Helen Maxine Reddy, popularly known as Helen Reddy was an Australian-American singer, songwriter, actress, tv host, activist, and motivational speaker. She is often referred to as the “Queen of ’70s Pop” and is famous for her single, “I Am Woman”. She was born into a show-business family and had begun her career as an entertainer at the age of four. She eventually moved to the United States to pursue her music career. Her musical style is best described as a light amalgam of rhythm and blues, easy rock, and jazz. She made her debut with the singles “One Way Ticket” and “I Believe in Music” in 1968 and 1970. The #1 Grammy-winning “I Am Woman” became not only the anthem of the feminist movement during the radical 1970s but also the signature song for its lovely, crop-haired, reddish-haired composer and singer Helen Reddy. Her hits are “Angie Baby” and “No Way to Treat a Lady”. In the United States, she had fifteen singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. In her career, she released 18 studio albums, 1 live album, and 15 compilation albums. In the year 1974, at the inaugural American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.
She died at the age of 78 on 29 September 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
What is Helen Reddy Famous For?
- Famous for her no. 1 single, “I Am Woman”.
- Often referred to as the “Queen of ’70s Pop”.
Where is Helen Reddy From?
Helen Reddy was born on 25 October 1941. Her birth name is Helen Maxine Reddy. Her birth place is in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. She holds Australian nationality. Her ethnicity is mixed and her race is white. She has Irish, Indian, Scottish, and English ancestry. Her religion is Judaism. her Zodiac sign is Scorpio. She was born into a well-known show business family. She was born to parents; Stella Lamond (mother) and Maxwell David “Max” Reddy (father). Her mother was a popular actress known as a regular cast member in the TV series Homicide (1964), Country Town (1971), and Bellbird (1967), whereas her father was a writer, producer, and actor. She also has siblings. Her half-sister Toni Lamond and her nephew Tony Sheldon are actor-singers. Her Scottish great grandfather, Thomas Lamond, was a one-time mayor of Waterloo, New South Wales, whose patron was Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead.
Regarding her educational background, she was educated at Tintern Grammar. She landed in New York in 1966 and decided to remain in the United States with her daughter, 3-year-old Traci, and pursue a singing career. In 1969, she enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles to study parapsychology and philosophy part-time.
Helen Reddy Life Story
- Reddy had started performing with her parents on the Australian vaudeville circuit starting at the age of 4.
- She went to live with her paternal aunt, Helen Reddy at the age of 12. Her parents had been constantly touring nationwide.
- She got married at a young age with Kenneth Claude Weate. Weate was an old musician and a family friend. They had a daughter. They got divorced.
- She started supporting herself as a single mother to her daughter, Traci.
- She had a kidney removed at 17.
- She continued performing: sang on radio and television.
- She won the talent contest on the Australian pop music TV show, Bandstand. As a prize, she received a trip to New York City to cut a single for Mercury Records.
- She landed in New York in the United States with her daughter in 1966.
- However, she failed to get a contract with the record label.
- Despite having only a hundred dollars of money, she decided to remain in the United States to pursue a singing career.
- Due to work permit issues, she found it difficult to find singing jobs. She made trips to Canada which did not require work permits.
- A fellow Australian and entertainer, Martin St. James threw a party for Reddy who also paid her rent. She met her future manager and husband, Jeff Wald at the party. They got married three days after the meeting.
- They struggled to support themselves. Reddy did several jobs to support them.
- The family moved to Chicago, where her husband Wald landed a job as talent coordinator at Mister Kelly’s.
- Reddy started singing in local lounges and landed a recording deal with Fontana Records in 1968.
- She released her first single, “One Way Ticket” from Fontana. It failed to in the American chart but peaked at No. 83 in Australia.
- The family relocated to Los Angeles in the same year. Her husband Wald was hired by Capitol Records. Wald found success after joining the record label.
- Capitol Record agreed to let Helen cut one single. She did ‘I Believe in Music’ penned by Mac Davis b/w ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ from Rice and Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.
- She rose to fame after her single “I Am Woman” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972.
- “I Am Woman” was recorded and released in May 1972 but barely dented the charts in its initial release.
- She won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her hit single, “I Am Woman”.
- Following her first success, she had more than a dozen U.S. Top 40 hits, including two more No. 1 hits which included Kenny Rankin’s “Peaceful” (No. 12), the Alex Harvey country ballad “Delta Dawn” (No. 1), Linda Laurie’s “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (No. 3), Austin Roberts’ “Keep on Singing” (No. 15), Paul Williams’ “You and Me Against the World” (featuring daughter Traci reciting the spoken bookends) (No. 9), Alan O’Day’s “Angie Baby” (No. 1), Veronique Sanson’s and Patti Dahlstrom’s “Emotion” (No. 22), Harriet Schock’s “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” (No. 8), and the Richard Kerr/Will Jennings-penned “Somewhere in the Night” (No. 19; three years later a bigger hit for Barry Manilow) with a time span of five years.
- She then recorded the Beatles song “The Fool on the Hill” for the musical documentary All This and World War II in 1976.
- Within the three years, her successful hits include “Delta Dawn” in 1973 to “I Can’t Hear You No More” in 1976.
- Her 1977 remake of Cilla Black’s 1964 hit “You’re My World” indicated comeback potential, with a No. 18 peak. It’s parent album, “Ear Candy”, which was her 10th album, would become her first album to not attain at least Gold status since her second full-length release, 1972’s “Helen Reddy”.
- Moreover, she also sang as a backup singer on Gene Simmons’s solo album on the song “True Confessions”.
- Among her eight singles, five reached the Easy Listening Top 50-including “Candle on the Water”, from the 1977 Disney film Pete’s Dragon (which starred Reddy).
- She had also ranked at No. 98 on the country chart with “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler”, the B-side to “The Happy Girls”.
- Her next four Capitol album releases subsequent to Ear Candy failed to chart and she said “I signed [with Capitol] ten years ago…And when you are with a company so long you tend to be taken for granted. For the last three years, I didn’t feel I was getting support from them” in 1981.
- Her debut album for MCA Records was “Play Me Out” which was released in May 1981.
- Her remake of Becky Hobbs’s 1979 country hit “I Can’t Say Goodbye to You” returned her for the last time to the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 88; it also returned Reddy to the charts in the UK and Ireland (her sole previous hit in both was “Angie Baby”).
- MCA released one further Reddy album: “Imagination”, in 1983 which proved to be her final release as a career recording artist which was released just after the finalization of Reddy’s divorce from Wald whose alleged subsequent interference in her career Reddy would blame for the decline of her career profile in the mid-1980s: “Several of my performing contracts were canceled, and one promoter told me he couldn’t book me in case a certain someone ‘came after him with a shotgun'”.
- She then released “Feel So Young” on her own label in the year 1990.
- 1997 saw the release of “Center Stage”, an album of show tunes that Reddy recorded for Varese Sarabande.
- Her final album to date was the 2000 seasonal release “The Best Christmas Ever”.
- She then released a cover of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” for the album Keep Calm and Salute the Beatles on the Purple Pyramid label in April 2015.
- Besides her singing career, she has also appeared in TV shows such as The Bobby Darin Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Muppet Show.
- She also helmed the 1973 summer replacement series for ‘The Flip Wilson Show’.
- In the year 1973, she became the semi-regular host of the NBC late-night variety show “The Midnight Special”, a position she retained until 1975.
- She then starred in “Pete’s Dragon”, introducing the Oscar-nominated song “Candle on the Water”.
- She also made the role of a nun in Airport 1975, singing her own composition “Best Friend”.
- She was one of many musical stars featured in the all-star chorale in the film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1978), and has since played cameo roles in the films “Disorderlies” (1987) and “The Perfect Host” (2010).
- She has been an occasional television guest star as an actress, appearing on the series The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Jeffersons (as herself), Diagnosis: Murder, and BeastMaster.
- She also had a voice cameo as herself in the Family Guy television show’s Star Wars parody, “Blue Harvest” in the year 2007.
- Not only this but also she played a ‘red’-themed (‘Red’-dy) member of the Red Squadron, alongside Red Five (Chris Griffin), Red Buttons, Redd Foxx, Big Red, Red October, Simply Red, and others.
- She mostly worked in musicals including Anything Goes, Call Me Madam, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and – both on Broadway and the West End – Blood Brothers.
- She then appeared in four productions of the one-woman show “Shirley Valentine”.
- After then, she announced her retirement from performing in 2002, giving her farewell performance with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
- She was reported to be living “simply and frugally off song royalties, pension funds, and social security…[renting] a 13th-floor apartment with a 180-degree view of Sydney Harbour” as of April 2008.
- In the year 2008, she stated, “It’s not going to happen. I’ve moved on,” and explained that her voice had deepened to a lower key and she wasn’t sure if she would be able to sing some of her hits. She also said she had simply lost interest in performing. “I have very wide-ranging interests,” she said. “So, singing ‘Leave Me Alone’ 43 times per song lost its charm a long time ago.”
- Later, she was interviewed in 2011 by Australian television and said she was very happy to be retired from show business.
- Again, on 12th July 2012, she returned to the musical stage at Croce’s Jazz Bar in San Diego and for a benefit concert for the arts at St. Genevieve High School in Panorama City, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Reddy also sang a duet (“You’re Just in Love”) with senior choir member Rosalind Smith.
- She also performed many of her best-known songs, including, “Angie Baby,” “You and Me Against the World”, a medley of “Delta Dawn”/”Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady,” and “I Am Woman”.
- She performed two nights at Catalina Supper Club, Los Angeles in April 2013, shortly after her 73rd birthday, and performed two nights at Orleans Hotel Showroom in Las Vegas in January 2015.
- In August 2015, unknown sources revealed that she was diagnosed with dementia and had moved into the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Samuel Goldwyn Center where she was cared for by family and friends.
- Recently, a biographical film about Reddy titled “I Am Woman” was released in the year 2019, in which Helen Reddy is played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey.
Helen Reddy Albums
I Don’t Know How to Love Him (1971)
Helen Reddy (1971)
I Am Woman (1972)
Long Hard Climb (1973)
Love Song for Jeffrey (1974)
Free and Easy (1974)
No Way to Treat a Lady (1975)
Music, Music (1976)
Ear Candy (1977)
We’ll Sing in the Sunshine (1978)
Take What You Find (1980)
Play Me Out (1981)
Feel So Young (1990)
Center Stage (1998)
The Best Christmas Ever (2000)
Greatest & Latest (2002)
Awards and Achievements of Helen Reddy
- “I Am Woman” earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
- For her part in Airport 1975, Reddy was nominated for a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer-Female.
- She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in the music industry, located at 1750 Vine Street on 23rd July 1974.
- In the year 1974, at the inaugural American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.
Helen Reddy Personal Life
Helen Reddy was three times in her life. She was first married to Kenneth Claude Weate. She was only 20 years old when she married Weate. Weate was an older musician and family friend. They had a daughter named Traci. They divorced after the birth of their daughter. She then married Jeff Wald in 1968. He was a secretary at the William Morris Agency at the time. They married three days after meeting for the first time. She converted to Judaism before marrying Wald. She had a son, Jordan, born in 1972. The couple separated in January 1981. Wald had moved into a treatment facility to overcome an eight-year cocaine addiction. The couple reconciled but Wald’s continued substance abuse led to their eventual divorce. They agreed to shared custody of their son Jordan. Reddy got married for the third time in 1983. She married Milton Ruth, a drummer in her band. They did not have children. They got divorced in 1995.
She suffered from dementia in her later years.
Helen Reddy Height
Very beautiful with blonde hair color, Helen Reddy stood tall at the height of 1.6 m. She has got a pair of pretty blue eye colors. Her body build is slim. Her sexual orientation was straight.
Helen Reddy Net Worth
Helen Reddy was one of the popular singers often referred to as the “Queen of ’70s Pop”. She has released 15 studio albums in her career and sold over 80 million albums worldwide. Her income comes from record sales, contracts, concerts, tours, and acting. As an actress, she has appeared in several movies, tv shows, and theater productions. Her net worth was estimated at $3 Million.