Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts

December 9, 1972

Helen Reddy's album cover for "I Am Woman." 

Australian-born singer Helen Reddy was searching for songs that “reflected the positive sense of self that I felt I’d gained from the women’s movement,” but she couldn’t find any. “I realized that the song I was looking for didn't exist,” she told Billboard magazine in 1973, “and I was going to have to write it myself."

“I Am Woman” was the only song Reddy would ever write, but it was enough for millions of listeners.

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong

I am invincible

I am woman

“I Am Woman” was heard on AM radio stations everywhere in 1972. Reddy’s lyrics said it all for a new generation:

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore.

Born to a theatrical family and beginning her touring career at age four, Reddy was the first Australian to win a Grammy Award. Beginning in 1971, she recorded 15 Top 40 hits, with three reaching No. 1 (“I Am Woman,” “Angie Baby,” and “Delta Dawn”). Her featured performance as a nun in the comedy Airport 1975 led to her nomination for a Golden Globe as Most Promising Female Newcomer. She also starred in the forgettable Pete’s Dragon, and sang the film’s Oscar-nominated song “Candle on the Water.”

Helen Reddy became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1974 and served for three years as California’s Parks and Recreation Commissioner. She retired in 2002 to begin a new career as a hypnotherapist and published the autobiography, "The Woman I Am" in 2006. She began performing again at a 2012 benefit for a high school in the Panorama City section of Los Angeles and toured regularly until her death in September 2020.

Sources: "'I Am Woman’ by Helen Reddy Tops the US Pop Charts', History.com; "Singer Helen Reddy Emerges from Retirement," CBS News; Biography, HelenReddy.com.

1 Comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Is Helen Reddy Jewish? 


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts." (Viewed on May 27, 2024) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/dec/09/1972/helen-reddy>.