Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Helen Reddy, 'I Am Woman' Singer and Feminist Icon, Dies at 78

When I chose Helen Reddy for yesterday's song of the day I had no idea she was even ill. So you can imagine my surprise when I read that she died that same day.

Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers, confirmed her death in a statement on Reddy's official Facebook page on Wednesday morning Down Under. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles," they wrote.

"She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever." Earlier, Sommers posted a picture with his mother captioned with three purple hearts.

The Sydney Morning Herald writes that the Melbourne-born Reddy, whose trailblazing life was dramatised in the recent bio-pic "I Am Woman," was regarded as the queen of 1970s pop with her hits including "Delta Dawn," "Angie Baby," "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)" and "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady." After arriving in New York as a 24-year-old single mother of a 3-year-old with just over $200 to her name, she overcame years of struggle to become the world's top-selling female singer in 1973 and 1974. She won a Grammy for "I Am Woman," had her own weekly prime-time television variety show and branched into an acting career on screen and stage that included a Golden Globe nomination for "Airport 1975." 

The stirring anthem that became her best-known hit turned her into a feminist icon. Accepting her Grammy -- the first Australian woman after opera singer Joan Sutherland to win one -- she famously thanked "God, because She makes everything possible."


"Angie Baby" was my favorite -- and here are a few of her other classics:

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