Olivia Newton John

Just got the Physical, Totally Hot, The Rumour and Soul Kiss albums. I'd kind of forgotten about her but God she was good! She had something special about her and Physical must have been an influence on Madonna. In the video for 'Twist of Fate' she looks like the very personification of 80s pop - the girl certainly had something.

Twist Of Fate Video - starts at 0.35.

It's all about Twist Of Fate for me. Should have been a hit here!

Of course I grew up with Grease mania, that summer she was everywhere.

Her attempts to be sexy and raunchy were a bit silly though. I find Physical almost unwatchable, and the Soul Kiss era was strange! She was so pretty, she didn't need gimmicks.
I was obsessed with Olivia when I was a wee lad. Until Madonna came around she was it for me. "Twist of Fate" is great although that movie it was from "Two of a Kind" was dreadful. "Make a Move on Me" is still my ultimate Olivia tune. "Landslide" is great too.
But I loved her in the early 80's. I sort of lost track once "Like a Virgin" came out and Madonna became my obsession as a teenager. She seemed to fizzle out chart wise around the mid -80's as well it seemed. "Twist of Fate" was her last top 10 in the U.S. I liked the early 90's track 'I Need Love". Produced by Giorgio Moroder I believe.
Used to love her as a kid, even though I only had a hits album and a studio album called Makin A Good Thing Better, which I loved despite it being all over the place stylistically (mostly country but weirdly with a cover of Don't Cry For Me Argentina!)

Never heard Twist Of Fate though, and - call me crazy - but that video made me totally want to seek out the movie!
Olivia's one of those artists that I only feel I need a greatest hits of and yet gems such as Twist of Fate and Livin' In Dangerous Times are never included on her compilations. Twist of Fate is amazing and one of my all time favourite songs. The 12" version is great. I always thought it sounds like an early Kim Wilde song and should have been a big hit. I believe it only made number 57 here but I think was number one in America. I have got the DVD of Two of a Kind based on how much I like the Twist of Fate video (of course I've never watched it!)

I also really like I Need Love from 1992 which I think was her last attempt at getting a hit in the UK, it's quite dancey and hypnotic.

I can recommend a 2 disc greatest hits DVD which has all the Olivia you'll ever need and is best watched with a bottle of wine, the 80s fashions and hairstyles are a treat!


Grease aside my favourite Olivia moment has to be Xanadu which is a classic 80s movie with a great soundtrack too which every PJ user who frequents the dumper section should own! Olivia plays a muse from Greek mythology on rollerskates - what's not to love?
Call It Love said:
I can recommend a 2 disc greatest hits DVD which has all the Olivia you'll ever need and is best watched with a bottle of wine, the 80s fashions and hairstyles are a treat!

I always wanted to get that, but looks like it's deleted now and no way I'm paying that much for it!
MadeInHeaven said:
Call It Love said:
I can recommend a 2 disc greatest hits DVD which has all the Olivia you'll ever need and is best watched with a bottle of wine, the 80s fashions and hairstyles are a treat!

I always wanted to get that, but looks like it's deleted now and no way I'm paying that much for it!

You might get lucky and find it in store. The online prices are crazy but I got mine in an HMV a couple of years ago (assuming you can find an HMV!)

Are any of her 80s albums worth checking out? (ie is there anything up there with the greatness of Twist of Fate, Physical, Livin' In Desperate Times etc)
Call It Love said:
gems such as Twist of Fate and Livin' In Dangerous Times are never included on her compilations

'Twist Of Fate' turns up quite often as it was one of her biggest pop hits in the US. It was on the US and Australian versions of 'Back To Basics: The Essential Collection 1971-1992' (the Aussie version is still the best one-stop shop for a single disc overview of her career). Both 'Twist Of Fate' and 'Livin' In Desperate Times' are on the US double disc compilation 'Gold', which to date is the most comprehensive greatest hits release Olivia has had. As the AllMusic review states, 'this is the only release casual fans will ever need, and a fantastic starting point to discover a career rich in pop music treasures'. The only downside is the inclusion of the Diane Warren track 'Deeper Than A River' from the 'Back To Basics' album over the Giorgio Moroder produced 'I Need Love'. Nice to see it getting some love here, as it has dated pretty well for a song of its kind and Olivia's voice was rarely silkier than it is here.

Olivia was my first musical love and will always be my favourite singer. I began listening to her music when I was 7 after rifling through my father's LP collection and voraciously devouring her back catalogue. My poor parents suffered years of listening exclusively to Olivia's albums, bless them. Without sounding too effusive in my praise, I owe a lot of my outlook on life to Olivia’s influence in those formative years. I admired her positivity in the face of adversity (in the course of three days in July 1992, she was declared bankrupt, diagnosed with breast cancer and lost her father), her philanthropic efforts, her personality and her talent. Olivia’s voice feels like home to me, and I am so comforted knowing that wherever I go in life I will always be able to recapture that feeling just by listening to her music. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Olivia perform live on a number of occasions and I’ve met her a few times too. One of the highlights of my entire life was meeting her at a function after a charity show in 2008 and having her offer me some of the tempura prawns she was eating. I could have died a happy man then and there.

It is a shame that for many people Olivia is a brief pop cultural amalgam of ‘Grease’, ‘Xanadu’, ‘Physical’ and perhaps ‘I Honestly Love You’, for none of those projects represent an accurate cross-section of her musical output. I can’t really name a style she didn’t at least attempt, with her discography ranging from folk to country to easy listening to pop to rock to new wave to new age to adult contemporary and back again. Choosing a favourite album is difficult, although I have a particular affection for the pop/rock years when she was genuinely at the zenith of her career. ‘Totally Hot’ is a wonderful hybrid of the latter end of the country-pop era and the start of her journey towards more mainstream Top 40 material, and ‘Physical’ essentially perfected the pop formula (and remains her ‘best’ album, I think). I’m also very fond of ‘Soul Kiss’, a bizarre label-driven project that pushed the good-girl-gone-bad image too far for the public’s taste. The lyrical content is still a touch giggle-worthy in parts - singing about threesomes on ‘Culture Shock’, being sexually assaulted by a doctor on ‘Overnight Observation’, feminism on ‘Toughen Up’, etc – but John Farrar’s production is as interesting as on ‘Physical’ and Olivia’s voice is at its most athletic. It’s not quite as timeless as some of her other recordings but as a pop curiosity it is a brilliant prototype for Madonna’s ‘Erotica’, with less focus on sex and more on the idea of roleplaying. Some of the ‘characters’ she plays are brilliant, from a celebrity-stalking journalist to a late-night taxi driver!

One of Olivia’s greatest unsung contributions to popular music was her early championing of the music video format. She had started making them as early as 1976, but by 1981 had really seized what was still a burgeoning promotional tool. Her ‘video album’ for ‘Physical’, in collaboration with Brian Grant who directed a lot of early Bowie videos, is superb, with a video for every song on the record. The surreal images in ‘Landslide’, ‘Recovery’ and ‘Silvery Rain’ are as bold and fascinating as they were when they were released, and much more ambitious than the campy fun of the video for the title track. Most are up on YouTube, so for anyone interested you should do a quick search and check them out. The DVD Call It Love suggested is worth tracking down, as it contains most of Olivia’s best 80s videos.

I adore Olivia Newton-John.

I have got her 2 disc "Gold" album, which is brilliant as it covers a lot of her hits. Some of her UK hits aren't on there though "What Is Life", "Take Me Home Country Roads" and "Long Live Love" and "I Need Love" but I have them on her Definitive Collection instead.

I have been listening to a lot of her earlier albums recently too.
I've got a compilation knocking around somewhere from a few years ago; clearly, I need to investigate her catalogue a bit more closely!
I too love the bizarreness that was the "Soul Kiss" era. I also have a strange fondness for the fiasco known as Xanadu. ('Fool Country' is so good and I know it shouldn't be but I love it.) -

I'm not sure what this says about me...
It says that you have great taste! 'Xanadu' is still a brilliant piece of pop cultural madness if you watch it as 1.5 hours of early MTV strung together with strange sketches rather than as a film.

Has anybody else heard the 'A Few Best Men' soundtrack? It was a bit of a shock to hear Olivia doing up-to-date dance material (albeit in the form of cover versions of 1970s/1980s hits) after the Amy Sky 'healing' music collaborations in recent years. I love the Goldfrapp stomp of her cover of Suzi Quatro's 'Devil Gate Drive' and John Farrar proves he has lost none of his songwriting gifts with 'Weightless', although I prefer the Punk Ninja Mix to the original.

I don't know if the film has been released in many territories outside of Australia but it did well at the box office here. Some of the jokes were a bit obvious, but Olivia received some of the better movie reviews of her career (!) with most critics praising her for her role as the coked-out mother-of-the-bride.

I saw Olivia during her season with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House back in March. She looked absolutely stunning with the platinum blonde hair and her ridiculously trim figure; hard to believe she is 63 years old. The setlist had been updated since her last performances here in 2006 with a couple of songs from 'Grace And Gratitude' and 'A Few Best Men' and returning stalwarts like 'A Little More Love' and 'Sam' to the early section of the show. I met her at a charity meet and greet for her Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre after the first show and she stayed for almost two hours to meet everybody. When I eventually got to say hello (after downing a complimentary glass of champagne and chatting with fans who had flown from as far as France to see her!) she was clearly exhausted, but still listened intently to my blabber, smiling and nodding in the right places. We took a photo and I left with a hug and a kiss. She's such a divine creature.

According to her latest tour program, 'she is currently working on a new dance remix CD featuring some of her classic hits, as well as new songs, and is set for release in 2012’. There's a US tour planned for later this year starting in September too.

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The US tour seems to be going swimmingly. She's added a medley of 'deep cuts' from her catalogue after they were the three highest charting songs on a Facebook poll of rare songs fans wanted to see Olivia perform. In the trio of 'Boats Against The Current', 'Suspended In Time' and 'Shaking You', two have never been performed live before. There's a video from the opening night of the tour in Vancouver up on YouTube; she was still working out how to get around the songs and short clips of these songs on the ensuing dates showed how much they improved, but this is the best quality of the complete medley. A few other worthwhile clips from the tour:

A Little More Love
Physical (original version complete with imitating the guitar solo!)
Summer Nights (a brief, fun moment of audience interaction)
I Honestly Love You

Olivia's secret holiday project that she's been talking about for a few months now was announced yesterday - a Christmas album with John Travolta. Here's the album cover and the press release:



Guest-stars include Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Chick Corea, Kenny G, Cliff Richard
“You’re the One That I Want” Songwriter Contributes To New Original Duet

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2, 2012— When your first single from the Grease album, the biggest movie musical of all time, is chart-topping “You’re the One That I Want, and it becomes the best-selling duet in pop music history - that’s a tough act to follow. But almost 35 years later, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have combined their iconic voices for This Christmas, available November 13 from Universal Music Enterprises. A true labor of love made specifically for “the giving season,” Travolta and Newton-John will donate the artist proceeds from the album equally to their respective charities, the Jett Travolta Foundation and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

One of the highlights of the album is the one original song, the aptly titled “I Think You Might Like It.” This is the sequel to John and Olivia’s Grease smash, “You’re the One That I Want,” a new tune by that song’s writer/producer John Farrar, marking yet another This Christmas-spawned reunion. “John Farrar was just as hard on me now as he was then,” laughs Travolta. “We went for perfection on it.” “It was really fun to do that,” says Olivia. “If it wasn’t for that song, we wouldn’t be here talking about it 30 years later.”

Produced by veteran keyboardist/arranger/orchestrator Randy Waldman, This Christmas is the audio equivalent of those classic network TV specials hosted from the stars’ homes, an intimate, warm set of traditional holiday songs from an all-star lineup that includes Barbra Streisand (“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”), Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra (“Winter Wonderland”), James Taylor (“Deck the Halls”), Chick Corea (“This Christmas”), Kenny G (“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”), Cliff Richard (“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) and the original “I Think You Might Like It” by writer/producer John Farrar.

The idea for the collection came from Travolta after receiving a Christmastime text from his old friend Olivia noting that their 1978 smash, “You’re the One That I Want,” had just become the best-selling duet in pop music history. “From the moment we decided to do this, magic happened,” says Travolta. “Everyone we contacted agreed to do it.”

“It just fell into place,” added Newton-John, a four-time Grammy® winner, who has scored five No. 1 singles and two chart-topping albums, selling a total of more than 100 million albums worldwide. “With our busy schedules, I don’t know how we got it done. John and I have always connected. That’s never gone away. When we’re together, we have a good laugh and feel bonded to one another. We’ve been through some amazing experiences together.”

“My desire was to make This Christmas an intimate album, not something too ostentatious or showy,” says Travolta, who early in his career was featured as an actor/singer/dancer with the touring company of Grease. “I wanted people to be able to play it around the house or in the car during the holidays, and make us part of your celebration. Gathering around house listening to Christmas music has always been an important part of that time of the year to my family.”

But the real importance of This Christmas is the money it will raise to fund Travolta and Newton-John’s charities - one to combat children’s disabilities, including autism and seizures, named after John’s late son, Jett; the other to help search for a cure for cancer and to help victims of the disease.

“We all felt a wonderful, joyful energy while recording this album,” adds Olivia. “We want to make a lot of people smile and happy. It’s a project that we’re hoping turns into a perennial, one that can continue to raise money for these causes year after year, a gift that keeps on giving.”

To pre-order This Christmas, click here.

More information on The Jett Travolta Foundations: http://jett-travolta-foundation.org/

More information on The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre: http://www.oliviaappeal.com/

1. Baby It’s Cold Outside
2. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (featuring Kenny G)
3. I’ll Be Home for Christmas (featuring Barbra Streisand)
4. This Christmas (featuring Chick Corea)
5. Silent Night
6. The Christmas Waltz
7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (featuring Cliff Richard)
8. Winter Wonderland (featuring Tony Bennett and The Count Basie Orchestra)
9. White Christmas
10. I Think You Might Like It
11. The Christmas Song
12. Deck the Halls (featuring James Taylor)
13. Auld Lang Syne/Christmas Time Is Here (Medley)


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I'm not generally a fan of Christmas albums but I will probably get this. I recently bought the Japanese SACD of Physical and it re-ignited my interest in Olivia. Such a great sounding album with exquisite packaging. I hope her other 80s albums follow suit in SACD.

My favourite Olivia moments:

The Rumour (Shep Pettibone Mix)
Heart Attack
I bought the Japanese reissues of Don't Stop Believin', Totally Hot and Physical. All great albums (there is more to her music than just the hit songs) and the sound on the reissues is fantastic.

I think The Rumour is an underrated song.
I agree, the 10 Japanese remasters are quite phenomenal. Whilst I still think the Festival remasters from 1998 are more than adequate (and perhaps more accurately replicate the warmth of the original vinyls), the Japanese ones are crystal clear. I heard new details in a lot of those recordings that I had never noticed before and on a couple of occasions albums sounded completely different; there's now an energy and a dynamism on 'Soul Kiss' that was missing from previous CD pressings. The bonus tracks were a nice touch, particularly the handful of unreleased ones. It's just a shame they didn't do her entire back catalogue, as I prefer a couple of the early British LPs to some of the later albums.

'Totally Hot' and 'Physical' are right at the top of my list too. Both are flawless albums where any of their 10 tracks could have been released as singles. I was very excited a few years ago when AllMusic.com chose 'Physical' as its album of the month with a glowing write-up that gave Olivia her dues as the leading female pop artist of the early eighties. 'Don't Stop Believin'' is a sentimental favourite, as evidenced by my avatar from a photoshoot around that time. When it's good it is amongst the most sophisticated and sonically beautiful material she recorded that decade (the title track, 'Sam', 'The Last Time You Loved', 'Compassionate Man') so it's a shame that it has to house songs like the overly saccharine 'New Born Babe' and the novelty track 'I'll Bet You A Kangaroo' as well.

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