LISTENING IN: Remembering Olivia Newton-John
This week we remember Olivia Newton-John, who sadly died of cancer at age 73. From 1973 to ‘83, the (British-born) Australian singer was among the world’s most popular entertainers, racking up 14 top 10 singles in the US alone. However, she’ll mostly be remembered for her turn as “Sandy” alongside John Travolta in the film musical “Grease,” and her fitness-craze themed hit, “Let’s Get Physical.”
Both musically and image-wise, she reinvented herself during those years. The blonde, ever-smiling Newton-John initially favoured mild pop-country songs such as “Please Mr. Please” and “Have You Never Been Mellow” and soft-breathing ballads like “I Honestly Love You,” which in 1975 won Grammys for best female pop vocal and record of the year. She even had a hit with the K-Tel worthy “If Not For You,” mined from Bob Dylan’s catalogue (also covered by George Harrison on “All Things Must Pass”).
But she picked up the tempo in Grease (1978), especially after Sandy ditched her white sweaters and blouses for waist-high, black leather pants, revealed in the infectious number, “You’re the One that I Want.”
And “Physical” reportedly made her blush as she told her would-be lover, “There’s nothing left to talk about/Unless it’s horizontally,” and finally called out, “Let’s get animal! Animal!”
It’s the former song (and scene), however, alongside Travolta (who coincidentally appeared in our “Pulp Fiction” video last week) that was Newton-John’s career highlight. Indeed, as you can see below, it was nothing short of electrifying.
First published at Travel Industry Today