Feminist Icon Helen Reddy Passes Away at 78
The children of Australian-American singer/songwriter Helen Reddy, 78, announced their mother passed away on Sept. 29, 2020. Her iconic song “I Am Woman,” inspired feminists with powerful lyrics that soon became the movement’s anthem.
She encouraged women and girls to raise their voices and make themselves heard. The first stanza of “I Am Woman” says everything a budding feminist needs for encouragement:
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again.
The single found on her debut album “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” released in May 1971, earned Reddy a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Other songs that hit the top 40 include; her version of Alex Harvey’s “Delta Dawn” and Alan O’Day’s “Angie Baby.” Reddy was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1974. She hosted her own “The Helen Reddy Show” and performed on “The Carol Burnett Show” and “The Muppet Show.”
Her performance in “Pete’s Dragon” along with the song in the film “Candle on the Water” garnered her an Oscar nomination for Best Song.
Reddy retired in 2002. A decade later she appeared “in a couple of one-off performances,” according to Rolling Stone. During the 2017 Women’s March, she sang “I Am Woman” a cappella with Jamie Lee Curtis and other vocalists.
IMDb describes the 2019 biopic film “I Am Woman” as “the story of 1970s musician and activist Helen Reddy.” Tilda Cobham-Hervey portraying Reddy can be seen on popular streaming services.
Her children Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers posted her death notification on Facebook. Reddy was an extraordinary mother and grandmom. They said they were heartbroken but felt comfort knowing she would live forever through her music.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Rolling Stone: Helen Reddy, ‘I Am Woman’ Singer and Activist, Dead at 78; Althea Legaspi
Rolling Stone: Feminist Singer Helen Reddy Gets Her Own Biopic With ‘I Am Woman’ Trailer; Claire Shaffer
Lyric Find: I Am Woman
Featured Image by Brett White Courtesy of City of West Hollywood’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of elaine’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License