 1, six consecutively.

In 1974, at the inaugural American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.

On television, she was the first Australian to host a one-hour weekly primetime variety show on an American network, along with specials that were seen in more than 40 countries.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, as her single "I Can't Say Goodbye to You" became her last to chart in the US, she acted in musicals and recorded albums such as Center Stage before retiring from live performance in 2002.

She returned to university in Australia and earned her degree, and practised as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker. In 2011, after singing "Breezin' Along with the Breeze" with her half-sister, Toni Lamond, for Lamond's birthday, Reddy decided to return to live performing.

Personal life

Political service, citizenship

Reddy became a naturalised American citizen in 1974. She resumed her Australian citizenship when the subsequent opportunity to maintain dual American–Australian citizenship became available.

Reddy was active in community affairs:

Family

Helen Reddy and Jeff Wald (1976-03-27)(Gerald Ford Library) (cropped)
Reddy and Wald with Betty Ford in 1976

At age 20, Helen married Kenneth Claude Weate. The couple separated not long after the birth of their daughter, Traci.

In 1968, she married Jeff Wald, a native of The Bronx. She converted to Judaism before marrying Wald, with whom she had a son, Jordan, born in 1972.

Reddy and Wald had divorced in January 1983.

In June 1983, she married Milton Ruth, a drummer in her band; the couple divorced in 1995.

Death

Reddy died on 29 September 2020 in Los Angeles, aged 78. She suffered from Addison’s disease and dementia in her later years.

Portrayals

A biographical film about Reddy titled I Am Woman was released in 2019, in which Reddy is played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey.

Albums

Date of Release
Month/ Year
Album title Billboard
peak
RIAA
certification
Label
07/ 1971 I Don't Know How to Love Him 100 Gold Capitol
11/ 1971 Helen Reddy 167 --
11/ 1972 I am Woman 14 Platinum
08/ 1973 Long Hard Climb 8 Gold
04/ 1974 Love Song for Jeffrey 11 Gold
10/ 1974 Free and Easy1 8 Gold
07/ 1975 No Way to Treat a Lady2 11 Gold
12/ 1976 Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits3 5 2xPlatinum
08/ 1976 Music, Music 16 Gold
04/ 1977 Ear Candy 75 --
07/ 1978 We'll Sing in the Sunshine -- --
01/ 1979 Live in London -- --
07/ 1979 Reddy -- --
05/ 1980 Take What You Find -- --
10/ 1981 Play Me Out -- -- MCA
03/ 1983 Imagination -- --
?/ 1990 Feel So Young -- -- Helen Reddy Inc.
09/ 1998 Center Stage -- -- Varèse
07/ 2000 The Best Christmas Ever -- -- EMI/Capitol
?/ 2006 The Woman I Am: the Definitive Collection -- --
1#16 (New Zealand), #17 (UK)
2#13 (New Zealand)
3#1 (New Zealand), The Best of Helen Reddy #5 (UK)u

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