Album:TheWoman I Am: The Definitive Collection
Aussie Helen Reddy is frequently called The Queen of 70s Pop. Her success was mostly from 1971-75. She had three number one hits including Angie Baby in 1975 and of course her feminist anthem I Am Woman. She was born Oct. 25, 1941 in Melbourne, Australia. She grew up in show business. Her father Max Reddy was a vaudeville performer. Helen began performing with him when she was a child. As a teen, Helen decided she didn't want to be a performer. So she got married with the intention of being a housewife and mother. But the marriage didn't work out and she returned to performing. She won the TV talent contest Bandstand. She thought the prize was a contract with Mercury Records. When she went to New York to collect, she was told the prize was just an audition. her performance on the show was her unsuccessful audition. Helen had a return ticket to Australia. But she stayed in the US. She wasn't a US citizen so she couldn't work. But then she met and married William Morris Agency employee Jeff Wald. He became her manager. They moved to Chicago. Singing in local clubs got Helen a single for Fontana Records. But it was unsuccessful. They moved to Los Angeles. Wald became a successful manager of Deep Purple. Helen told him to make her a star or leave. Finally Capitol Records agreed to give Helen a chance if Wald would stop calling them. The result was Helen's recording of I Don't Know How To Love Him from the hit show Jesus Christ Superstar reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Apparently Wald called radio stations to get them to play it. Helen released her debut album. And one of the songs on the album was I Am Woman which Helen wrote with Ray Burton. When it was first released as a single, it didn't catch on. So Helen recorded a new version of I Am Woman in 1972 and this time it did catch on especially with women and it topped the charts. Helen had two more number one hits. First was her cover of the Tanya Tucker country hit Delta Dawn. And then Angie Baby in 1974. Angie Baby was written by Alan O'Day, best known for his hit single Undercover Angel. But O'Day was already a successful songwriter. There have always been questions about what Angie Baby is about as the girl in the song seems delusional. When asked about it by fans, Helen said she didn't know. O'Day says the song is loosely based on The Beatles' Lady Madonna. But he decided to make the girl weird. And when O'Day was sick as a child, his only company was a transistor radio. So he deliberately made her crazy. O'Day says the song is just a story and people shouldn't try to read too much into it. Angie Baby was Helen's final number one hit. She continued to chart but faded by the late 70s. She left Capitol for MCA in 1981. She wasn't successful there. You can get all her Capitol hits on this comp. Helen Reddy continued to perform mostly in regional theater and sometimes on Broadway and London's West End. She retired in 2002 and moved back to Australia to become a hypnotherapist. She returned to occasional live performing in 2012. She retired again in 2015 and she now lives in the Motion Picture Home in California. She denies rumours that she suffers from dementia. Here's Helen Reddy performing Angie Baby in England 1975.