29: I Am Woman – Helen Reddy

NeilTop 30 - Songs Of The 1970s

Entered Top 40s: 21 December 1972
Entry Point: 40
Highest Chart: 3
Weeks In: 23
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The world was a very different place 45 years ago in 1972 – three weeks before this song entered the charts Gough Whitlam had been swept to power for the first time, the Australian soldiers were being withdrawn from Vietnam War and the fight for women’s rights was starting to gain some serious momentum. This song came at a perfect time for the women’s movement and became an anthem for them.

The song was included on Helen Reddy’s album I Don’t Know How To Love Him but received little attention until it was used in the closing credits in a movie. Capitol Records asked Reddy to write an additional verse to make it more suitable for radio airplay, in case the film took off (hands up if you remember Stand Up and Be Counted). In the end, the song became the first song to be recorded by an Australian-born artist (by now Reddy was living and working in the US) to reach number one on the Billboard 100 and the first-Australian written song to win a Grammy.

I Am Woman is a good song but it is the impact it had on the world in and since 1972 that makes it worthy of its place in this countdown.