Feminist icon Helen Reddy dies aged 78

Helen Reddy, the Australian singer whose anthem I Am Woman captured the energy of 1970’s feminism, has died aged 78.

Reddy’s family announced that she passed away in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Her children Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers said 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.”

Reddy has a series of hits in the 1970’s including a recording of I Don’t Know How to Love Him from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Delta Dawn and Crazy Love, but all of these were dwarfed by I Am Woman which inspired a generation of women with it’s lyrics declaring “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.”

A top selling artist in the mid 1970’s she generated controversy in the 1973 when she collected the Grammy award for best female vocalist and famously thanked “God because she makes everything possible.”

Reddy retired from live performance in 2002 and had a major career change. She headed to university and studied psychology and went on to work as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker. She returned to singing in 2011. Speaking to OUTinPerth she explained that she decided to get back into singing after singing a song at her half-sister Toni Lamond’s 80th birthday party.

“She asked if I’d sing a duet with her, and you can’t say no to your sister on her birthday. I heard my voice on the monitors for the first time in ten years and I thought ‘That sounds alright.’” Reddy revealed that the tune that pulled her out of retirement was Breezin’ Along With the Breeze, a tune from the 1920s.

The singer’s life was recently depicted in the film I Am Woman which currently streaming on Stan.

OIP Staff

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