LOS ANGELES -- Helen Reddy failed to take her own advice for the last few years – she did not "Keep on Singing," to quote the title of her 1974 hit.

Ten years ago, the "I Am Woman" singer-songwriter gave up on show business and started a whole new life in her homeland of Australia. She got her degree in clinical hypnotherapy, and for the last decade has lived modestly in Sydney.

"I have very wide-ranging interests," she said in a recent interview. "So, singing `Leave Me Alone' 43 times per song lost its charm a long time ago."

But she couldn't stay silent forever. Reddy is making her return to the musical stage this week, at a club in San Diego and for a high school benefit in the Panorama City section of Los Angeles. She decided to return to performing after being buoyed by the warm reception she recently got when she sang at her sister's birthday party.

But don't expect to hear all of the old chart makers during her performances.

"One of the reasons that I'm coming back to singing is because I'm not doing the greatest hits," Reddy explained. "I'm doing the songs that I always loved. So many are album cuts that never got any airplay, and they're gorgeous songs."

Reddy, 70, has been singing since she was a young girl, as part of a well-known show-business family in Melbourne. But she didn't score hugely until her 1971 hit cover of "I Don't Know How to Love Him," the big ballad from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar." Over the next decade, she produced 15 top 40 hits, with three reaching No. 1.

Her biggest song was the feminist anthem "I Am Woman" – which ultimately inspired her to retire.

"That was one of the reasons that I stopped singing, was when I was shown a modern American history high-school textbook, and a whole chapter on feminism – and my name and my lyrics (were) in the book," she recalled. "And I thought, `Well, I'm part of history now. And how do I top that? I can't top that.' So, it was an easy withdrawal."

Still, that is one of the classics from her catalog that she will sing on stage – or, to be more accurate, recite.

"Sometimes the words get lost in a song," Reddy said. "And I think the words are very important. So I am reciting `I Am Woman.' And I hadn't realized, but it's wonderful acting piece, as well. So, that will probably be the end of the set for me."

She added: "A lot of things that (women have) gained during the `70s have been lost. And I think it is time to put woman forward in more places."

As for Reddy, who recently had cataract surgery, she says she's already in a "very good place."

"I'm still very active, physically. I walk four miles a day. And I love the fact that I don't care so much about things – things that were so terribly important when you're younger, they don't matter when you get older," she said. "And it's such a sense of freedom."

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  • Helen Reddy: "I Am Woman", from "The Midnight Special", 1975.

    Helen Reddy performs her classic "I Am Woman" on "The Midnight Special", 1975.

  • Helen Reddy's "You and Me Against the World" - mother and child

    Slide show tribute. Music of Helen Reddy, bonds of moms and child, daughter, son. Slideshow tribute. You and Me Against the World 1974 classic. Lyrics: Tell me again mommy You and me against the world Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world When all the others turn their backs and walk away You can count on me to stay Remember when the circus came to town And you were frightened by the clown Wasn't it nice to be around someone that you need Someone who was big and strong and looking out for You and me against the world Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world And for all the times we've cried I always felt that God was on our side. And when one of us is gone And one of us is left to carry on Then remembering will have to do Our memories alone will get us through Think about the days of me and you You and me against the world And when one of us is gone And one is left alone to carry on Then remembering will have to do Our memories alone will get us through Think about the days of me and you You and me against the world I love you mommy, I love you too

  • HELEN REDDY - "Peaceful" (1973)

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  • • Helen Reddy • Aint No Way To Treat A Lady •[1975] • "No Way To Treat A Lady" •

    Taken from her 1975er Album "No Way To Treat A Lady". (C) 1975

  • Helen Reddy: "Delta Dawn", 1973.

    Helen Reddy performs "Delta Dawn", live on "The Midnight Special", 1973.

  • Helen Reddy - You And Me Against The World

    Helen Reddy - You And Me Against The World

  • Helen Reddy - I Don't Know How To Love Him (1971)

    #13 in June 1971

  • Helen Reddy - Little Boys, The Man Who Loved Women - Burt Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Henry Mancini

    In this video you will hear The Queen of 70s Pop, Helen Reddy, sing the full version of the Henry Mancini produced song from the 1983 movie "The Man Who Loved Women" starring Burt Reynolds and Julie Andrews. The song was written by one of the most famous husband/wife songwriting teams of all time... Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Incidentally, the Bergmans also wrote Helen's 1983 single "Handsome Dudes".

  • Helen Reddy - No sad song (live in France, 1972)

    Helen Reddy sings "no sad song" (live in France, 1972)