Helen Reddy: ‘chosen’ by God to give voice to a feminist anthem
After moving to the US from Australia she won a Grammy and sold 80 million albums worldwide
Helen Reddy, who has died at the age of 78, was a singer and songwriter whose song I Am Woman became a rallying cry for the nascent feminist movement; when she picked up her Grammy Award for best female artist in 1973, she famously thanked God - “for She makes everything possible”.
Written with her friend, the guitarist Ray Burton, I Am Woman (“Oh yes, I am wise/But it’s wisdom born of pain/Yes, I’ve paid the price/But look how much I gained”) came out of Reddy’s alignment with the burgeoning women’s rights movement, thanks in part to reading the work of the Australian rock critic and feminist writer Lillian Roxon. Looking for songs that reflected her increasingly positive self-image, she found none, she said.
“I realised that the song I was looking for didn’t exist, and I was going to have to write it myself.”..