Bio: Helen Reddy

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Helen Reddy
Reddy in 1975
BornHelen Maxine Reddy
25 October 1941
MelbourneVictoria, Australia
Died29 September 2020 (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
CitizenshipAustralian, American[1]
EducationTintern Grammar
OccupationSinger, actress, activist
Years active1966–2002
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Spouse(s)Claude Weate​​(m. 1961; div. 1966)​
Jeff Wald​​(m. 1968; div. 1981)​
Milton Ruth​​(m. 1984; div. 1995)​
RelativesToni Lamond (half sister)
Tony Sheldon (nephew)
Patsy Reddy (cousin)
Musical career
GenresPopeasy listening
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano
LabelsFontana/PolyGramCapitol/EMIMCAHelen Reddy Inc.Varèse Sarabande

Helen Maxine Reddy (25 October 1941 – 29 September 2020) was an Australian-American singer, songwriter, author, actress, and activist. Born in Melbourne, Victoria, to a show-business family, Reddy started her career as an entertainer at age four. She sang on radio and television and won a talent contest on the television program, Bandstand[a] in 1966; her prize was a ticket to New York City and a record audition, which was unsuccessful. She pursued her international singing career by moving to Chicago and, subsequently, Los Angeles, where she made her debut singles “One Way Ticket” and “I Believe in Music” in 1968 and 1970, respectively. The B-side of the latter single, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him“, reached number eight on the pop chart of Canadian magazine RPM. She was signed to Capitol Records a year later.[2]

During the 1970s, Reddy enjoyed international success, especially in the United States, where she placed 15 singles on the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six made the top 10 and three reached number one, including her signature hit “I Am Woman“.[3][4] She placed 25 songs on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart; 15 made the top 10 and eight reached number one, six consecutively. In 1974, at the inaugural American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. On television, she was the first Australian to host a one-hour weekly primetime variety show on an American network, along with specials that were seen in more than 40 countries.[5]

Between the 1980s and 1990s, as her single “I Can’t Say Goodbye to You” became her last to chart in the US, Reddy acted in musicals and recorded albums such as Center Stage before retiring from live performance in 2002. She returned to university in Australia, earned a degree, and practised as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker. In 2011, after singing “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze” with her half-sister, Toni Lamond, for Lamond’s birthday, Reddy decided to return to live performing.[5]

Reddy’s song “I Am Woman” played a significant role in popular culture, becoming an anthem for second-wave feminism. She came to be known as a “feminist poster girl” or a “feminist icon”.[6] In 2011, Billboard named her the number-28 adult contemporary artist of all time (number-9 woman). In 2013, the Chicago Tribune dubbed her as the “Queen of ’70s Pop”.[7]

Early years

Helen Maxine Reddy[8][9] was born into a well-known Australian show-business family in Melbourne to actress, singer, and dancer Stella Campbell (née Lamond) and Maxwell David “Max” Reddy (born 1914 in Melbourne, Victoria), a writer, producer, and actor. Her mother performed at the Majestic Theatre in Sydney and was best known as a regular cast member on the television programs Homicide (1964), Country Town (1971), and Bellbird (1967).[10] During Reddy’s childhood, she was educated at Tintern Grammar.[11] Her half-sister Toni Lamond and her nephew Tony Sheldon are actor-singers.[12]

Reddy had Irish, Scottish, and English ancestry.[13] Her great-great-grandfather Edward Reddy was born 1855, in Dublin, Ireland. Her Scottish great-grandfather, Thomas Lamond, was a one-time mayor of Waterloo, New South Wales, whose patron was Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead.[14] Patsy Reddy, New Zealand’s governor-general, is a distant cousin.[15]

Reddy was born during World War II. Her father was a sergeant in the Australian Army with a unit of entertainers; he served alongside one of his actor friends, Peter Finch. They were serving together in New Guinea at the time of Reddy’s birth.[16] Her father returned to service during the Korean War.[17]

At age four, Reddy joined her parents on the Australian vaudeville circuit, singing and dancing; she recalled: “It was instilled in me: ‘You will be a star’. So between the ages of 12 and 17, I got rebellious and decided this was not for me. I was going to be a housewife and mother.”[18] At age 12, due to her parents’ constant touring nationwide and their arguing, Reddy went to live with her paternal aunt, Helen “Nell” Reddy, “… who was her role model,” and as her aunt, “she gave her niece stability, a sense of morality, and strength” for her future career as a singer who motivated women.[19] The younger Helen’s teenaged rebellion in favour of domesticity manifested as marriage to Kenneth Claude Weate, a considerably older musician and family friend; divorce ensued, and to support herself as a single mother to daughter Traci, she resumed her performing career, concentrating on singing, since health problems precluded dancing (she had a kidney removed at 17). She sang on radio and television, eventually winning a talent contest on the Australian pop music TV show Bandstand, the prize ostensibly being a trip to New York City to cut a single for Mercury Records. After arriving in New York in 1966, she was informed by Mercury that her prize was only the chance to “audition” for the label and that Mercury considered the Bandstand footage to constitute her audition, which was deemed unsuccessful. Despite having only US$200 (equivalent to $1,576 in 2019) and a return ticket to Australia, she decided to remain in the United States with 3-year-old Traci and pursue a singing career.[citation needed]

Early career

Reddy recalled her 1966 appearance at the Three Rivers Inn in Syracuse, New York – “there were like twelve people in the audience”[20] – as typical of her early U.S. performing career. Her lack of a work permit made it difficult to obtain singing jobs, and she was forced to make trips to Canada, which did not require work permits for citizens of Commonwealth countries. In 1968, Martin St James, an Australian stage hypnotist she had met in New York City, threw Reddy a party with an admission price of US$5 (equivalent to $36.76 in 2019) to enable Reddy – then down to her last US$12 (equivalent to $88.23 in 2019) – to pay her rent. On this occasion, Reddy met her future manager and husband, Jeff Wald, a 22-year-old secretary at the William Morris Agency who crashed the party.[21] Reddy told People in 1975, “[Wald] didn’t pay the five dollars, but it was love at first sight.”[18]

Wald recalled that Reddy and he married three days after meeting, and along with daughter Traci, the couple took up residence at the Hotel Albert in Greenwich Village.[21] Reddy later stated that she married Wald “out of desperation over her right to work and live in the United States.”[22] According to New York Magazine, Wald was fired from William Morris soon after having met Reddy, and “Helen supported them for six months doing $35-a-night hospital and charity benefits. They were so broke that they snuck out of a hotel room carrying their clothes in paper bags.” Reddy recalled: “When we did eat, it was spaghetti, and we spent what little money we had on cockroach spray.”[18] They left New York City for Chicago and Wald landed a job as talent coordinator at Mister Kelly’s. While in Chicago, Reddy gained a reputation singing in local lounges, including Mister Kelly’s, and in 1968, she landed a deal with Fontana Records, a division of major label Chicago-based Mercury Records.[19] Her first single, “One Way Ticket“, on Fontana was not an American hit, but it did give Reddy her first appearance on any chart, as it peaked at number 83 in her native Australia.[23]

“I Am Woman” era and stardom

Reddy in 1974

Within a year, Wald relocated Reddy and Traci to Los Angeles, where he was hired at Capitol Records, the label under which Reddy was to attain stardom; however, Wald was hired and fired the same day.[19] At the same time, in 1969, Reddy enrolled at the University of California Los Angeles to study parapsychology and philosophy part-time.[24][25]

Reddy became frustrated as Wald found success managing such acts such as Deep Purple and Tiny Tim without making any evident effort to promote her; after 18 months of career inactivity, Reddy gave Wald an ultimatum: “he [must] either revitalise her career or get out… Jeff threw himself into his new career as Mr. Helen Reddy. Five months of phone calls to Capitol Records executive Artie Mogull finally paid off: Mogull agreed to let Helen cut one single if Jeff promised not to call for a month. She did “I Believe in Music” penned by Mac Davis backed with “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Jesus Christ Superstar. The A-side fell flat, but then some Canadian DJs flipped the record over and it became a hit – number 13 in June 1971 – and Helen Reddy was on her way.”[19]

Reddy’s stardom was solidified when her single “I Am Woman” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972. The song was co-written by Reddy with Ray Burton; Reddy attributed the impetus for writing “I Am Woman” and her early awareness of the women’s movement to expatriate Australian rock critic and pioneer feminist Lillian Roxon. Reddy is quoted in Fred Bronson‘s The Billboard Book of Number One Hits as having said that she was looking for songs to record which reflected the positive self-image she had gained from joining the women’s movement, but could not find any, so “I realised that the song I was looking for didn’t exist, and I was going to have to write it myself.”[citation needed] “I Am Woman” was recorded and released in May 1972, but barely dented the charts in its initial release. However, female listeners soon adopted the song as an anthem and began requesting it from their local radio stations in droves, resulting in its September chart re-entry and eventual number one peak. “I Am Woman” earned Reddy a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. At the awards ceremony, Reddy concluded her acceptance speech by famously thanking God “because She makes everything possible”. The success of “I Am Woman” made Reddy the first Australian singer to top the U.S. charts.[citation needed]

Three decades after her Grammy, Reddy discussed the song’s iconic status: “I think it came along at the right time. I’d gotten involved in the women’s movement, and there were a lot of songs on the radio about being weak and being dainty and all those sort of things. All the women in my family, they were strong women. They worked. They lived through the Depression and a world war, and they were just strong women. I certainly didn’t see myself as being dainty,” she said.[7]

Over the next five years following her first success, Reddy had more than a dozen U.S. top-40 hits, including two more number-one hits. These tracks included Kenny Rankin‘s “Peaceful” (number 12), the Alex Harvey country ballad “Delta Dawn” (number one), Linda Laurie‘s “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (number three), Austin Roberts‘ “Keep on Singing” (number 15), Paul Williams‘ “You and Me Against the World” (featuring daughter Traci reciting the spoken bookends) (number 9), Alan O’Day‘s “Angie Baby” (number one), Véronique Sanson and Patti Dahlstrom‘s “Emotion” (number 22), Harriet Schock‘s “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” (number eight), and the Richard Kerr/Will Jennings-penned “Somewhere in the Night” (number 19; three years later, a bigger hit for Barry Manilow). Reddy’s total sales figures for the United Sales are estimated in excess of 10 million singles and 25 million albums; her worldwide album sales tally is estimated in excess of US$80 million (1980).[citation needed]

On 23 July 1974, Reddy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in the music industry, located at 1750 Vine Street.[26][27]

At the height of her fame in the mid-1970s, Reddy was a headliner, with a full chorus of backup singers and dancers to standing-room-only crowds on the Las Vegas Strip. Among Reddy’s opening acts were Joan RiversDavid LettermanBill Cosby, and Barry Manilow. In 1976, Reddy recorded the Beatles‘ song “The Fool on the Hill” for the musical documentary All This and World War II.[citation needed]

Reddy was also instrumental in supporting the career of friend Olivia Newton-John, encouraging her to emigrate from England to the United States in the early 1970s, giving her professional opportunities that did not exist in the United Kingdom. At a party at Reddy’s house after a chance meeting with Allan Carr, a film producer, Newton-John won the starring role in the hit film version of the musical Grease.[28][29][better source needed]

More at:


PBS Official Website: | #TheTalkPBS An inside look at the new documentary, The Talk – Race in America, premiering Monday February 20, 2017 at 9/8c on PBS. Subscribe to the PBS channel for more clips:… Enjoy full episodes of your favorite PBS programs at Like PBS on Facebook: Follow PBS on Twitter: Follow PBS on Instagram: Official website: Get PBS merchandise: The Talk – Race in America is a two-hour documentary about the increasingly common conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

The Coronavirus Update

(image) WIRED Coronavirus Update Logo

09.30.20 (

A new aid package moves forward in the House, Europe approves a 15-minute Covid-19 test, and researchers propose applying the US HIV/AIDS strategy to Covid-19. Here’s what you should know:

Pelosi and Mnuchin collaborate in the hopes of passing a skinnier stimulus bill before the election

House Democrats’ new, less expensive $2.2 trillion aid package may come up for a vote as soon as today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke at length yesterday in the hope of reaching a deal for coronavirus relief before the election on November 3. The new bill includes another round of $1,200 direct checks to taxpayers, plus $500 per dependent, and would extend the Paycheck Protection Program.

15-minute Covid-19 test is approved for commercial use in Europe

A Covid-19 antigen test that returns results in 15 minutes was approved for use in Europe today. The test is portable and can be done at the point of care. It should be commercially available in participating countries by the end of the month. It was granted emergency use authorization in the States in July, but the FDA recommends that negative results be confirmed by another, more precise testing method. Now its manufacturer says a new clinical study affirming its accuracy has been submitted to the FDA for review.

Public health experts propose modeling national Covid-19 strategy on the HIV/AIDS response

A group of HIV researchers has proposed using the US’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy as the blueprint for a comprehensive, nationwide Covid-19 response. The US’s current predicament is similar to its early days of HIV in that different federal agencies were left to handle elements of a response on their own in the absence of a national plan. If that disease doesn’t provide a sufficient model, other existing national plans for fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria or pandemic influenza might.


Elon Musk


Not At Risk?

In a New York Times interview with tech journalist Kara Swisher, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that he’s not planning on getting a COVID vaccine once it becomes available.

“You won’t get a vaccine,” Swisher mused. “Why is that?”

“I’m not at risk for COVID, nor are my kids,” Musk answered.

Musk has had a complicated track record when it comes to the ongoing pandemic — and as he himself admitted to Swisher, it’s “a hot button issue where rationality takes a backseat.”

But it’s undeniably been a weird turn for the scientifically-minded entrepreneur, who’s spread misleading information about the virus and infamously tweeted in early March that he predicted there to be “close to zero new cases” by the “end of April.” He also opined that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.”

Back To Work

Musk also became embroiled in a heated back and forth in May with local authorities in Alameda County, home of one of his electric car company’s factories. Musk pushed for a premature reopening of the facility, despite local lockdown rules forbidding a return to workplaces.

To Musk, it seems as though the pandemic is essentially just nature taking its course. When Swisher pushed him, telling him that “this storm is coming again,” Musk retorted with a blunt “everybody dies.”

Shut It Down

Musk also shut down when Swisher asked him to put himself in the shoes of Tesla workers called back to work during a time when the nation’s battle with COVID-19 was only getting started. In fact, days after restarting production, workers started testing positive for the coronavirus.

“Let’s just move on,” Musk pleaded. “Kara, I do not want to get into a debate about COVID, this situation.”

READ MORE: Elon Musk: ‘AI Doesn’t Need to Hate Us to Destroy Us’ [The New York Times]

More on Musk: Elon Musk: “I Feel a Bit Bad About Hating on the Oil and Gas Industry”

The lie that invented racism

John Biewen|TEDxCharlottesville

To understand and eradicate racist thinking, start at the beginning. That’s what journalist and documentarian John Biewen did, leading to a trove of surprising and thought-provoking information on the “origins” of race. He shares his findings, supplying answers to fundamental questions about racism — and lays out an exemplary path for practicing effective allyship.

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxCharlottesville, an independent event. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.


John Biewen · Journalist, documentarianJohn Biewen tells stories that explore human experience and hard truths about American society.


A Rising Tide of Authoritarianism Co-Exists With Advancing Forms of Participatory and Direct Democracy

For Global Democracy, These Are the Worst of Times, But Also the Best of Times | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Panelists from “Should Global Democracy Become More Direct?” Composite shot taken from Vimeo.


Right now, it can feel like the worst of times for democracy. It also can feel like the best of times.

Democracy is under stress around the world from authoritarians and dictatorships—even as citizens make steady and historic progress in advancing newer forms of participatory and direct democracy, said a panel of democracy scholars and practitioners at a Zócalo/Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy event, titled “Should Global Democracy Become More Direct?

The four panelists appeared together via live-stream from their home countries, all touching the Pacific Ocean—Chile, Mexico, Taiwan, and the U.S.—and told stories of democratic setbacks and advances from Brazil to Switzerland, and from Turkey to Latvia. But they focused on tools of participatory and direct democracy that allow citizens themselves to set budgets, determine government spending, enact laws, and amend constitutions.

“Direct democracy is a real opportunity to move away from, and imagine bigger, than the status quo,” said panelist Shari Davis, the California-based executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, which works across the U.S. and around the world to help communities make democratic decisions in the times between elections.

The evening’s moderator, Noēma Magazine executive editor Kathleen Miles, pressed the panelists on ways that direct democracy—which can refer broadly to popular votes on issues—can be used both for good and for ill.

Davis, the Participatory Budgeting Project leader, said that communities and nations, in trying to democratize and move past previous traumas, “are up against really oppressive systems … and those systems defend themselves very well.” Nevertheless, she noted that participatory budgeting had advanced rapidly from its beginnings in Brazil 30 years ago. Today, participatory budgeting, which refers to processes in which everyday people decide budgets for their communities’ regions, is practiced around the United States and the world. As people participate directly in democratic decision-making, they learn and make advances, Davis said, pointing to a current project in the Phoenix public schools where students themselves reimagine and redesign the policies and budgets for their school safety.

When evaluating direct democracy, it’s important to remember that different countries do direct democracy differently, said the Uruguayan political scientist David Altman, another panelist, who teaches at Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, and is a leading scholar of direct democracy globally. The details of the process—from how money influences the voting to how courts protect minority rights when people vote on issues—matter greatly.

It’s especially important to be aware of the source of a proposal for a law or budget or constitution for direct democratic vote. “Does it come from the citizens from a process of signature gathering? Or does it come from the authorities?” Altman asked, pointing to recent troubling votes, from Russia to Guinea, in which leaders used referenda to lift limits on their own terms.

It’s common to experience both democratic progress and regression at the same time and place, said panelist Greta Rios, founder of Mexico City-based youth participation group Ollín. She noted that Mexico City was supposed to enact a new participatory democracy law, but that she had to sue when the local congress failed to act and also stripped away the existing law. Rios won the lawsuit. “One of the lessons I learned is that powerful citizenship can really help us,” she said.“Direct democracy is a real opportunity to move away from, and imagine bigger, than the status quo,” said panelist Shari Davis, the California-based executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project.

But Rios also noted that, under the label of direct democracy, leaders can do very anti-democratic things. She criticized the way Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador uses “consultas” that don’t meet democratic standards to advance his populist agenda. Recently, he’s been demanding a referendum on whether to prosecute his presidential predecessors.

In response to a question from Miles about whether direct democracy represented tyranny of the majority, Rios quipped, “I would love to feel under the danger of the tyranny of the majority.” Even as politicians try to use participatory processes, too few everyday citizens are participating. Greater citizen participation in direct democracy is the way to improve the process, she suggested.

The fourth panelist, Michael Kau, a former Taiwanese diplomat and Brown University professor who founded the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, talked about Taiwan’s uneven progress in advancing democracy over the past 30 years. The process can be frustrating, he said. A 2003 law establishing the referendum in Taiwan was so weak that it was dubbed “The Bird’s Cage,” with real democracy being the confined bird.

A 2018 update of the law opened up direct democracy and occasioned nationwide votes on multiple measures. But there have also been setbacks, including Chinese interference in democratic politics. “In some ways we are making progress,” he said. “In some ways there is still a lot of confusion.”

“We are still debating a lot how the law can be more liberalized, and reasonable,” Kau added.

The event closed with a wide range of questions from the moderator and from the online audience, who tuned in from around the world. In response to a question about whether the U.S., which has never had a national referendum, should allow such votes, Davis of the Participatory Budgeting Project said that the public’s desire to make decisions is clear, but that the country also needs to change its systems and culture to make sure democratic votes on issues are accessible to all, and advance equality and inclusion.

“We can’t get it right unless those voices that have historically been excluded are centered,” Davis said.

Other questions involved how to keep direct democracy from infringing on human rights (Altman pointed to a pre-vote check on measures in Bolivia), about internet signature gathering for petitions (Kau said there was progress in Taiwan), direct democracy’s growth at the local level, and how to create more space and time for people with difficult jobs and caregiving obligations to participate (Davis said that the best ideas for including more people come from listening to communities).

A final question involved the global problem of climate change, and whether direct and participatory process could create a global democratic process for collective action and legislation.

In response, Altman, author of two leading books on direct democracy worldwide, said “it’s absolutely something that sounds cool,” but that it’s impossible at the moment because the world lacks global institutions to make such a process fruitful.

In democracy, Altman concluded, “there is no silver bullet. Representation has its problems. Direct democracy has its problems. Every aspect of democracy has its problems.”

JOE MATHEWS writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square.

Aries Full Moon on October 1, 2020

Wendy Cicchetti

The Aries Full Moon is the first of two Full Moons this month, a phenomenon that tends to happen only every two to three years. It is also unusual in that it is the year’s Harvest Moon, which usually falls in September. The Harvest Moon is always the Full Moon nearest the autumn equinox, so it occurs in October this year — again, something that tends to only be the case every three years. These timing and Moon-naming anomalies are partly related to Indigenous tribes who established the names, working with nature itself rather than a computed calendar system. It reminds us that those Julian and Gregorian calendar systems are slightly out of synch with the true rhythms of nature’s cycles.

This may be reflective of a hidden tension between nature’s own ways and the human desire to use our intelligence and systems to control life. Either way, the anomalies around this Full Moon truly emphasize Aries singularity, as well as the theme of a ripe harvest delivering a gift of plenty. Or at least that is what is most hoped for with a good harvest! Given the struggles the world has seen this year, however, nothing seems especially normal. Therefore, we can take something from the symbolism of the Harvest Moon coming a little later. It may represent our rewards also arriving later or the harvest being a little leaner, even.

If there is something that Aries tends to like, it is being able to lead the way. Yet the challenges of nature itself require us to be followers; people catching up with something else leading. Even so, new situations can challenge us to produce fresh ideas, and that is the hidden gift of this special Aries Harvest Full Moon. For all the struggles and losses that we may have endured, new energy has also been generated. Our life force finds its own way forward, wherever it can — and, if we are lucky, we find that we can run with these challenges and still somehow manage to come up smelling of roses.

The Sun and Moon are not closely aspected by any major planets, which makes their opposition feel a bit oppressive and oddly lonely. This aptly reflects the impact of government legislation on social distancing in many situations where the COVID-19 pandemic has especially threatened life expectancy. Many of us have been restricted to our own company, just mixing with family in the same household or a few others externally. Such isolation can have a long-term impact for some people, but it doesn’t have to be all negative. While this concentration of energy has proved too intense for some, it will have opened up greater connection and deeper intimacy for others.

There is a wide square, almost a 9° orb, from the Aries Full Moon–Libra Sun opposition to Jupiter in Capricorn, echoing limitation and restrictions. Yet Jupiter is a symbol of a broader, wider expanse. It is as though we want and need to stretch our arms, legs, and hearts — not to mention needing stimulation for the intellect. These physical, mental, and emotional states of being and doing may well be connected. Potentially, the Harvest Moon gives us a stronger sense of this — and if we understand the challenges we face, we can then seek solutions.

So that no situation becomes overwhelming, deal with challenges one stage at a time. We can begin by pinning down any problems on our lists, and then, one at a time, take as much action as possible. If we’re dealing with difficult people, the Aries message is to pick our battles carefully. Heeding a hint from the planets in Capricorn, we can take time to work out where we need to react promptly and where it benefits us to wait until a sober, well-thought through strategy emerges.

This article is from the Mountain Astrologer, written by Diana Collis.