Singer Helen Reddy, whose ‘I Am Woman’ became feminist anthem, dead at 78


FILE – In this Jan. 31, 2015, file photo, Australian-born singer Helen Reddy attends the 2015 G’DAY USA GALA at the Hollywood Palladium, in Los Angeles. Reddy, who shot to stardom in the 1970s with her feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits, has died at age 78. Reddy’s children Traci and Jordan announced that the actress-singer died Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rob Latour/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES, California (KETK) – Australian-born singer Helen Reddy, whose 1972 song “I Am Woman” became a feminist anthem, has died in Los Angeles.

Reddy was 78.

Her death was confirmed by her family in a Facebook post.

FILE – In this Oct. 27, 1977, file photo, Ms. Helen Reddy, composer-singer of what has become a marching song for Women’s lib, tells of mail she gets from housewives, who say the best-selling record — “I Am Woman”–bucks them up. Reddy, the Australian-born singer who scored an enduring hit with her feminist anthem “I Am Woman,” has died at 78 in Los Angeles. Reddy’s children announced their mother’s death Tuesday evening, Sept. 29, 2020, saying that while they are heartbroken, they “take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.” (AP Photo/ilr, File)

“I Am Woman” went to No. 1 on the Billboard chart at the end of 1972, six months after it was actually released, due largely to call-in radio requests that helped build radio play. The song earned her a Grammy Award for best female pop vocal performance and made her the first Australian-born artist to win a Grammy and the first to make the Billboard top 100 record charts.

At the 1973 Grammys, accepting her pop female vocalist award, Reddy further cemented her status as a symbol of the women’s liberation movement when she thanked “God because She makes everything possible.”

She had further hits with “Delta Dawn” and “Angie Baby” in 1973 and 1974. Her other top 10 hits in the U.S. included “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress),” “You and Me Against the World” and “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.”

She last topped the American chart with 1976’s “I Can’t Hear You No More.”

Reddy also briefly had a variety TV show and appeared in such movies as Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” and the disaster classic “Airport ’75.”

She was born Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy on October 25, 1941, in Melbourne, Australia. She began singing at age 4 when she joined her parents on the Australian vaudeville circuit.

She came to America in 1966 after winning a contest sponsored by the Australian pop music show “Bandstand.”

Her career first began to take off in 1971 with her cover of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

With “I Am Woman,” she became a staple of television variety and talk shows of the time.

She became an American citizen in 1974.

She published a memoir, “The Woman I Am,” in 2006. In 2019, her life story was turned into the feature film, “I Am Woman.”

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