♫ I Am Woman ♫

I already had yesterday’s music post, Reach Out I’ll Be There by the Four Tops, on the schedule when my dear friend Ellen emailed me that Helen Reddy had died at age 78.  I am a day late, but this is my mini tribute to Helen Reddy, a fantastic musical artist.

The year was 1972 when at the height of what is now called the ‘feminist movement’, our fight to be treated as equals, Australian singer Helen Reddy released the single I Am Woman.

From The Guardian

In her pomp during the early 1970s no woman sold more records or scored more No 1 singles in a row (six) on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart; nor did any other female vocalist excite quite such opposing views among the public. Hipsters were repelled by her silky vocal style and smooth arrangements, with Alice Cooper dubbing her “the queen of housewife rock”; conservatives, on the other hand, were unsettled by I Am Woman’s call to arms.

Accepting the 1973 Grammy award in the best female pop vocal category, Reddy rubbed salt into the wound by saying: “I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible.”

She had not expected the song to become a hit, let alone a cultural touchstone. She wrote the lyrics (the music was composed by an Australian guitarist friend, Ray Burton) on impulse, having lain in bed one night and taken stock of the grinding struggle to break through in the music business.

As a jobbing singer in Australia and then Los Angeles, she had been belittled and harassed by male executives and performers, and consequently became part of a Hollywood women’s discussion group. What emerged the day she wrote I Am Woman was effortlessly, unequivocally anthemic: “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore … I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.”

It caught the mood of what was then called the women’s liberation movement just as it was becoming an unstoppable wave; nearly 50 years later, the phrase “hear me roar” is part of the lexicon.

I Am Woman charted at #1 in the U.S. and Canada, #2 in Reddy’s home base of Australia, and did not make even a ripple in the UK. However, in 1974 her song Angie Baby hit #1 in the UK, her only UK hit at #5.

In addition to her signature song, two others are favourites of mine, and since this is a tribute, though a small one, I shall play all three tonight, though I will only include lyrics to I Am Woman.  I shall also post Angie Baby, for while I don’t recall this one, it did top the U.S. charts at #1, and I have many readers in the UK who may remember it.

I Am Woman
Helen Reddy


I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again


Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman


You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul


Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman


I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand


Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can face anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman


I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman


Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Helen Reddy / Ray Burton
I Am Woman lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

My other two favourites are You and Me Against the World

And I Don’t Know How to Love Him

And last, but not least, Angie Baby

R.I.P. Helen Reddy, and thank you for sharing your beautiful voice, your extraordinary talent.  You will be missed.

 

19 thoughts on “♫ I Am Woman ♫

  1. Pingback: ♫ I Am Woman ♫ | The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

  2. Love it, and loved her. Great song and great lady. Saw her perform at the San Joaquin Country Fair not long before she stopped touring. You could tell she wasn’t happy doing it anymore, but her songs and voice were still great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. YOU are a true GEM…meaning that you are precious but feel free to think of yourself as another “Gorgeous Grandma” too! I could not have expected this completely divine tribute to Helen Reddy, though she is most deserving of it. Irving Berlin composed a beautiful well known song back in 1927 and the title seems fitting here : “The Song is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On)”. “I Am Woman” will linger on forever! Thank-YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

    • A revisit was in order! My “All-Time Greatest Hits” album contains all of these songs and more, but it is in need of a rest and watching Helen perform is a bonus! I raise my glass to Helen and to YOU! Thank-you, again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww … thank you so much, dear Ellen! The title to the Irving Berlin song you mention is fitting both for Helen Reddy and so many others who have died, but left us beautiful music to enjoy forever.

      Like

  4. Jill, I had heard that. Helen Reddy’s “I am woman” was a timely anthem for women that still lasts until today. I saw where there is a movie coming out called “The Glorias” about the life of Gloria Steinem and it would not surprise me if this song appears therein. “Angie Baby” is an interesting little song as well, given its plot. And, she did a powerful “Delta Dawn” as well. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

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