Helen Reddy Biography

25 October 1941, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, A big-voiced interpreter of rock ballads, with a reputation as a high-profile feminist and campaigner on social issues, Reddy came from a showbusiness family. She was a child performer and had already starred in her own television show before winning a trip to New York in an Australian talent contest in 1966. There, an appearance on the influential Tonight Show led to a recording contract with Capitol Records, and a 1971 Top 20 hit single with ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The following year, the powerful feminist anthem, ‘I Am Woman’, which she co-wrote with Peter Allen and was featured in the movie Stand Up And Be Counted, went to number 1 in the US, and sold over a million copies. It also gained Reddy a Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance (part of her acceptance speech went: ‘I want to thank God because she makes everything possible’), and was adopted by the United Nations as its theme for International Women’s Year.

Over the next five years, she had a dozen further US hit singles, including ‘Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress), ‘Keep On Singing’, ‘You And Me Against The World’, ‘Emotion’, ‘Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady’, and two contrasting number 1s, Alex Harvey’s modern country ballad ‘Delta Dawn’ in 1973, and the following year’s chilling, dramatic ‘Angie Baby’, also a UK Top 5 hit. Her 1976 hit, ‘I Can’t Hear You No More’, was composed by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, while Reddy’s final US Top 20 record (to date) was a revival of Cilla Black’s 1964 chart-topper, ‘You’re My World’, co-produced by Kim Fowley. Reddy also became a well-known US television personality, hosting her own show and The Midnight Special series between 1975 and 1977, taking a cameo role in Airport 1975 and starring in the movie Pete’s Dragon. She also sang ‘Little Boys’, the theme song for The Man Who Loved Women (1983). She became a United States citizen in December 1974.

Disenchanted with life in general during the 80s, she performed infrequently, but made her first major showcase in years at the Westwood Playhouse, Los Angeles, in 1986. Since then she has appeared in concert and cabaret around the world. In 1995 she was performing at London’s Café Royal in the evenings, while rehearsing during the day to take over from Carole King in the hit musical Blood Brothers on Broadway. She also returned to recording with two new albums, Center Stage and The Best Christmas Ever, the latter distributed over the Home Shopping Network.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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