Posts Tagged ‘Grammy’

Helen, Here’s To Many More Happy Birthdays

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Reba McEntire in concert 11 times since I first saw her in 1995 and I met her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in April 2005.

Reba Anthony 2005

I’ve seen Madonna three times, most recently in Las Vegas.  While I’d love to see to see Patty Loveless again (I saw her in 2000), there are still four other ladies that are on my concert bucket list to see:  Pam Tillis (who I’ll see on November 2nd), Lorrie Morgan, Olivia Newton-John, and a woman that doesn’t tour much anymore.  And, today she is celebrating her 71st birthday.

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday dear Helen Reddy!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

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Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia and she conquered music, television, theater, and even movies.  In “Airport 1975”, she played a nun and entertained people on the doomed flight with a guitar and a song.  She was even nominated for a Golden Globe award!

HelenReddy Airport 1975

However, it was music that made her a superstar and at the height of her popularity, she was known as the “Queen of 70s Pop”.  On the Billboard Hot 100, she had 14 hits.  Six of those reached the Top Ten and three went all the way to #1.

Her first hit, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” reached #13 in 1971.

But, it wasn’t until the fall of the following year that Helen Reddy would become a music superstar and an icon to one of the biggest movements in recent history — women’s rights.

When the song, “I Am Woman” was originally released in the summer of 1972, it peaked at #97 in its third week on the chart and then it disappeared.  In the fall, the song was re-released and by December, it was a #1 smash.

“I Am Woman” became the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 by an Australian-born singer and the first Australian-penned song to win a Grammy Award.  While accepting the award, Helen thanked God, because “she” made everything possible.

While becoming a chart topper and a Grammy-award winning song, it became so much more.  It became an anthem for millions as the “women’s movement” for equality gathered steam.

Helen Reddy’s own experience in the entertainment business prompted the song.  She says, “Women have always been objectified in showbiz.  I’d be the opening act for a comic and as I was leaving the stage he’d say, ‘Yeah, take your clothes off and wait for me in the dressing room, I’ll be right there’. It was demeaning and humiliating for any woman to have that happen publicly.”

Helen knew things had to change and she believed with the right song, her voice could do that.  Reddy says, ” “I remember lying in bed one night and the words, ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman’, kept going over and over in my head. That part I consider to be divinely inspired. I had been chosen to get a message across.”  With her lyrics and fellow Australian guitarist Ray Burton’s music, an anthem was born.

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I remember “I Am Woman” very well and that same conviction inspired me as a kid and now, as an adult, to push forward in the gay rights and marriage equality movements.  It made me stronger and gave me the strength to stand up to anyone who ever tried to belittle me for being gay.

After the follow-up single, “Peaceful,” missed out on the Top Ten, Helen would top the charts again with her next single, “Delta Dawn”.  While that song was already a Top Ten country hit for Tanya Tucker in 1972 and being performed live in concert by Bette Midler, Helen’s version was released in the summer of 1973.

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I remember my grandparents, John & Helen Peoples, taking me shopping and “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy was the very first 45 single I ever bought.

In the late 1970s, I only owned three eight-track tapes:  Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses”, Olivia Newton-John’s “Totally Hot”, and “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits”.  It went on to move more than two million copies.

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Helen would go on to score four more Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100:  “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973), “You And Me Against The World (#9, 1974), “Angie Baby” (#1, 1974), and “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” (#8, 1975).

Her last Hot 100 pop hit was 1977’s “You’re My World” that peaked at #18.

Sadly, Helen decided to give up touring in the fall of 2002 when wrapped up her tour in Edmonton, Canada.  She moved back to Australia and put the music industry behind her and became a clinical hypnotherapist.

In November 2011, she did a great interview with an Australian television show, “Today Tonight”.  It’s incredible to see how she choose to go from being a music superstar of the 1970s to enjoying a quiet life today and doing whatever she pleases.

Back in 2008, she said that she “will never again perform before an audience” and that she’s “moved on.”

For some lucky fans, that isn’t the case.  This summer, she performed at a jazz bar in San Diego, California, and at a benefit concert for the arts outside of Los Angeles.

And, according to her website, she is performing four concerts in March 2013:  one in South Carolina, one in Florida, and two in New York City.  Since I would be so excited to see her, I hope more dates will follow.

So, on this special day, Happy Birthday Miss Helen Reddy and “keep on singing”.

I’m including this because it’s one of my favorite songs and it’s subliminal. 🙂  See the preceding comment about hoping more concerts will follow!

Anthony