Two for Tuesday: Helen Reddy

I can hear the moaning all the way over here. “Oh God, not Helen Reddy!” Well, she did manage four songs in the Top Ten during my high school years, including two Number Ones, one of which was “I Am Woman”, which became an anthem for the Women’s Liberation movememt, even though it wasn’t actually written with that in mind, as Ms. Reddy said whenever she was asked about it, claiming that it was more about empowerment and that Women’s Lib was just part of the reason she wrote it. The Blogger’s Best Friend tells us that, in 2002, she said of the song, “To this day I get mail from women who say, I went to law school because of your song. But I would hate to think out of the wide spectrum of things I have done in my career, that’s all I would be remembered for.”

So let’s remember her for her other big songs in the early Seventies. First up, “Delta Dawn,” which reached the Top Ten in August 1973 and stayed there for eight weeks, peaking at #1.

Stepping outside the parameters I’ve drawn (it’s my blog, after all), “Angie Baby,” her next big hit was released in October 1974, reached the Top Ten on November 30, and hit #1 on December 28. The lyrics, by Alan O’Day, are a little dark, but I think this might have been her best song from the period.

Helen’s popularity fell rapidly after 1976, with only one song, a remake of Cilla Black’s “You’re My World,” reaching the Top 40 (#18). She retired from performing in 2002, but returned to the stage for her sister’s birthday in 2012. Sadly, she was treated for symptoms of dementia in 2015 and has retired for good.

Helen Reddy, your Two for Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

23 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Helen Reddy

  1. With love Angie Baby because it was an unnerving song that could be used in a horror movie so, to me, that is unique. Of course, I am Woman was a huge hit and I can’t help but think of the SCTV skit where John Candy and, I think, Eugene Levy, play brothers who have a talk show. They introduce Helen Reddy, played by Catherine O’Hara, singing this song and then she is blown up! Hahahaaaa they liked to blow’em up, blow’em up real goood. Anyway, that is so sad to hear she has dementia…such a nasty, nasty disease.


    1. It was Joe Flaherty. Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok and the farm report. They also blew up Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep (both also played by O’Hara) and Neil Sedaka (himself). Oh, and Dustin Hoffman dressed as Tootsie (I don’t remember who played him, probably Rick Moranis). “May the Good Lord take a likin’ to ya and blow ya up real soon!”

      I’m starting to hear about more entertainment people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Glen Campbell, David Cassidy, now Helen Reddy…


      1. It’s been a decades since I saw that so thanks for correcting me and now I remember a bit more. I forgot about blowing up Meryl Streep but love it:)


  2. Helen Reddy’s music was one of my guilty pleasures as a early teen. I still own her greatest hits CD. I may have to give it a listen today, if nothing more than to annoy my housemate.


  3. Hi John – I did love her work … and I see she is still working … and has had an interesting life … to put it mildly … love some of those songs – cheers Hilary


  4. I didn’t moan a bit, thank you, but I prefer Delta Dawn the twangy way. Don’t tell anyone, I hardly ever like anything twangy. 😉


  5. I remember Tanya Tucker singing Delta Dawn. I had forgotten Helen even did it.

    Yep, Angie Baby was pretty dark. But that must have been a thing in the early/mid-seventies. Remember The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia? 🙂


    1. I never actually heard Tanya Tucker do it until right now (I’m listening as I type this). I like hers better. I think Tanya was 15 or 16 when she recorded it.

      The later Seventies were the era of very depressing songs, I think. I guess it started with the dark songs earlier in the decade.


  6. Helen Reddy really led the parade of women’s rights with her song, “I Am Woman”. I was in ROTC, so it struck a chord with being one of the very first women officers. Thanks for the memories!


  7. I liked her songs and wondered why she fell out of the limelight. Her having dementia is unfortunate. I believe we’re becoming more aware of it because there is more openness about it.


    1. Well, that’s it. In our parents’ generation, people didn’t discuss it, or any sort of mental illness. It was a big Something We Don’t Talk About then. I was in my mid-30’s when I learned my dad was bipolar, for example. It would have filled in a lot of blanks if I had learned it sooner…

      Liked by 1 person

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