Olivia Newton John

Greatest Hits Vol 2 is now listed on Amazon (in the UK at least). It confirms it’s the 14 track version as issued in Australia originally. £17.99 but that will certainly come down. Release date 6 January 2023.

The absence of Summer Nights, and the fact that it draws on just two studio albums, two film soundtracks and two new tracks, makes this less interesting than the first one. I’m not sure I’ll bother with it unless the price comes down quite a bit. Six of the 14 tracks have already been remastered and issued on the Physical deluxe.

I wonder if the eventual Totally Hot reissue will include both the Grease and Xanadu tracks?
 
Greatest Hits Vol 2 is now listed on Amazon (in the UK at least). It confirms it’s the 14 track version as issued in Australia originally. £17.99 but that will certainly come down. Release date 6 January 2023.

The absence of Summer Nights, and the fact that it draws on just two studio albums, two film soundtracks and two new tracks, makes this less interesting than the first one. I’m not sure I’ll bother with it unless the price comes down quite a bit. Six of the 14 tracks have already been remastered and issued on the Physical deluxe.

I wonder if the eventual Totally Hot reissue will include both the Grease and Xanadu tracks?

On the other hand, as someone new to Olivia’s oeuvre, and taking the tracks on their own merit, this is hands down one of the best greatest hits collections I’ve ever heard. Absolutely love it.

(And…Hooray! Order placed!)
 
Greatest Hits Volume 2 on vinyl is now £29.51 on Amazon, so I've pre-ordered. The sleeve is one of my favourite photos of Olivia so I have to get it for that.

I recently read Olivia's autobiography, it was okay, but the lack of detail on making the music was a bit frustrating. I've heard that her memory wasn't great, so I guess she'd forgotten about the process, if only she had kept a diary. She comes across as charming and funny in the book but very much keeps us at arm's length. She wanted to retain her privacy and I respect that.
 
She comes across as charming and funny in the book but very much keeps us at arm's length. She wanted to retain her privacy and I respect that.

The opening line 'I am a private person living a very public life' almost reads as a disclaimer. I felt she was quite open about the things that, in her eyes, mattered - her experience becoming a mother, the various instances of her cancer journey and accompanying philanthropy... These were the markers that clearly defined her life and that's what she chose to write about.

I don't think this means she didn't care about her music as she has never dismissed any of her albums but much of the material she recorded pre-1994 was what she did as a career, rather than who she was as a person. I too would have loved reading in-depth recollections of each album and why certain songs were chosen etc but it was just never going to happen with Olivia. A lot of this also had to do with her humility - unlike other artists who see their catalogue as significant, Olivia rarely articulated this level of confidence in what she created. She was always grateful that her 'admirers' as she called us were moved by her work but didn't necessarily see it as a product of her own talent, directing the praise towards collaborators like John Farrar or Steve Kipner.


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So it’s a 2-LP with the same amount of tracks as the original Oz/Japan album? Hmm.

Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2

Side A
  1. Heart Attack
  2. Magic
  3. Physical
  4. Hopelessly Devoted To You
Side B
  1. Make A Move On Me
  2. Deeper Than The Night
  3. Landslide
Side C
  1. A Little More Love
  2. You're The One That I Want
  3. Tied Up
  4. Suddenly
Side D
  1. Totally Hot
  2. The Promise (The Dolphin Song)
  3. Xanadu
0792755903339.jpg


The cover (& gatefold package) really is the key factor in getting this for me too. I’m also happy especially for her newer fans that The Promise is included. It’s probably my favourite song by her. Such a beautiful track plus it was written and composed by Olivia all by herself. You can really hear in her voice how genuinely she believes in those lyrics.
 
The Promise can seem like a random track to include, but the first greatest hits included Changes which again wasn’t a hit, but written by her. The 1982 UK release, Olivia’s Greatest Hits, also included an edited version of Rosewater which was another self-penned song (and non-single).
 
What an run of hits on this album, her late 70s to early 80s run was truly spectacular.

It's a great compilation in its deluxe form, even if it's still only 14 tracks. Her chart achievements at this time were so impressive - over half the album's inclusions were Top 5 hits in one of her major territories, and every song bar two of them were Top 20 hits somewhere.

Heart Attack (#3 US)
Magic (#1 US, #4 Oz)
Physical (#1 US, #7 UK, #1 Oz)
Hopelessly Devoted To You (#3 US, #2 UK, #2 Oz)
Make A Move On Me (#5 US, #8 Oz)
Deeper Than The Night (#11 US)
Landslide (#18 UK)
A Little More Love (#3 US, #4 UK, #9 Oz)
You're The One That I Want (#1 US, #1 UK, #1 Oz)
Tied Up
Suddenly (#20 US, #15 UK)
Totally Hot (#16 Belgium)
The Promise
Xanadu (#8 US, #1 UK, #2 Oz)


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I remember playing Vol. 2 like crazy. It really is the definition of "all killer, no filler".

I love the colour scheme, and the vinyl foldout. It really is representative of the vinyl era.
 
It's a great compilation in its deluxe form, even if it's still only 14 tracks. Her chart achievements at this time were so impressive - over half the album's inclusions were Top 5 hits in one of her major territories, and every song bar two of them were Top 20 hits somewhere.

Heart Attack (#3 US)
Magic (#1 US, #4 Oz)
Physical (#1 US, #7 UK, #1 Oz)
Hopelessly Devoted To You (#3 US, #2 UK, #2 Oz)
Make A Move On Me (#5 US, #8 Oz)
Deeper Than The Night (#11 US)
Landslide (#18 UK)
A Little More Love (#3 US, #4 UK, #9 Oz)
You're The One That I Want (#1 US, #1 UK, #1 Oz)
Tied Up
Suddenly (#20 US, #15 UK)
Totally Hot (#16 Belgium)
The Promise
Xanadu (#8 US, #1 UK, #2 Oz)


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Very strong showings there gotta say. Think this is one of my favourite ever Greatest Hits to be honest.
 
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but in the UK (and some, but not all, countries where she was with EMI) we didn’t get Volume 2. Instead, we got “Olivia’s Greatest Hits” covering her entire career. We’d already had the 1977 Greatest Hits in the UK so this was more of an update of that.

Artwork was different, though used the same photos. There was a background of blue water (I think! Perhaps water in a swimming pool!)

With 20 tracks squashed onto one vinyl album, sound quality was terrible with dreadful “print-through”. For instance, in the gap after Landslide, you could hear the next track, Take Me Home Country Roads, quietly start before it properly did!

Nevertheless, the album did quite well and (though it was actually my brother that bought it, his first ONJ album) it was the first time I’d ever heard many of the tracks so it does hold a special place in my affections.

I later got the album myself on cassette (there was a later CD edition, but tracklisting on that was more similar to this new edition of Vol 2).

Tracklisting of the 1982 vinyl and cassette was:

Side 1:
1. Physical
2. Tied Up
3. Heart Attack
4. Make A Move On Me
5. You’re The One That I Want
6. What Is Life [a big UK hit]
7. Xanadu
8. Summer Nights
9. Landslide
10. Take Me Home, Country Roads

Side 2:
1. A Little More Love
2. Magic
3. Suddenly
4. Changes
5. Hopelessly Devoted To You
6. Sam
7. If Not For You
8. Banks of the Ohio
9. Rosewater [edit - a verse removed]
10. I Honestly Love You

Even though it was otherwise UK-centric, a notable absentee is Long Live Love which had been a big hit here. It was also absent from any edition of the first Greatest Hits. I don’t think I’d ever heard that song until this century. No loss though, she didn’t really like the song and I share that opinion!
 
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Tonight’s BBC Four January 1979 edition of Top of the Pops featured Olivia’s live performance of A Little More Love. It was on the “At the BBC” a while back but nice to see it again.
I tweet along to TOTP and it was good to see lots of lovely comments about Olivia. Also, great timing if people seek out the song and see GH vol 2 has just been reissued.
 
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