‘Angie Baby’, Living In A World Of Make-Belief – RIP Helen Reddy

I was saddened to hear of the death of Helen Reddy last week. I can’t pretend to have ever been a avid fan, but I seem to know a fair few of her songs pretty well, despite her only having had one chart entry here in the UK. I think she was one of those artists who appealed to a wide audience, so was probably a regular guest on light entertainment shows back in the 1970s.

I had always thought she was American, but it seems not. She was born in Melbourne, Australia to a showbusiness family but after winning a trip to New York in a talent contest in 1966, she decided to relocate there. After getting a record contract in 1971, she went on to have many hits in the US including three which reached the No. 1 spot – I Am Woman, Delta Dawn and today’s featured song, Angie Baby.

Angie Baby by Helen Reddy:


This song was the only one that made it into the UK Singles Chart, back in 1975, and despite coming from the ‘Easy Listening’ camp, it really isn’t an easy listen at all. As each verse goes by, the story becomes weirder and weirder. Although we start off commiserating with the girl in the song, who seems to have been one of life’s loners, by the end of it we have gone on a bit of a fantasy trip with her and the listener is left to decide what happens to the boy in the song for themselves. Alan O’Day, the song’s writer, meant for that to happen.

Looking back at it all these years later, it strikes me how much has changed. First of all, it’s clearly a song about a girl living with some kind of mental illness, and if written today, the lyrics just wouldn’t contain the same kind of language at all. ‘You’re a little touched you know, Angie baby.’

Also, although many young people are spending far too much time in their rooms at the moment because of the pandemic, if our house is anything to go by, they don’t seem to spend too much time listening to ‘the rock and roll radio’. The kind of radio I grew up with just doesn’t exist any more for young people, which makes me sad, as it certainly did offer up a level of companionship for the teenage me. I don’t remember ever reducing a boy to a soundwave however, which is one of the interpretations of the final verse. Who would it have been I wonder if I had? A teen idol from the days before we discovered ‘real boys’ probably, David Cassidy or Donny Osmond, and it would all have been quite chaste.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that I discovered it was Helen Reddy who sang the song Candle On The Water from the Disney film Pete’s Dragon. This is a lesser-known film from that stable and one I can’t remember ever having watched. The song did however feature on a CD of Disney songs we had when DD was small, and as it was unfamiliar to me compared with the other more obvious inclusions on that disc, it was always the one I warmed to most when played on long car journeys. Thank you Helen for a beautiful song.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I’ve been trying to write this post since last week but have sadly been suffering from blogger’s block. Life had been getting back to some semblance of normality for a while, but we are most definitely going backwards again, and it does drag you down.

I know I’m not alone in this, but the fact I’ve not had a single night away from home all year, is really starting to get me down too. We’ve hung on in the hope work would come in for Mr WIAA, and I might get guests for the holiday hideaway, but not much going on at all at the moment. Thank goodness for my college course where I meet virtually with my classmates once a week. Perhaps it’s because I see too much of Angie in all of us at the moment that I’ve found it hard to revisit the song and write about it – A bit too close to home and a bit of an anthem for our times, except with Netflix substituted for ‘the rock and roll radio’. If I’m struggling, I can only imagine how awful it must be for young people right now.

Until next time….

Angie Baby Lyrics
(Song by Alan O’Day)

You live your life in the songs you hear
On the rock and roll radio
And when a young girl doesn’t have any friends
That’s a really nice place to go
Folks hoping you’d turn out cool
But they had to take you out of school
You’re a little touched you know, Angie baby

Lovers appear in your room each night
And they whirl you across the floor
But they always seem to fade away
When your daddy taps on your door
Angie girl, are you all right
Tell the radio good-night
All alone once more, Angie baby

Angie baby, you’re a special lady
Living in a world of make-believe
Well, maybe

Stopping at her house is a neighbor boy
With evil on his mind
‘Cause he’s been peeking in Angie’s room
At night through the window blind
I see your folks have gone away
Would you dance with me today?
I’ll show you how to have a good time, Angie baby

When he walks in the room, he feels confused
Like he’s walked into a play
And the music’s so loud it spins him around
‘Til his soul has lost its way
And as she turns the volume down
He’s getting smaller with the sound
It seems to pull him off the ground
Toward the radio he’s bound
Never to be found

The headlines read that a boy disappeared
And everyone thinks he died
Except a crazy girl with a secret lover who
Keeps her satisfied
It’s so nice to be insane
No one asks you to explain
Radio by your side, Angie baby

Angie baby, you’re a special lady
Living in a world of make-believe
Well, maybe

Well, maybe (Angie baby, Angie baby)
Well, maybe (Angie baby, Angie baby)
(Angie baby, Angie baby, Angie baby, Angie baby)

Postscript:

As this was a rather downbeat post, here’s a picture to bring it back up again, of Peanut, the new addition to our family. We’ve not had a hamster in the house for 12 years so I’d forgotten what a racket they make on their wheel – all through the night – but he seems to have settled in well. Of course you might suspect I’ve gone a bit stir-crazy, and converted Mr WIAA into a hamster via a radio soundwave, but no, that would just be plain weird.

Well, maybe

Peanut the hamster

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

13 thoughts on “‘Angie Baby’, Living In A World Of Make-Belief – RIP Helen Reddy”

    1. Thanks for dropping by and sharing this info about the film – I had missed it somehow. Not been to the cinema for an awful long time which saddens me as I went weekly prior to lockdown. Our local one not even open again yet but hopefully I’ll catch this film digitally.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am familiar with his songs but until last week wasn’t really familiar with Mac at all. Turns out Helen Reddy recorded one of his songs back in the 1970s and then they both ended up passing away at the same age, on the same day.

      Really love the songs Mac Davis wrote for Elvis so might have to write a blog post about him too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh Alyson, I am completely distracted by Peanut (at least I hope it’s Peanut, tho’ I do like the idea of a shape-shifting husband!) He’s gorgeous. I’ve never had a hamster but constantly fall in love with the little bank voles we get in the garden!
    This situation does drag us down – can’t believe it sometimes, it’s such a mess. Oh, to be a hamster in blissful oblivion. Where’s my wheel?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It occured to me that a lover of small animals might not approve of having a caged pet, but he’s being spoilt rotten I can assure you. He is the third Syrian hamster we’ve had and they tend to sleep all day and come out in the evening when you can have a little play with them. Unlike other pets they like being on their own and what with his wheel, his sandbox, network of tunnels and a few treats, Mr WIAA, I mean Peanut (!?), seems to have settled in well. He was a bit nervous for a couple of days but is now happy to be handled and stroked. I know ‘a hamster is not just for lockdown’ but they don’t live that long, so should be fine. Would Mr SDS be up for it? – Having a pet, not being shape-shifted!

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      1. I know what you mean about caged pets but it sounds like Peanut has a pretty charmed life with his entertainment centre and treats, space to play, be on his own and no predators – in fact it sounds idyllic from a human point of view too! It’s really seeing birds in cages with no room to fly which troubles me, that just seems so cruel. I’d happily have a pet rodent (I’m rather partial to the idea of a couple of rats if I could give them enough room too) – but we are so limited for space here in our teeny tiny cottage, there’d be nowhere suitable even to keep a hamster cage easily at the moment! I just have to stick with worms 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, Peanut.

    You already know that Angie Baby is a favourite of mine, and obviously I concur with your thoughts on friends on the radio. As I recently revealed, I’ve managed to find a few “old fashioned” radio shows that still offer me the solace I always used to find in the wireless. It’s sad that young people can’t find a radio equivalent. Netflix & streaming won’t ever be personal. Songs, of course, still offer comfort… but songs chosen and played by a radio “friend” adds an extra dimension.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s quite a song but not really relevant to youngsters nowadays who don’t listen to much radio at all. My life of working in offices kind of came to an end when we became open-plan and it was deemed ok to have radios playing in the background as ‘white noise’. As a lover of radio there was no way I could stop myself ‘tuning in’ to whatever show was playing, so it became untenable, as I could no longer concentrate on work. I could never understand when they said they didn’t actually listen to it, just used it to counter the silence. Those early radio DJs would be horrified.

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