Australian singer Helen Reddy dead at 78


Australian singer Helen Reddy, who became a world superstar on the back of her hit I Am Woman, has died in Los Angeles at age 78

Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers, confirmed her death in a statement on Reddy’s official Facebook page on Wednesday morning

« It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, » they wrote

« She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a truly wonderful woman Our hearts are broken But we take comfort in knowing that her voice will live on forever »

Melbourne-born Reddy, whose pioneering life was dramatized in the recent I Am Woman biography, was considered the 1970s queen of pop with her hits such as Delta Dawn, Angie Baby, Leave Me Alone ( Ruby Red Dress) And there is no way to treat a lady

After arriving in New York City as a 24-year-old single mom and three-year-old mother with just over $ 200 to her name, she overcame years of struggling in the United States to become the top singer. best-selling in the world in 1973 and 1974

She won a Grammy for I Am Woman, had her own weekly prime-time variety show, and embarked on a career as an actress on screen and on stage that included a Golden nomination. Globe for Airport 1975

On accepting her Grammy – the first Australian after opera singer Joan Sutherland to win one – she thanked « God, because she makes everything possible »

Reddy was born into a show business family in 1941 and started performing as a child In 1966, she won a singing competition on the TV show Bandstand to travel to New York and audition for a recording contract When this opportunity disappeared upon arriving, it remained in the United States

After marrying Jeff Wald, who was his manager, Reddy’s recording career began with the B-side of his second single – a cover of I Don’t Know How To Love Him from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar – becoming a moderate hit of the chart

She continued with three number one hits and a dozen songs in the American top 40

It was I Am Woman in 1972 – she wrote the uplifting lyrics (« I’m a woman, hear me roar / In numbers too big to ignore ») with Australian singer-songwriter and friend Ray Burton who provided him with the music – which has become his enduring music legacy

In a time when a woman couldn’t get a credit card or mortgage in her name, Reddy became one of the highest paid artists in the world

Diagnosed with dementia in 2015, she lived in a Hollywood retirement home in Los Angeles

The Unjoo Moon biopic, which stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival late last year and was only released on the streaming service Stan (owned by the publisher of this masthead, Nine) this month

Moon, who lives in Los Angeles with her cinematographer husband Dion Beebe, met Reddy at a G’Day USA dinner seven years ago and they chatted for two hours Growing up seeing the galvanizing effect of I Am Woman on her mother, she became determined to make a film about her life

« When I first started listening to her story, even though it was about the ’70s and I really captured that moment, it felt quite relevant to me as a woman, » Moon said.

Cobham-Hervey described Reddy as strong, passionate and curious, with a mission to change the world

« She’s had this extraordinarily huge and brilliant life, » she recently said « It’s hard not to be inspired by someone who takes on the world like this »

Reddy’s friend and longtime fan club manager Jim Keaton also paid tribute to the star on Facebook

« Silence please there is a lady leaving the stage » he wrote « I am very grateful to Traci and Jordan for sharing their mother with me And to Helen for having added more to my life than I could ever explain or describe She always left me feeling loved (even when I was on her last nerves!) and that I cared about It in itself a gift rare and precious that I will cherish for the rest of my life « 

Nathanael Cooper is a senior cultural writer at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age with an emphasis on music

Helen Reddy, I Am Woman, Australia

News from around the world – UA – Australian pioneer singer Helen Reddy dies at 78



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