Tuesday, June 14, 2011

WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO. . .

. . . Helen Reddy?



She was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941 and at the age of four, Helen joined her family's act where they toured the country singing and dancing.

At seventeen, Helen entered a singing contest on the Australian TV show, "Bandstand" and won. The prize was a trip to New York City to record a single with Mercury Records. However, when she arrived, she discovered that the prize was actually just an opportunity to audition to record a single and her performance on the show was considered the audition and the label passed.

With only a return ticket back to Australia. Helen decided to stay with her three year old daughter, Traci  from a brief marriage, to try and pursue a music career in the US. She had difficulty finding work because she lacked the proper work visa but she would go to Canada for some jobs since it was a commonwealth but her luck would change when she met twenty-two year old, Jeff Wald at a party. They were married three days later which would take care of her immigration issues and he would later become her manager.

Helen struggled for years trying to get noticed and they moved from New York to Chicago before ending up in Los Angeles in 1969. Jeff got a job at Capital Records and he managed artists such as Deep Purple and Tiny Tim but Helen was getting impatient for her husband to secure her a record deal. Jeff finally managed to get the label to allow her to record a one-time single.

The song was "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from the musical, "Jesus Christ Superstar" and it went to number thirteen on the charts in 1971 and Helen was officially offered a recording contract with Capital

"I Am Woman", co-written by Reddy, would become the game-changer for this singer. The song would go to number one on the pop charts in 1972, sold over a million copies, and won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Performance. The song also proved timely as it was released during the women's liberation movement and was embraced as an anthem.

Helen Reddy became one of the top female singers in the 1970's with fifteen songs in the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with three of those reaching number one. By the late seventies, Helen's career began to wane and by 1983, she released what would be her final album,  "Imagination" due to poor sales and a divorce from Jeff Wald who managed to have her effectively blacklisted from her music career. Helen decided to move foward by doing musical theater and performing in such shows as "Anything Goes" and  "Call Me Madam".

Helen published her autobiography in 2006 called, "The Woman I Am" but she has retired from performing due to her suffering from Addison's disease.

Here is a collection of some of Helen Reddy's hit songs:

"I Don't Know How To Love Him" - Helen Reddy (1971)

"I Am Woman" - Helen Reddy (1972)

"Delta Dawn" - Helen Reddy (1973)

"Peaceful" - Helen Reddy (1973)

"Angie Baby" - Helen Reddy (1974)

Here she is performing "You And Me Against The World" as a duet with Kermit the frog:

TOM PETTY (1950 - 2017)

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