Monday, October 25, 2010

"I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy

Birthday wishes go out today to Helen Reddy, whose 1972 feminist anthem I Am Woman remains one of the most culturally significant songs of the Seventies - and indeed of all time!

Co-written by fellow Australians Reddy and Ray Burton, the song was one of the first to encapsulate the aims of the feminist movement in a non-threatening* way... Nevertheless, radio stations were reluctant to play it, and Reddy's manager (her husband, Jeff Wald) booked extensive television appearances in order to build buzz for the song; many local radio stations eventually capitulated after they were inundated with calls by female listeners.

Wald's own persistence also paid off**... Having spent as much as 18 hours a day for weeks on the phone cajoling radio stations to play the track, I Am Woman hit #1 in the US on December 9th - some three months after its release; it's shown here on the TV series The Midnight Special, which performance was first broadcast on NBC in 1975, at a time when Helen Reddy was the show's permanent host.

*Pro-woman, as opposed to anti-man, I guess...
**In more ways than one... Reddy and Wald made an estimated $40 million from the song, which thanks to their lavish lifestyle they'd burned through by the time of their acrimonious divorce in 1982.
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