Olivia Newton-John Appreciation Thread.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bobby Morrow, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Believe it or not, there isn’t an active one on here.

    After some kind soul launched a similar thread for Linda Ronstadt today, I thought Olivia deserved the same honour.

    This thread is for everyone who is interested in Olivia. Maybe you only like a couple of records or think Two Of A Kind deserved to be a box-office smash...Maybe you’re a diehard fan who has nothing better to do with his time than create threads about Olivia.:) Perhaps you’re just here for the (inevitable) pictures. All are welcome.

    Like Linda Ronstadt, you couldn’t escape Olivia in the 70s and 80s. Although her star waned towards the end of the latter decade, she’s worked pretty constantly ever since. Even if you don’t like her music, few could argue that Olivia has handled herself and her career with a grace that’s not always apparent in her industry.

    So, let’s hear your thoughts on Olivia. Any records that are special to you? Have you seen her in concert? Met her even?

    Interested to hear all opinions.


    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    ThirdBowl, Song4U, Mezepokaj and 12 others like this.
  2. masterbucket

    masterbucket Forum Resident

    Georgia US
  3. cut to the chase

    cut to the chase Forum Resident

    Her breakthrough hit in Germany was 'Banks of the Ohio', which peaked at number 13 ('If Not for You' hadn't charted here).
    It was also her first Australian number one.

    It is one of my personal favourites by her!

  4. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Banks Of The Ohio made #6 here. Her career in the UK was odd in the early days. One hit was usually followed by at least a couple of flops. This was true of many ‘girl’ singers like Dana and Lynsey De Paul. All of these acts had the occasional hit but their album sales were nonexistent.
  5. bob60

    bob60 Forum Resident

    London UK
    That's the first record I ever heard of Olivia's. I absolutely loved it at the time and still love it on the rare occasions that I hear it. The disc jockeys don't seem to play her early 70's stuff which is a real shame.
    I really like Livvy and it was fantastic to see her become such a huge mega star later in the decade. I kind of fell away after Physical but I am always interested to read about what she has been up to over the years.
    All in all she has has an amazing and long career I would say.
    Long Live Livvy :D
  6. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    She was extremely lucky to crack America. Something none of the other acts I mentioned managed. By the time Grease rolled around she was a huge star in the States with a couple of #1 singles and albums to her name. Had she elected to stay in the UK, I suspect she’d have ended up on Quick On The Draw with Lynsey.

  7. bob60

    bob60 Forum Resident

    London UK
    Yes I wonder why that was?
    Even artists like Suzi Quatro never sold albums if I remember rightly.
    Mind you neither did Sweet and they were a huge singles band....
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    Olivia always seemed such a very sweet person.
    I never heard a song from her pre pop years that I didn't think was lovely.
    I think Totally Hot - Physical is a great one two punch into the pop world, but I never heard too much after that.
    I think i was in love with her for a few years.

    My Olivia's greatest hits

    If not For You
    Banks Of The Ohio
    Let me Be There
    I Honestly Love You
    Long Live Love
    If You Love Me Let Me Know
    Have You Never Been Mellow
    Please Mr Please
    Come On Over
    Don't Throw It All Away
    Don't Stop Believin'
    Deeper Than The Night
    A Little More Love
    Totally Hot
    Summer Nights
    Hopelessly Devoted To You
    You're The One That I Want
    Make A Move On Me
    Silvery Rain
    The Promise
    Heart Attack
    Twist Of Fate

    I'm not fully fluent in her stuff, but that is a pretty awesome compilation.
  9. bob60

    bob60 Forum Resident

    London UK
    Well you are conveniently forgetting 70's grafter and forum fave Lulu, didn't she climb the hit parade in the US chart?
    Actually that may have been in the 60's....
    Jarleboy likes this.
  10. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hard to pinpoint Olivia’s fan base then. Though she was young and attractive and made ‘pop’ records, she was also very much a safe, ‘family’ performer who appeared on shows with Cliff, Les Dawson and even Reg Varney! You wouldn’t catch Siouxsie & the Banshees doing this.:D
    cut to the chase, bob60 and Jarleboy like this.
  11. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, To Sir With Love was a #1 in the 60s. Early in the 80s she had another US top 20 hit with I Could Never Miss You More Than I Do. I think in the 70s, Olivia was the only ‘UK’ female singer to have a constant hit making career in America.

    The next one to do it would be Sheena Easton in the 80s.
    bob60, cut to the chase and Jarleboy like this.
  12. bob60

    bob60 Forum Resident

    London UK
    You just immediately knew that Olivia was a really kind and genuine person, much the same as with Kylie many years later. Even if you didn't like their music you couldn't disslike them as a person.
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    I think to a degree, interpreting songs became old hat and to be recognised as a good and valid singer, you almost had to have either a specific songwriter that wrote for you, or you had to write a lot of great songs.
    Since the mid sixties writing your own songs seemed to be essential in the music business.
    We notice that Olivia surged in popularity, album wise, when John Farrar was like her song writer.
    I love Suzi Quattro and Sweet, but it was hard for them to shake the Chinn/Chapman bandwagon tag.
    Bobby Morrow likes this.
  14. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Olivia was extremely fortunate to have John Farrar. Had she not it’s hard to see her making the impact she did.
    mcd4959, The Dragon, RSteven and 2 others like this.
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    Definitely, that was when she was able to take it to the next level. I really need to get some albums. I have sadly overlooked her albums. The only ones I had were Physical and greatest hits vol.2
    Always got side tracked with something else.
    The Olivia Live In Concert dvd is great.
    RSteven and Bobby Morrow like this.
  16. mrpleasant

    mrpleasant Music hoarder.

    Olivia's early records were really well-made, great musicianship and excellent production. She and her team chose pretty good songs, too, but she was decidedly "uncool". Nuts to that. I started buying her records when Have You Never Been Mellow became a hit, that's also about when I decided to give myself permission to like ABBA, too. John Farrar was the perfect writer for her.

    She lost me with Physical, but thanks to @Bobby Morrow, @Jarleboy and the other Olivia fans here, I've started seeking out her music again. It's been fun catching up.
  17. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Brookings, Oregon
    I agree with every comment here and especially the last one. Oh, I had a huge crush on her as a teenager and well beyond. I remember one of the first times I saw her on television was for a Bob Hope special and she was singing I honestly Love You, and frankly, she appeared like some angel from the heavens. Her voice was as smooth as butter and she was better looking than most Hollywood actresses.

    I saw her for the first time live in concert in 1982, right before or right after she filmed the great HBO concert special and she was fantastic. When that short dress flipped up as she did her dance moves, I think it just about was the coolest thing I had ever seen. The lady had great legs to say the least. Her voice has largely been underrated. Former Billboard writer Paul Grein has mentioned that her live voice in concert is "pitch perfect," something we can rarely say about other pop singers of the day. Her voice is much more powerful than you would expect as she usually holds back that power, unless the song requires it.

    I got to see her perform live in concert three more times, including about 5 years ago in Reno, and every time, she was fantastic and charmed the crowd. She is one of my top five favorite female singers of all time. I want to thank @Bobby Morrow for starting this great thread and he knows more about this great artist than I could ever learn in a lifetime. I look forward to reading his comments as well as everybody else's.

    Oh, that is a fantastic list of songs that you came up with Mark, and I do not think you missed any essential ones, but I would have added her later hit, Soul Kiss, as well. That was one sexy song and that bass guitar sure had a killer groove on it. Oh, and Banks Of The Ohio is sheer country-pop perfection as well.
  18. Troystar

    Troystar Forum Resident

    Victoria BC Canada
    Olivia was my first crush. There's never been anyone else like her. A singer who can beautifully sing, she never had to wallow or do all those awful runs that some singers do. She had a fabulous career but I find she is often forgotten and not given any credit or just reduced to the film Grease and it phenomenon which drives me crazy.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  19. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Louisville, KY
    Physical is one of the great female pop albums of the 80s and its a shame its not stacked alongside She's So Unusual, Control, Like A Virgin/True Blue and Private Dancer when we look back on the great 80s pop albums by a female artist. Every song on that album could've been a smash.
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    To be honest I don't even know if I know it. I was off into a world of strange new music around that time. I discovered Progressive rock, Zappa, Fusion and all this other stuff that side tracked me from the mainstream for a while. I think it's one of those musician things. I was probably around 15 or 16 and starting to take my guitar more seriously ... so the musician in me wanted to know what the possibilities were
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    Nice point, Olivia always sang the song. She still did it in her way, but didn't feel the need to over sing everything in order to try and prove she could. That is something that spoils a lot of stuff especially in the nineties and the naughties
  22. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Brookings, Oregon
    I think John Farrar was a musical genius. Every bit as talented and probably a lot more so than Phil Spector, who seems to get a lot more critical acclaim from critics and fans alike on this fine board.
    Jarleboy, DirkM, mrpleasant and 2 others like this.
  23. masterbucket

    masterbucket Forum Resident

    Georgia US

    Love this pic......Totally Hot!!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  24. David G.

    David G. Forum Resident

    Austin, TX
    Olivia captured the hearts of many in the U.S. early on, which helped propel her to stardom here. She was pretty, had a fantastic voice, sang catchy songs, and didn't create controversy, and, for whatever reason, she caught on at a time that many other UK acts were having trouble reaching an audience in the U.S. Good promotion and good management probably helped.

    She became so popular among country audiences that she became a threat to the country music "establishment," who got very upset when this foreigner started winning the big country music awards. Of course, she didn't stay "country" for too long; she quickly moved to a more pop/AC sound in the second half of the '70s.

    John Farrar indeed was key to her success. He was able to write great songs that were perfectly suited to her voice, and his production was fairly unique in that her records didn't sound like anyone else's records. His style was always changing a bit, too, so her records always sounded fresh and contemporary.

    Oh, and there was that Grease thing, too. Without that, she might have faded into obscurity by the beginning of the '80s much like Captain & Tennille or Helen Reddy. Grease opened her up to even wider audiences and truly made her a household name in the U.S. (and around the world). She became such a superstar that even a major movie flop like Xanadu didn't hurt her music career, and she even got more hit records from the soundtrack.

    The way I see it, her success was a combination of talent, looks, a great production/management team, and a lot of luck -- being at the right place at the right time more than once in her career.
  25. greelywinger

    greelywinger That T-Rex Guy

    Dayton, Ohio USA


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