Biography of Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy is one of the most iconic singers and songwriters of the 20th century. She started her musical career in the mid-1960s and quickly emerged as one of the most successful female singers of the era. With hits like “I Am Woman” and “Delta Dawn” that topped both the Pop and Country charts, Reddy became a symbol of female empowerment, inspiring thousands of women around the world.
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941, Reddy was the daughter of a show-business family. Her father was an actor and her mother was an accomplished cabaret singer. Helen showed an early talent for music and won a spot in the distinguished Arts Student’s League at age four. She also appeared in various musicals and plays, including Peter Pan and Show Boat.
In 1966, Helen moved to the United States and began her professional musical career. She released her debut album, I Don’t Know How to Love Him, in 1971. On the album, Helen sang the hit single “I Am Woman,” which became an anthem for the feminist movement and made her an international star. The song earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1972, making her the first Australian singer to receive the Grammy
Helen’s following albums in the 1970s featured a combination of heartfelt ballads, popular covers of classics and soulful anthems. Some of her best-known songs include “Delta Dawn,” “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress),” “Angie Baby,” “Candle on the Water,” and “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.”
Her final studio album, Center Stage, was released in 1988. The title track, a modern reworking of the classic “I Am Woman,” returned for a brief time to the charts. She also performed the track at her farewell concert in Australia in 2002. Throughout the years she sang with a wide variety of artists, including Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Olivia Newton-John.
In total, Reddy has sold millions of albums, won multiple awards and earned her spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Today she is considered one of the preeminent female artists of the 20th century.
Awards and Recognition Received by Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy is an iconic singer-songwriter and actress who achieved tremendous success in both the film and music industries. During her four-decade long career, she has been recognized with numerous awards and honors in recognition of her remarkable accomplishments.
Reddy has won three Grammy Awards, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1974 and Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female) in 1975, both for her classic hit “I Am Woman”. She also won the award for Best Inspirational Performance in 1978 for her rendition of “Delta Dawn”.
In addition to her Grammy accolades, Reddy has been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and she continues to be recognized for her achievements in the music industry. She has received The ICON Award from ASCAP and Lifetime Achievement Awards from BMI, APRA, and the Australia Music Association.
In 1981, Reddy also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She took part in the Australian Music Industry’s Living Legends Induction in 1987, and was honored in 1997 with Australia’s Order of Australia. In 2019, Reddy was a recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Governor of Victoria.
Legacy of Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy was an iconic singer, songwriter and activist. Her impassioned music, as well as her inspiring activism and emotional performances, have left a lasting legacy. Her music captured the struggles of being a woman in the mid-1970s, yet still provided a positive message of overcoming adversity and frustration.
Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941. Her mother was a single mother and her father abandoned the family when she was very young. The family had limited financial means, which inspired her to pursue her musical career. She attended a prestigious arts school and began singing professionally, eventually becoming popular in Australia and the UK.
In 1966, Reddy moved to New York City and released her first single, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, in 1971. The single caught fire and catapulted her to international stardom. In the late 1970s, she released such singles as “I Am Woman”, “Delta Dawn” and “Angie Baby”, the latter two of which both charted at number one on the Billboard charts.
Reddy became well known for her role in the Women’s Movement in the 1970s.