Saturday, May 23, 2009

Helen Reddy

I don't know much about Helen Reddy, but I've always loved her in Pete's Dragon. I didn't know she was Australian until I got into this whole Australian obsession.

I have one song of hers that is not from Pete's Dragon. I call it the unhealthy parenting song. The real name is "You and Me Against the World". On the surface it sounds very loving and sweet. But I think deep down it's controlling and suffocating.

You and me against the world
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world
When all the others turn their back and walk away
You can count on me to stay

What I would ask if I was that child....why would everyone else turn their back on me? Am I worthless? Is the world made up of totally cruel people? Are you the only nice one out there?
Yeah, I can count on you to stay. I can also probably count on you yanking me back again every time I try to get away.

Now I'm not dismissing the fact that there are situations where parent-child teams are fighting against the world. One example is if you're in an Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatcher situation. Then it truly might be the two of you against the world.

I did have a we-against-the-world feeling with Jack for awhile. It was from when he was about two months to five months. He pretty much hated everyone but me. He was against the world. But he got over it.

I think in all relationships there's healthy love and unhealthy love.

Healthy love says I love you and I'll be there for you. You can count on me.

Unhealthy love says No one will ever love you as much as I love you. I'm the one person you can count on.

First of all....that's vain.

Second of's insulting.

Helen Reddy should be ashamed of herself for that damn song. No, I'm joking.

Okay, let's go talk to Lord Wiki.

Little Helen was born on 25 October 1941.

Another Scorpio.

Speaking of that, I'm kind of tired of being on a cusp. Jack found this cute website yesterday that had kid horoscopes. They have this thing where you can see how your signs match up with your friend's sign. We did it for Jack and a few people. I've seen things like this before, but liked how this one was written. Yeah, probably because it's written for kids and I'm childish.

I wanted to do it for myself, but I didn't know if I should put me down as a Sagittarius or Scorpio.

Anyway, Birthday Website Time!

Reddy is a 5 in numerology. That's the freedom one. I picture a 5 Scorpio as someone who really needs their distance. I picture that person as better off running around the world and having sex with many different people. I don't think they'd be happy in a traditional marriage.

Who knows though if Reddy fits her signs. She might. She might not.

Reddy was born in Melbourne. Her parents were both in show business. They were part of the Australian Vaudeville scene. One parent was Irish and the other was Jewish, but I'm not sure which was which.

Reddy went to school at Tintern Girls Grammar School. I don't think I've encountered that name before.

Lord Wiki has a list of notable alumni from that school and Reddy isn't on it. I wonder what that means? Did Lord Wiki make a mistake somewhere?

Reddy performed with her parents on stage from a very early age.

When she was a older teenager, she got married and had a child. I wonder how old she was.

In 1966 she won a contest on the TV show Bandstand. This enabled her to move to New York.

In New York, she met an agent from the William Morris Company. They lived together for four days and then got married. He also became her agent. Wow.

They moved to Chicago and then made their way to Los Angeles. Hey, I lived in Chicago in 1972 and 1973. I wonder if this was the same year she was there! We might have even run into each other. Well, I was a baby then, so I probably didn't run much yet. I might have CRAWLED into her.

No, wait. It couldn't have happened. Lord Wiki says she was in Los Angeles by 1970. This is when she finally got her recording contract. Her career quickly zoomed off. In 1971, she did a cover of "I Don't Know How To Love Him". I've actually never heard her version before. I like it. Her accent is very interesting. It doesn't sound exactly Australian...maybe more Southern?

In the United States, the song went up to #13 in the charts. People started paying attention. How old was she then? Let me do the math....

Okay. She was thirty.

In 1972, Reddy cowrote a song called "I am Woman". Apparently this is a huge important song. I've never heard it until least that I can remember. It was #1 on the US charts, but according to Lord Wiki it took awhile for it to get there.

I do like the lyrics a lot.

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

In 1972, Reddy won a Grammy. In her acceptance speech she referred to to God as a she. I wonder if that caused a stir back then. It was the 70's so I kind of doubt it. These days, it seems rather commonplace. I don't think it would be that shocking for most people.

Reddy became very popular in America during the 1970's. I'm wondering if my parents liked her at all. I wonder if I heard her music when I was toddling about the apartment. It's not someone I've heard them talking about though, so I'm doubting it.

Lord Wiki lists some of the songs.

Delta Dawn went to #1 in 1973. My sister's name is Dawn. She would have been about three when that song was popular. I wonder if my parents played it for her. Okay, this song actually does sound familiar to me. But other people have sung the song...Bette Midler, Tanya Tucker, Waylon Jennings.....

It's kind of a depressing song; at least from what I'm reading from the lyrics. I think it's about getting old and dying. It's probably not the thing you want to sing to your toddler.

Here is Reddy singing "You and Me Against the World" to Kermit the Frog. Great. She's pushing co-dependent relationships with amphibians.

That song came out in 1974. She didn't write it. American Paul Williams wrote it. He also wrote a song called "I Won't Last a Day Without You". I'm not sure if that sounds very healthy either.

BUT Williams co-wrote the "Rainbow Connection" and I think that's one of the most awesome songs ever.

Oh! He also wrote one of my favorite songs!!! "Flying Dreams" from The Secret of Nimh!

I think it's a MUCH healthier love song.

Love it seems Made flying dreams
So hearts could soar
Heaven sent These wings were meant
To prove, once more
That love is the key

Oh yeah. Back to Reddy....

I'm not going to go over all her songs.

Lord Wiki says the last song she did to hit the charts was in 1981. This was I Can't Say Good-bye To You. It sounds like something Glenn Close might sing in Fatal Attraction.

You say it would be better if we stopped seeing each other
if you had only met me first when you were free 'cause now you've got commitment

i should not expect things from you.....
i can't say goodbye to you no matter how i tried
you're such a part of me without you,
i would die deep, in the heart of me

i know that you and i were meant to be be together i can't tell you goodbye

Lord Wiki says Reddy helped launch Olivia Newton John's career. She encouraged her to come to the United States. And then John met someone at Reddy's house who had the connections to put her in Grease. Oh well....he was the film's producer. That's a pretty nifty connection.

Lord Wiki pretty much glosses over Pete's Dragon. What's the deal with that? I LOVE Pete's Dragon. And I love its lyrics.

I'll copy a few of my favorites.

There's It's Not Easy....

Life is lollipops and raindrops with the one you love
Someone you can always be with
Argue and agree with

I like how it gives this idealistic version of love, but then switches to realism. Sometimes we argue with those we love, and that's okay. I suppose the always be with part can be too intense if taken literally.

Candle on the Water is a classic.

A cold and friendless tide has found you
Don't let the stormy darkness pull you down
I'll paint a ray of hope around you

I think this is a healthier way of saying what Paul Williams tried to say. It's not saying I'm the only one who is there for you. It's saying life is tough for you right now. So, I'm here to help. And it's just referring to one unfriendly tide. It's not talking about the whole damn world being mean and cruel.

These lines have some frantic elements to it.

Remember the night when you first confided
Things went so right that we both decided
Now we're together and life is perfect Don't ever disappear

But since I have some abandonment issues sometimes, I can relate to it. Although my attitude is more along the lines of. Hey, things are too perfect here. Somethings going to go wrong. You're going to disappear, aren't you?

This part is a little bit like the Paul Williams song.

We're walking down a road of our own
The rain can never fall
I'm glad I don't have to be alone

It kind of seems to imply that life will be great as long as no outsiders intrude.

I do love these lines from the same song.

You know what to say when I want direction 
You don't turn away when I need protection 
Your voice is the sound of an angel singing 
Music I wait to hear.

And then there's these pro-immigrant lyrics of this song.

There's room for everyone in this world
If everyone makes some room
Won't you move over and share this world
Everyone make some room
Even a dragon deserves a place, a wide open space With no reins, no chains
He wants to play games, dance with you Give him a chance to sing his song
He only wants to belong

I think Julian Burnside should sing this song next time he's doing a speech about asylum seekers.

Oh! Lord Wiki says that Pushing Daisies had an episode that paid homage to Pete's Dragon! I wish I saw it. I've never actually watched that show before. Have any of you? Is it good? Is it still on? Well it is, but it looks like it's going off the air. Sad. I guess I'll catch it on reruns someday...somewhere.

All right. Let me get back on track. Reddy moved to Norfolk island in 2002. Later she moved to Sydney.

She has Addison's disease which is a kidney problem.

She's retired from the music world and is now a clinical hypnotherapist. Jack would love that. One of his current obsessions is hypnosis. He's convinced that soon he'll be able to use mind control on me. Lovely. If I start acting weird, you'll know why.

Ah, maybe I should say, if I start acting NORMAL......

Lord Wiki has her marriage information. She was with a guy for twelve years. That's pretty good....1983-1995.

Oh and her marriage to the agent lasted a fairly long time too. 1968-1981. With him she had a another child.

Well, that's it for Lord Wiki.

I'm going to go feed us some lunch. Then I'll be back to look elsewhere around the Internet.....

I'm back.

Here's her official page. It has a cool collage on it.

The website acts a bit possessed on my Firefox browser. I had to open it in Opera.

It's hard for me to link to individual pages unfortunately.

Reddy has a flower named after her in Holland. Cool.

In the height of her career, she lost both her parents. I can imagine that was really hard.

She has strong spiritual faith.

I personally haven't felt very spiritual lately. I think it's because I had a hiatus in lucid dreaming and my lucid dreams are a huge part of my spirituality. But last night I had my first lucid dream in weeks. I'm very happy about that. It was very short and involved Thaao Penghlis on a big screen.

I'm thinking Reddy might be one of my people. She's all into weird spiritual stuff. I wonder if she does past life regressions. I did that once. I wish the woman who I saw lived in Fort Worth. She's a clinical psychologist. If she was around, I probably would want to seek professional help. I'd love to work with someone who deals with both spiritual and psychological issues.

Anyway, in June, Reddy is going to be in the United States speaking at a conference called Paranormal Exploration Transformation Conference.

On her site, Reddy has a list of books that she recommends. This should give me insight into her character.

She recommends:

1. The Feminine Mystique (Okay, so she's probably still a feminist)

2. So Moses was Born What is this? Okay, it's written by someone who claims to have a past life in Biblical times. I always find myself a bit skeptical of these books. I won't say it's not true. I have no idea. But I take it all with a grain of salt. I believe in reincarnation. BUT I think it would be very easy to make something up about knowing famous people from the past, and make lots of money off of it.

3. In Defense of Food This book pushes real food vs. the stuff most of us are eating. The book's website says In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become. That actually sounds fairly interesting. Have any of you read it?

4. The Greatest Story ever Sold This is one of many Anti-Bush books she has her on list. So we're on the same page there.

All right. I'm tired of listing stuff already. Yes, I'm lazy. Jack "hypnotized" me earlier today. In one of the sessions he told me to lay down on the couch and do nothing. I told him I don't need hypnosis for THAT. I do it all the time.

Reddy names some films she likes.  I'll quickly list the ones I've heard of: Sicko, An Inconvenient Truth, What the Bleep Do We Know, and Who Killed the Electric Car.

I think Reddy is my kind of woman.

This website has some quotes from her.

I always believed that I could make it or I would never have spent so many years trying to get here.
Did she make it because she believed in herself? Or did she believe in herself because she somehow knew she was destined to make it?

I don't think any one person is the cause of all of someone else's problems.

That's kind of stating the obvious. I'm trying to imagine a situation where that would be false. Maybe two people stranded on an island, and it's all the fault of one person that they're stuck there? Yeah, that would work.

All right. I'm going to stop with the quotes. They confuse me because they don't give the context in which things were said.

Here's her MySpace page. She's very beautiful. I love seeing photos of beautiful women who are older than 50. It makes me feel inspired. The other day I was looking at my sister's People Magazine. They had this thing where they showed a famous woman for every age. I thought the women in their fifties were the prettiest.

Her last log in was on May 20. That's not too long ago.

I keep seeing her autobiography mentioned. I need to read it.

All right. Jack wants to play a game. I'll do that and then read this interview I just found...

Well, we didn't play the game. Jack wanted to play Clue Jr. but I couldn't find the directions. While I was searching online, he started playing with the little pieces. He's content doing that, so I'm going to write some more for awhile. Then we'll play a game together.

All right. The interview....

She lived in Chicago from 1967-1968. That's when my parents got married. And they got married in Chicago. Do I know where? No, I forgot. That's sad. At least I know the date though. It was August 20....the same date as Jack's birth. What's funny is my nephew's birthday is the same day as my sister's anniversary. My birthday was around the same day as my grandparent's anniversary...but not the exact day.

I really go off on tangents, don't I?

Reddy believes in out-of-body experiences. She says It only takes one [ experience ] to understand that you are not your body; you are inside a body—one that you can leave and still exist. I've read other celebrity autobiographies that talk about this...Ellen Burstyn is one. There was another as well, but I forgot. Maybe Goldie Hawn?

I wonder if that's true. Does experience make us spiritual, or is it beliefs? My experiences made me more spiritual. I've never had a classic definite out-of-body experience, but I've had very intense lucid dreams that have felt like something that's more than just dreams. They feel like out-of-body experiences at times. In fact, I have instances where I feel myself leaving my body. Those experiences open my mind to the possibility of there being a spiritual world. But since they happen within a dream, the experience is somewhat ambiguous and I can't take it as definite proof of anything.

I'm wondering though.... If an atheist had an out-of-body experience, would it make them a believer? Or would they use science to dismiss it. Would they discount the whole thing?

Reddy believes in spirits and angels. She doesn't believe in negative energies. I used to believe this. Now I don't. I believe in evil. I believe in negative energy.

Reddy believes Elvis Presley was King Tut.


She says,
And I do believe that people of a certain spiritual path have a succession of famous lives, and the object of the lesson there is to become immune to adulation. You can't be a true spiritual teacher if your ego is swayed by the crowd.

I like that. I think it could be true.

Her last performance was in 2002. She doesn't plan to go back to it.

She does do past life regressions.

She says she loves living in Sydney, and says it reminds her of how America used to be. Bill Bryson said the same thing.

Okay. Onto another interview.

This one is from Talking Heads.

Reddy was the first Australian to win a Grammy.

Reddy says she recognized and was bothered by sexism at the age of four. That's pretty impressive. If I didn't have a child like Jack, I'd probably be skeptical. But I do have a child like Jack so I can believe it.

Her professional debut happened in Perth.

She stayed with her grandmother a lot while her parents were performing.

Her father had an attraction to America--I guess in the way that I have a thing for Australia. Reddy believed that being a star in America made one a global star. That's probably true in some ways.

She got married when she was nineteen. Her marriage ended during her pregnancy. I think that can be one of the hardest times on a marriage; that and the first year of the baby's life.

Reddy's prize for Bandstand was going to New York. She had high expectations and left with her three-year-old daughter. Then it ended up there was no recording contract waiting for her. What happened?

She struggled for five years before finding success.

She has alcoholism in her family tree. She's not a big fan of the substance, but will have a glass of wine every so often.

Her son was born the same week as "I am Woman" reached the top of the charts. Wow. She says it was an emotional time for her. I can imagine that's a bit of an understatement.

She's not a big fan of the 1980's. She says,
The '80s were not a good period. Not for me and certainly not for music. That's a bit opinionated. But I probably agree with her. I like 80's music, but I prefer 70's music. And the 1980's weren't too happy for me. The beginning was nice. The late 80's were rough. I'm not sure if that's about the decade though. I think it's about leaving childhood. I think I had a rough time going from being a child to a teenager. I was always very immature. I still am. The difference is now I'm PROUD of my youthful attitude. As a teen, I was ashamed of it.

During Reddy's successful year (if I'm reading this right) all these bad things happened to her. Her mom died in July. Her dad died in September. She was almost in a plane crash. Her aunt got cancer. Reddy says, And so, people were constantly, you know, congratulating me on all the success, and what have you, and I was just a total mess inside because every time the phone rang, I'd think, "My God, who else has died?"

My death year was 1985...or maybe 1986. I think 1985. The first child I ever babysat died of some kind of horrible immunity problem. I think it was my first real experience with death and dying. Jason was the brother of my younger sister's best friend. So Melissa learned about death really early on. I think she was in second grade when he died. He was a really smart adorable child. He reminds me of Jack. The dynamics in my relationship to Jack reminds me a lot of the relationship I had with Jason. I feel we relate to each other in the same way. I've sometimes imagined that maybe Jack is Jason reincarnated. Who knows....

Anyway, a few months after Jason died, my grandfather died. And then sometime around all that, my great grandpa died. Or maybe it was my great grandma? I kind of forget. Oops.

Reddy's tragedies were compounded by the fact that her husband had drug problems.

In the early 2000's she found out one of her ancestors was on the First Fleet. He had been sent to Norfolk Island. Then Reddy moved there and lived on the farm that he had once owned.

She says Sydney is her favorite city. Cool.

I think it's neat that she left Australia and then came back.

Reddy says, Well, you know, I am a sixth generation Australian, and I was born and raised here and spent the first 24.5 years of my life here. So, there was always a very, very strong attachment.

She talks about her out-of-body experience. It happened at school. She fainted and then saw her body from above.

Reddy says she kept it a secret for many years. She was afraid people would label her as weird and crazy.

I'm tired of doing the Twitter thing. I'm going to skip it for today.

I feel I should end this now, but I feel kind of attached to Helen Reddy. I don't want to leave her yet. It's like that song. "I Can't Say Good-Bye To You".

But I guess I shall say good-bye. I've been working on this way too long. One day I'll get her book, and that way I can say hello again.


  1. Holy cow GWWSWA!

    that is not a blogpost, it's a BIOGRAPHY.

    ditto on the Judy Davis one
    (which I really enjoyed reading cos I like her too)

  2. A couple of other interesting bits.

    Her older sister, Toni Lamond is an Australian showbiz legend. Toni's son, Tony has also performed here, in the UK, and in the USA...

    And she and Colleen McCullough are also cousins.

    I interviewed Helen several years ago and she was really interesting. The audio is no longer available online, but I have it somewhere.

  3. F.G Marshall-Stacks,

    Thank you. I think!?!

    Please excuse my ignorance, but I have no idea what GWWSWA means.

    I tried googling and had no luck.

    James: Thank you for the info. I didn't learn any of that in my research. I really want to read her biography. I had no idea about her being cousins (by marriage) with McCullough.

    So what was it like interviewing her? Do you have the transcript of the interview...or was it on the link? I need to check again. I kind of looked at it fast.

    Going to look now....

  4. Holy cow - I needed to get a coffee in the midst of that post! Humungous... I have strong memories of singing along to I Am Woman (it excited me despite the fact I had no idea what it meant). To this day, it makes me feel strong.

    Delta Dawn is also a song I recall singing along to. It is a slightly disturbing song. But Reddy has such a strong voice, you kinda forgive the content.

    Am doing a Jimmy song at my place today... hope you are up for a visit!

  5. Bush Babe,

    I've been singing Delta Dawn all day! Although I don't know any of the words so I'm pretty much singing "Delta Dawn and then a lot of made up lyrics."

  6. I agree I knew so little about both these leading ladies.

    I find it very interesting.

    I love that song - I am woman !

    Thanks for the comment on my blog about NF. I will check it out.

  7. Trish,

    Hi! Thanks. I really enjoyed reading about Reddy. I think it was one of my more enjoyable subjects to research.

    I think your post was awesome and brave...and from the comments I saw you really did a great thing. A lot of people haven't heard of NF. You've increased awareness.

  8. I can't belieeeeeve you'd never heard of "I Am Woman"...I nearly fell off my ergonomic bench in the gladiator barracks when I read that!