Have you discovered Helen Reddy yet

Have you discovered Helen Reddy yet
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It’s obvious from this recording that Lillian Roxon prides herself on being able to identify which acts will make it big. Her friend Helen Reddy topped the charts in 1972 with her women’s liberation anthem ‘I Am Woman’.

Even the title of this piece reveals Roxon's love for Helen Reddy’s music – with the subtle but insistent assertion that if you haven’t already heard of Reddy then you are surely about to.

In accordance with the style of New Journalism Roxon inserts herself into the narrative explaining her personal connection with Reddy and how much she loves her music. However, ever the clear-eyed critic (even with friends), she doesn’t miss the chance to register her disapproval of the fast arrangement of ‘I Am Woman’.

This engaging mixture of subjectivity and objectivity enhances the trust between Roxon and her listeners. She leaves you with the impression she’s a fiercely passionate fan and someone who’s going to tell it how it is.

Reddy credits Roxon with giving her the idea to write ‘I Am Woman’. Roxon’s influential article about the 25,000-woman march marking the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the US appeared on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on 28 August 1970.

It began ‘This is the hardest piece I have ever had to write in my life … I am supposed to be telling it briskly and factually and without bias. Fat chance. I’m so biased, I can hardly think straight.’ She goes on to say ‘Mainly, I think, what women want is to be taken seriously. Being a woman has always been a bit of joke. Women don’t even take one another seriously.’

This is an episode of the radio show Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’ produced in 1971 and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States.

Reddy's song 'I Am Woman' was added to the NFSA's Sounds of Australia in 2009.

Notes by Beth Taylor