It’s November 3, 2020. I’m trying to distract myself from thinking about the election today, so I’m sharing my affection for Helen Reddy, who died in September. I missed her passing because I was in San Francisco helping my brother and not paying attention.
It was hard for Helen to break into the music world in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Remember when radio disc jockeys decided what songs to play? Many said to her that I AM WOMAN wasn’t their favorite song, but their wives loved it! Some said, “We’re already playing a female record. Folks are more into boy bands right now.” So she went on 19 TV shows and achieved momentum for I AM WOMAN. In 1973 and 1974, Helen was the top female vocalist and sold 25 million records! I still have the one pictured above. The middle photo is the crowd while she’s singing I AM WOMAN in DC at the NOW Abortion Rights Rally in 1989.
In 2002, Helen returned to her native Australia and studied hypnotherapy. When asked if she had been able to help people, she gave a resounding “yes!” Maybe I should try hypnosis for my election night anxiety!
In 2014 I saw Helen perform in Provincetown during Women’s Week. She was 72, as pictured in red. Fabulous concert. She performed a mix of jazz, blues, and of course, her classics. She likes singing new songs because they inspire a different passion in her. Before she belted out I AM WOMAN, she spoke every word she wrote back in the ‘70s for the Women’s Movement. Helen embodied the movement and was anointed a feminist Icon.
When I sing along with Helen I feel strong and, yes, invincible! “If I have to, I can do anything” brings out the best in me.
When asked if Provincetown was her last tour. Helen Reddy said, “There is no last tour!”
To that end, a new movie about Helen is on NETFLIX titled, I AM WOMAN. What else? Hope I have distracted you a little on this election day. Ask Alexa to play I AM WOMAN and cross your fingers!
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