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Helen Reddy, GRAMMY-Winning "I Am Woman" Singer, Dies At 78
GRAMMY-winning Australian performer Helen Reddy, best known for her empowerment-minded 1972 hit, "I Am Woman," has died at 78.
In 2015, Reddy was diagnosed with dementia and, according to the Guardian, had been living in a Los Angeles nursing home.
Reddy’s children, Traci and Jordan, posted a statement to the singer's official fan page, stating: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles."
“She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever."
Reddy won a GRAMMY in 1973 for Best Female Pop Performance for "I Am Woman."
"I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible," she said while accepting her speech. Reddy was again nominated in the same category in 1975 for "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady."
While "I Am Woman" earned Reddy pop star status, a GRAMMY win and her first No. 1 hit, as NPR explained in 2018, it was a fight to get Capitol to record the song and then to get radio stations to play it. The single was released in 1971, but it took a year of going to stations across the country, finally hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972.
But once they did, it struck a chord with women across the nation her where organizing and finding their power in the social justice movements of the '70s. As the outlet asserts, publically referring to God a woman—almost a half-century before Ariana Grande's epic "God is a woman"—at the time was bold, yet appropriate, shortly after the Equal Rights Amendment passed the Senate and Roe v. Wade made history.
"It really resonated for a lot of people," Nadine Hubbs, a professor of musicology at the University of Michigan told NPR. "She was putting into words some really important social changes that were going on at the moment."
"I am a feminist," Reddy told CBC in 1972.
"I would like get into the hearts and minds of women who, for example, wouldn't have a copy of [Gloria Steinem's] Ms. magazine in their house. But these women can be reached and ... I'm trying to find a way to reach them, ... to give them a confidence in themselves that they've never had."