Book Review by Jefferson Harman
The review below is presented here as it was originally published in MARCI Magazine, in the Fall of 2009 (with minor edits). During that time, Helen had retired from live performances and was concentrating on her other interests, including hypnotherapy and genealogy. I am reposting it here in honor of Helen’s 75th birthday, October 25, 2016. I have included followup notes and links at the end of the review, below.
If your memory of singer Helen Reddy is her 1972 hit, “I Am Woman” you may only know half the story. Although her roots are in show business, these days Helen is a clinical hypnotherapist. She speaks at events throughout the world on subjects ranging from past-life regression to awakening your intuition, and she was recently the keynote speaker at the Edgar Cayce Conference in Virginia Beach.
A third generation performer, Helen was born in Melbourne, Victoria, six weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her parents were stars in their own right in Australian vaudeville, radio and TV. Helen began singing onstage at age five, but it was an out-of-body experience at age eleven that started her on a road of spirituality that she has continued throughout her life.
Video of Helen Reddy performing “I Am Woman” before a live audience on “The Midnight Special” music television series, February 2, 1973. Helen was also the host of the show until 1975.
In this book, Helen takes us along with her as her life unfolds, allowing readers to see what informed her ground-breaking feminist anthem. We get to meet the girl who dreamed of stardom as well as the woman who left it all behind to pursue the healing arts. And along the way she became the first Australian to have her own network TV show in the USA, the first to have three number one singles in one year and a career in which she achieved international success in every medium of performance.
Helen is also a founding member of the Tasmanian Genealogical Society and writes extensively throughout her book about her family history, which extends all the way back to Australia’s First Fleet. In a chapter called “Royalty and Reincarnation”, Helen details her intuitions on the House of Windsor, including a detailed chart of who came back as whom and why they did. It’s a fascinating read and a wonderful insight into group karma.
There is only one point on which I found myself in disagreement with the author; when she states the way that psychics should be paid for their work. But it is easy to overlook these two sentences in a book that held my attention throughout. I found it thoroughly entertaining and enlightening.
When I wrote this review in 2009, it was for the holistic publication, MARCI Magazine. You can see that the overtones within it are geared to their readership. It was also written at a time in her life when Helen had retired from show business entirely. After a decade long hiatus, boosted by a performance at her sister’s birthday party, she returned doing to live performances in 2012. I am happy to say I was able to see her perform on July 29, 2013 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (Bergen PAC), seated beside Jim Keaton, her longtime friend and manager of her fan club. I had seen her perform live many times over the years, and she remains one of my greatest musical inspirations.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Helen face to face a few times, and always found her to be gracious and approachable. In fact, the first time I met her was a funny story, but I will save that for another time.
To my friends who love Helen and her music as I do, this review is for you. To Helen, thank you for all the years of inspiration and entertainment. It is always a pleasure seeing you in person and I hope to do so again soon. I wish you the happiest and healthiest of birthdays with a lot of love.
– Jefferson Harman
Notes and Links
Helen performed and toured on a limited schedule throughout 2013 until retiring from live performances in 2015. She currently resides at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California. You can learn more about Helen online at her Wikipedia page here. Also see her discography here.
The memoir mentioned above is also accompanied by a beautiful and thorough collection of her hits spanning three decades entitled, The Woman I Am: The Definitive Collection. There is also an audiobook version read by the author. You can purchase the CDs and download the mp3s here. In addition to other recordings, all 12 studio albums Helen recorded for EMI are now available worldwide. Extremely rare and previously unreleased Audio and Video are available for purchase or download through her website. Listen any time to all this rare music featured on her online Exclusive Music page here.
Additional Links for Helen Reddy
Helen’s Official Facebook Page can be found here. She also has a worldwide fan base that is very dedicated to preserving her work and keeping it alive online. Here is the best resource for Helen’s videos on YouTube, Reddy Rocked the 70s. Music trivia buffs will want to connect with her trivia page on Facebook, Helen Reddy Trivia Page. You can also find Helen Reddy at Amazon and iTunes.
© 2016 Adam Rothenberg & Jefferson Harman. All rights reserved.