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Album: Free And EasyReleased: 1974Charted:
This was Reddy's third major hit, and one of the more memorable ones. It seems to be about this oddball girl who can't face reality and may be going insane, yet no one is certain what it's about, and Reddy herself refuses to comment, saying that she enjoys hearing other listeners' interpretations. This particularly applies to the end of the song, where this local boy makes the moves on Angie and vanishes. It has an uncertainty similar to that of "Hotel California
" by the Eagles.
This was the first #1 hit written by future "Undercover Angel
" singer Alan O'Day, who was inspired by a Beatles tune. He explained to Billboard
magazine: "['Lady Madonna
'] just killed
me. I thought, well, I'm gonna write a song about somebody who's growing up with the radio playing in the background of their life, with this rock and roll time we live in... there are songs for all of our emotions, and the radio really speaks for us in a way that nothing else does."
O'Day explained that his heroine started out pretty boring until he started adding layers of weirdness to her
character. "The weirder she got, the more interesting the song became," he explained.
He finished the song during a Palm Springs vacation with the help of a motel owner who gave him unbiased feedback about Angie's story. She even became protective over her when O'Day suggested he was going to put her through the wringer a little more. "No, she's been through enough," the woman said.
This song was originally offered to Cher, who had recorded O'Day's "Train of Thought" for her 1974 album, Dark Lady.
O'Day doesn't get why people are so confused by the song, but he won't explain it either. "I thought I spelled out what happened. It's a fantasy trip but it's real clear, and the very thing that made the song a hit was what happened to the guy in the song. I never intended it to be (a mystery)," he told Billboard. He did share a clue to Reddy's thoughts on the fate of Angie's visitor: "Helen Reddy said he turned into a soundwave."
In 1976, Fine Art Films released an animated-short version of "Angie Baby," directed by John Wilson (who was also the animator for the opening titles of Grease).