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Helen Reddy (born October 25, 1941) is an Australian/Americanmarker singer-songwriter and actress. She has won a Grammy Award, appeared on Broadwaymarker and feature films, and been credited with writing and singing one of the most iconic and culturally significant songs of the 1970s, "I Am Woman".

Reddy became one of the world's most successful female singers of the 1970s music scene. Reddy scored many certified gold hit records including three #1 singles and fifteen Top 40 pop singles on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. She has sold more than 15 million albums and 10 million singles worldwide. Selling a total of 25 million records worldwide. She also became the first Australian to have a #1 single in the United States, win a Grammy Award, and host her own variety show on United States television. Born and raised in Australia, Reddy became a naturalized United States citizen in 1974. In 2002, she retired from performing concerts and recording and now resides in Sydney, Australiamarker.

She was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2006.

Early years

Reddy was born into a well-known Australian show business family in Melbournemarker, Victoriamarker. Her mother, Stella (née Lamond), was an actress, and her father, Max Reddy, was a writer, producer, and actor. Her parents performed on the Australian vaudeville circuit. Her half-sister, Toni Lamond, and her nephew, Tony Sheldon, are actor-singers. Reddy is Jewish and of part Irish ancestry. She attended Tintern Girls Grammar Schoolmarker.

Reddy began performing on stage with her parents at four years of age. In her late teens she was briefly married to an older musician, with whom she had a daughter, Traci, but they divorced soon afterwards. After beginning her career in radio and television in Australia, she won a talent contest on the Australian pop music TV show Bandstand which enabled her to move to the United States in 1966. Settling initially in New Yorkmarker, she met Jeff Wald, then an agent with the William Morris Agency; after living together for only four days, she and Wald married; he subsequently became her manager.

After a stint in Chicagomarker, the family moved to Los Angeles, Californiamarker, where Reddy tried to establish herself as a recording artist. Twenty-seven labels rejected her before she was finally signed to a contract with Capitol Recordsmarker in 1970.

The "I am Woman" era and stardom

After years of trying to get her name out, Helen Reddy's first Top 40 U.S. hit (1971) was a cover of "I Don't Know How To Love Him" (from Jesus Christ Superstar). After it reached #13 in mid-1971, the music industry and record buying public began to take notice.

In 1972, Reddy co-wrote, with Australian musician Ray Burton, the song "I Am Woman", which became a worldwide feminist anthem, worldwide hit, and her first U.S #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Reddy has attributed the impetus for writing "I Am Woman" and her early awareness of the women's movement to expatriate Australian rock critic and pioneer feminist Lillian Roxon. Reddy is quoted in Fred Bronson's The Billboard Book of Number One Hits as saying that she was looking for songs to record which reflected the positive self-image she had gained from joining the women's movement, but couldn't find any, so "I realized that the song I was looking for didn't exist, and I was going to have to write it myself." The single actually barely dented the charts on its initial release in the summer of 1972, but it wasn't long before female listeners adopted the song as an anthem and began requesting it from their local radio stations in droves, spurring it on to re-enter the charts in September and become a hit. "I Am Woman" earned a Grammy Award for Female Pop Vocal Performance and at the awards ceremony she concluded her acceptance speech by famously thanking God "because She makes everything possible".

Over the next five years, she had more than a dozen other U.S. Top 40 hits including two more #1 hits. These included the Alex Harvey country ballad "Delta Dawn" (#1, 1973), "Leave Me Alone " (#3), "Keep on Singing" (#15, 1974), "You and Me Against the World" (written by Paul Williams and featuring daughter Traci reciting the spoken bookends) (#9), "Emotion" (an English version of the Frenchmarker tune "Amoureuse"), "Peaceful" (#12), "Angie Baby" (#1), "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady" (#8, 1975), Richard Kerr-Will Jennings-penned "Somewhere in the Night" (#19; later a bigger hit for Barry Manilow), and the Carole King-Gerry Goffin song "I Can't Hear You No More" (1976). Her last Top 20 record was a 1977 revival of Cilla Black's 1964 hit "You're My World", co-produced by Kim Fowley. Reddy's final chart record was "I Can't Say Goodbye To You" in 1981. She was most successful on the Adult Contemporary charts, scoring seven #1 hits there over a three-year span, from "Delta Dawn" to "I Can't Hear You No More."

At the height of her fame in the late 1970s, Helen Reddy was a headliner, with a full chorus of backup singers and dancers to standing-room-only crowds on The Stripmarker in Las Vegasmarker. Reddy's opening acts were the then up and coming Barry Manilow, and Joan Rivers. In 1976, Reddy covered the Beatles song "The Fool on the Hill" for the musical documentary All This and World War II.

Reddy was also instrumental in furthering the career of Olivia Newton-John; she encouraged her friend to move from Britainmarker to the United States in the early 1970s, and Newton-John won the starring role in the hit film version of the musical Grease after a chance meeting with the film's producer, Allan Carr, at a party at Reddy's house.

Behind the hits

Both Bette Midler and Tanya Tucker recorded their own versions of "Delta Dawn" just before Reddy recorded hers. Once Tucker's version became a Top 10 hit on the country charts, Barbra Streisand's producer Tom Catalano decided that Streisand could have a pop hit with it, so he had an instrumental backing track recorded. Fortunately for Reddy, Streisand disliked the song and refused to record it, so United Artists song promoter Wally Schuster called Jeff Wald and offered the song, and the completed backing track, to Reddy, who put her own vocal on it.

Reddy's version of "Delta Dawn" was released in the summer of 1973, just two days ahead Midler's version, but disc jockeys preferred Reddy's rendition and it eventually went to #1 on the U.S. charts and was a hit in several other countries, including Australia.

She was equally fortunate with "Angie Baby" (written by Alan O'Day); it was first offered to Cher, who turned it down, so it was then offered to Reddy, who snapped it up, and it became her third U.S. #1 single (Cher was similarly unlucky with the song "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"; after husband Sonny Bono turned it down, it was recorded by Vicki Lawrence, who scored a #1 hit with it in 1973). The cryptic lyrics of "Angie Baby" have inspired a number of listener theories as to what the song is really about, but Reddy has refused to comment on its true storyline, partly because she has said she enjoys hearing other listeners' interpretations. Reddy has also said that "Angie Baby" was the one song she never had to push radio stations into playing.

Film, theatre and television

Reddy has lent her acting and singing talents to many stage, movie and television productions.

Her film career includes roles in Airport 1975 and Walt Disney's Pete's Dragon (in which she sang "Candle on the Water," which has become one of her best-known songs despite only charting on the A/C charts).

Reddy appeared as a guest on numerous television specials and variety shows, and a guest star on episodes of numerous television series, including Love Boat, Fantasy Island, BeastMaster and others.

Reddy was a host and performer, between 1973 and 1975, on some episodes of the late-night variety television show The Midnight Special. She also hosted her own variety television program, The Helen Reddy Show, in the summer of 1973.

In 2007, Reddy had a voice cameo as herself in the Family Guy television show's Star Wars parody "Blue Harvest". She played a 'red' themed ('Red'-dy) member of the Red Squadron alongside Red Five (Chris Griffin), Red Buttons, Redd Foxx, Big Red, Red October, Simply Red and others.

Reddy's stage credits include performances in Anything Goes, Call Me Madam, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and works by British playwright Willy Russell. Reddy appeared both on Broadway and in the West End of London in the musical Blood Brothers, and in four productions of Shirley Valentine.

Notable stage roles include:
  • Shirley Valentine - as "Shirley"
    • Stage West, Canadamarker (June, 1997)
    • 12 U.S. City Tour (February - April 1996)
    • Theatre by the Sea, R.I. (1995)

  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood - as "Edwin Drood/Miss Alice Nutting"
    • Sacramento Music Circus (July, 1988)

  • Call Me Madam - as "Mrs. Sally Adams"
    • Sacramento Music Circus (August, 1986)

  • Anything Goes - as "Reno Sweeney"
    • Long Beach Civic Light Opera (July, 1987)
    • Sacramento Music Circus (July, 1985)

Personal life

Community involvement

Active in community affairs, Reddy served as the state of California's Parks and Recreation commissioner for three years. In 2002, she retired from performing and moved from Santa Monica, Californiamarker, to Norfolk Islandmarker.

Reddy published an autobiography, The Woman I Am, and appeared on the Today show in 2006. She was also added to the ARIA Hall Of Fame, with a tribute performance by Vanessa Amorosi of "I Am Woman" at the ceremony. Reddy suffers from Addison's disease, a failure of the adrenal glands, which requires constant treatment.

Helen Reddy in early 2007 with students at a Women's Leadership conference in Sydney.
Reddy has retired from performing concerts around the world, and is now a practicing Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Sydneymarker and is Patron of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists.


Reddy has been married and divorced three times, and has two children.

? (? - ?) Child: Traci

Jeff Wald (25 May 1968 - January 1983) Child: Jordan

Milton Ruth (29 June 1983 - 1995)


Studio albums

Year Album US RIAA Label
1970 I Don't Know How to Love Him 100 Gold Capitol
Helen Reddy 167
1972 I Am Woman 14 Platinum
1973 Long Hard Climb 8 Gold
1974 Love Song for Jeffrey 11 Gold
Free and Easy 8 Gold
1975 No Way to Treat a Lady 11 Gold
1976 Music, Music 16 Gold
1977 Ear Candy 75
1978 We'll Sing in the Sunshine
1979 Reddy
1980 Take What You Find
1981 Play Me Out MCA
1983 Imagination
1998 Center Stage Varese Sarabande

Compilation & live albums

Year Album US RIAA Label
1975 Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits (and more) 5 2× Multi-Platinum Capitol
1978 Live in London
1990 Feel So Young Helen Reddy Inc.
2000 The Best Christmas Ever EMI / Capitol
2006 The Woman I Am: The Definitive Collection
Come with Me: The Rest of Helen Reddy Helen Reddy Inc.


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Hot 100 US AC UK
1971 "I Don't Know How to Love Him" 13 12 I Don't Know How to Love Him
"Crazy Love" 51 8
"No Sad Song" 62 Helen Reddy
1972 "I Am Woman"[A] 1 2 I Am Woman
1973 "Peaceful" 12 2
"Delta Dawn"[A] 1 1 Long Hard Climb
"Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)"[A] 3 1
1974 "Keep on Singing" 15 1 Love Song for Jeffrey
"You and Me Against the World" 9 1
"Angie Baby"[A] 1 1 5 Free and Easy
1975 "Emotion" 22 1
"Bluebird" 35 5 No Way to Treat a Lady
"Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady" 8 1
"Somewhere in the Night" 19 2
1976 "I Can't Hear You No More" 29 1 Music, Music
"Music Is My Life" 29 flip
1977 "You're My World" 18 5 Ear Candy
"The Happy Girls" 57
"Candle on the Water" 27 Pete's Dragon soundtrack
1978 "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" 12 We'll Sing in the Sunshine
"Ready or Not" 73
1979 "Make Love to Me" 60 Reddy
1981 "I Can't Say Goodbye to You" 88 43 Play Me Out

  • A^ Certified Gold by the RIAA.

Music Videos


  • The Woman I Am (2006) ISBN 1-58542-489-7

See also


  1. Talking Heads - Helen Reddy
  2. Helen Reddy Biography (1942-)
  3. - "Although Helen Reddy is Jewish, she has just released an album titled "The Best Christmas Ever." When an Internet interviewer cocked an eyebrow, Reddy said she had stuck to her religious beliefs by making sure that no song mentioned Jesus Christ."
  4. Addison's Awareness Week 7th – 11th May 2007

External links

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