Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John, AC, OBE (born 26 September 1948) is an English-Australian singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, and activist. She is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five number-one and ten other top ten Billboard Hot 100 singles,[1] and two number-one Billboard 200 solo albums. Eleven of her singles (including two platinum) and 14 of her albums (including two platinum and four double platinum) have been certified gold by the RIAA. She has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.[2] She starred in the musical film Grease, and its soundtrack is one of the most successful in history, with the single "You're the One That I Want", with John Travolta, one of the best selling singles.

Newton-John has been a long-time activist for environmental and animal rights issues. She has been an advocate for health awareness, becoming involved with various charities, health products, and fundraising efforts. Her business interests have included launching several product lines for Koala Blue and co-owning the Gaia Retreat & Spa in Australia.

Newton-John has been married twice. She is the mother of one daughter, Chloe Rose Lattanzi, with her first husband, actor Matt Lattanzi. She married John Easterling in 2008.

Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John 2
Newton-John in Sydney, Australia 2012
Born26 September 1948 (age 70)
Cambridge, England
OccupationSinger, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, activist
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)
ChildrenChloe Rose Lattanzi
RelativesMax Born (grandfather)
Brett Goldsmith (nephew)
Tottie Goldsmith (niece)
Gustav Victor Rudolf Born (uncle)
Musical career
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Labels
Websiteolivianewton-john.com

Early life

Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England, to Welshman Brinley "Bryn" Newton-John (1914–1992) and Irene Helene (née Born) (1914–2003). Her Jewish maternal grandfather, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born,[3][4][5][6] fled with his family to England from Germany before World War II to escape the Nazi regime. Newton-John's maternal grandmother was of paternal Jewish ancestry as well. She is a third cousin of comedian Ben Elton.[3] Her maternal great-grandfather was jurist Victor Ehrenberg and her matrilineal great-grandmother's father was jurist Rudolf von Jhering.

Newton-John's father was an MI5 officer[7] on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park who took Rudolf Hess into custody during World War II.[8][9] After the war he became Headmaster at Cambridgeshire High School for Boys and was in that role when Olivia was born.

Newton-John is the youngest of three children, following brother Hugh, a doctor, and sister Rona (1943–2013) (an actress who was married to Grease co-star Jeff Conaway from 1980 until their divorce in 1985). In 1954, when Olivia was six, the Newton-Johns emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, where her father worked as a professor of German and as Master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.[10]

She attended Christ Church Grammar School, and then University High School, near to Ormond College.

Career

Career beginnings

At 14, Newton-John formed a short-lived all-girl group, Sol Four, with three classmates often performing in a coffee shop owned by her brother-in-law.[11] She became a regular on local Australian radio and television shows including HSV-7's The Happy Show where she performed as "Lovely Livvy".

She also appeared on The Go!! Show where she met future duet partner, singer Pat Carroll, and future music producer, John Farrar (Carroll and Farrar would later marry). She entered and won a talent contest on the television program Sing, Sing, Sing, hosted by 1960s Australian icon Johnny O'Keefe, performing the songs "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses". She was initially reluctant to use the prize she had won, a trip to Great Britain, but traveled there nearly a year later after her mother encouraged her to broaden her horizons.[1]

Newton-John recorded her first single, "Till You Say You'll Be Mine", in Britain for Decca Records in 1966.[1] While in Britain, Newton-John missed her then-boyfriend, Ian Turpie, with whom she had co-starred in the Australian telefilm, Funny Things Happen Down Under. She repeatedly booked trips back to Australia which her mother would subsequently cancel.[11]

Newton-John's outlook changed when Pat Carroll moved to the UK. The two formed a duo called "Pat and Olivia" and toured nightclubs in Europe. (In one incident, they were booked at Paul Raymond's Revue in Soho, London. Dressed primly in frilly, high-collared dresses, they were unaware that this was a strip club until they began to perform onstage.)[12] After Carroll's visa expired forcing her to return to Australia, Newton-John remained in Britain to pursue solo work until 1975.[12]

Newton-John was recruited for the group Toomorrow[13] formed by American producer Don Kirshner. In 1970, the group starred in a "science fiction musical" film and recorded an accompanying soundtrack album, on RCA records, both named after the group. That same year the group made two single recordings, "You're My Baby Now/Goin' Back" and "I Could Never Live Without Your Love/Roll Like A River". Neither track became a chart success and the project failed with the group disbanding.

Early success

Newton-John released her first solo album, If Not For You (US No. 158 Pop), in 1971. The title track, written by Bob Dylan and previously recorded by former Beatle George Harrison for his 1970 album All Things Must Pass, was her first international hit (US No. 25 Pop, No. 1 Adult Contemporary ("AC").[14] Her follow-up single, "Banks of the Ohio", was a top 10 hit in the UK and Australia. She was voted Best British Female Vocalist two years in a row by the magazine Record Mirror. She made frequent appearances on Cliff Richard's weekly show, It's Cliff Richard,[15] and starred with him in the telefilm The Case.

In the United States, Newton-John's career foundered after If Not For You. Subsequent singles including "Banks of the Ohio" (No. 94 Pop, No. 34 AC) and remakes of George Harrison's "What Is Life" (No. 34 AC) and John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" (No. 119 Pop) made minimal chart impact until the release of "Let Me Be There" in 1973. The song reached the American Top 10 on the Pop (No. 6), Country (No. 7),[16] and AC (No. 3) charts and earned her a Grammy for Best Country Female[15] and an Academy of Country Music award for Most Promising Female Vocalist.[14]

In 1974, Newton-John represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Long Live Love". The song was chosen for Newton-John by the British public out of six possible entries. (Newton-John later admitted that she disliked the song.)[17] Newton-John finished fourth at the contest held in Brighton behind ABBA's winning Swedish entry, "Waterloo". All six Eurovision contest song candidates were recorded by Newton-John and included on her Long Live Love album, her first for the EMI Records label.

The Long Live Love album was released in the US as If You Love Me, Let Me Know with the six Eurovision songs dropped for four different, more country-oriented tracks intended to capitalise on the success of "Let Me Be There". The title track was the first single reaching No. 5 Pop, No. 2 Country[1] (her best country position to date) and No. 2 AC. The next single, "I Honestly Love You", became Newton-John's signature song. Written and composed by Jeff Barry and Peter Allen,[15] the ballad became her first number-one Pop (two weeks), second number-one AC (three weeks) and third Top 10 Country (No. 6) hit and earned Newton-John two more Grammys for Record of the Year[18] and Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female. The success of both singles helped the album reach No. 1 on both the Pop (one week)[19] and Country (eight weeks) Albums charts.

Newton-John's country success sparked a debate among purists, who took issue with a foreigner singing country-flavoured pop music being equated with native Nashville artists.[13] In addition to her Grammy for "Let Me Be There", Newton-John was also named the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 1974, defeating more established Nashville-based nominees Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker, as well as Canadian artist Anne Murray.[20]

This protest, in part, led to the formation of the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers (ACE).[21] Newton-John was eventually supported by the country music community. Stella Parton, Dolly's sister, recorded Ode to Olivia and Newton-John recorded her 1976 album, Don't Stop Believin', in Nashville.[20]

Aankomst zangeres Olivia Newton John op Schiphol Olivia Newton John in de persk, Bestanddeelnr 930-0132
Newton-John in 1978

Encouraged by expatriate Australian singer Helen Reddy, Newton-John left the UK and moved to the US. Newton-John topped the Pop (one week) and Country (six weeks) Albums charts with her next album, Have You Never Been Mellow. The album generated two singles – the John Farrar-penned title track (No. 1 Pop, No. 3 Country,[16] No. 1 AC)[22] and "Please Mr. Please" (No. 3 Pop, No. 5 Country, No. 1 AC).[22] However, her pop career cooled with the release of her next album, Clearly Love. Her streak of five consecutive gold Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 ended when the album's first single, "Something Better to Do", stopped at No. 13 (also No. 19 Country and No. 1 AC). Although her albums still achieved gold status, she did not return to the Top 10 on the Hot 100 or Billboard 200 charts again until 1978.

Newton-John's singles continued to easily top the AC chart, where she ultimately amassed ten No. 1 singles including a record seven consecutively:

She provided a prominent, but uncredited, vocal on John Denver's "Fly Away" single which was succeeded by her own single, "Let It Shine"/"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", at No. 1 on the AC chart. ("Fly Away" returned to No. 1 after the two-week reign of "Let It Shine".) Newton-John also continued to reach the Country Top 10 where she tallied seven Top 10 singles through 1976's "Come on Over" (No. 23 Pop, No. 5 Country,[16] No. 1 AC) and six consecutive (of a career nine total) Top 10 albums through 1976's Don't Stop Believin' (No. 30 Pop, No. 7 Country).[16] She headlined her first US television special, A Special Olivia Newton-John, in November 1976.[20]

By mid-1977, Newton-John's AC and country success also began to wane. Her Making a Good Thing Better album (No. 34 Pop, No. 13 Country) failed to be certified gold, and its only single, the title track (No. 87 Pop, No. 20 AC), did not reach even the AC Top 10 or the Country chart. Later that year, Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits (No. 13 Pop, No. 7 Country) became her first platinum album.

In 1979, Newton-John received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal from Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in London.[23]

Grease

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
Newton-John appearing with John Travolta in 1982

Newton-John's career soared after she starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease in 1978. She was offered the lead role of Sandy after meeting producer Allan Carr at a dinner party at Helen Reddy's home.[10] Burned by her Toomorrow experience and concerned that she was too old to play a high school senior (she turned 29 during Grease's 1977 filming), Newton-John insisted on a screen test with the film's co-star, John Travolta.[10] The film accommodated Newton-John's Australian accent by recasting her character from the play's original American Sandy Dumbrowski to Sandy Olsson, an Australian who holidays and then moves with her family to the U.S. Newton-John previewed some of the film's soundtrack during her second American network television special, Olivia, featuring guests ABBA and Andy Gibb.

Grease became the biggest box-office hit of 1978.[24] The soundtrack album spent 12 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 and yielded three Top 5 singles for Newton-John: the platinum "You're The One That I Want" (No. 1 Pop, No. 23 AC) with John Travolta, the gold "Hopelessly Devoted to You" (No. 3 Pop, No. 20 Country, No. 7 AC) and the gold "Summer Nights" (No. 5 Pop, No. 21 AC) with John Travolta and the film's cast. The former two songs were written and composed by her long-time music producer, John Farrar, specifically for the film. ("Summer Nights" was from the original play written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.)

Newton-John became the second woman (after Linda Ronstadt in 1977) to have two singles – "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Summer Nights" – in the Billboard Top 5 simultaneously.[25] Newton-John's performance earned her a People's Choice Award for Favorite Film Actress. She was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Musical and performed the Oscar-nominated "Hopelessly Devoted to You" at the 1979 Academy Awards.[26]

The film's popularity has endured through the years. It was re-released for its 20th anniversary in 1998[27] and ranked as the second highest-grossing film behind Titanic in its opening weekend.[28] It was most recently re-released in July 2010 as a sing-along version in select American theaters.[29] The soundtrack is one of the top ten best-selling soundtracks of all time.[30]

Lawsuit against UMG

In June 2006, Newton-John's company ON-J Productions Ltd filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) for $1 million in unpaid royalties from the Grease soundtrack.[31] In 2007, it was announced that she and UMG had reached a "conditional settlement".[32]

New image

Newton-John's transformation in Grease from goody-goody "Sandy 1" to spandex-clad "Sandy 2" emboldened Newton-John to do the same with her music career. In November 1978, she released her next studio album, Totally Hot, which became her first solo Top 10 (No. 7) album since Have You Never Been Mellow. Dressed on the cover all in leather, the album's singles "A Little More Love" (No. 3 Pop, No. 94 Country, No. 4 AC), "Deeper Than the Night" (No. 11 Pop, No. 87 Country, No. 4 AC), and the title track (No. 52 Pop) all demonstrated a more aggressive and uptempo sound for Newton-John.[33] Although the album de-emphasised country, it still reached No. 4 on the Country Albums chart. Newton-John released the B-side, "Dancin' 'Round and 'Round", of the "Totally Hot" single to Country radio peaking at No. 29[34] (as well as No. 82 Pop and No. 25 AC), becoming her last charted solo Country airplay single to date.

Newton-John began 1980 by releasing "I Can't Help It" (No. 12 Pop, No. 8 AC), a duet with Andy Gibb from his After Dark album, and by starring in her third television special, Hollywood Nights. Later that year, she appeared in her first film since Grease starring in the musical Xanadu with Gene Kelly and Michael Beck. Although the film was a critical failure, its soundtrack (No. 4 Pop) was certified double platinum boasting five Top 20 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.[35] Newton-John charted with "Magic" (No. 1 Pop, No. 1 AC), "Suddenly" with Cliff Richard (No. 20 Pop, No. 4 AC) and the title song Xanadu with the Electric Light Orchestra (No. 8 Pop, No. 2 AC). (ELO also charted with "I'm Alive" (No. 16 Pop, No. 48 AC) and "All Over the World" (No. 13 Pop, No. 46 AC).)

"Magic" was Newton-John's biggest Pop hit to that point (four weeks at No. 1)[35] and still ranks as the biggest AC hit of her career (five weeks at No. 1). The film has since become a cult classic and the basis for a Broadway show that ran for more than 500 performances beginning in 2007 and was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical.[36] (A successful international tour of the show followed.)

In 1981, Newton-John released her most successful studio album, the double platinum Physical. The title track, written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, spent ten weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100,[37] matching the record at that time for most weeks spent at No. 1 in the rock era held by Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life". The single was certified platinum and it ultimately ranked as the biggest song of the decade. (In 2008, Billboard ranked the song No. 6 among all songs that charted in the 50-year history of the Hot 100.)[38]

"Physical" earned Newton-John her only placement ever on the R&B Singles (No. 28) and Albums (No. 32) chart. The Physical album spawned two more singles, "Make a Move on Me" (No. 5 Pop, No. 6 AC)[39] and "Landslide" (No. 52 Pop).

Olivia Newton-John 1988b
Newton-John at the opening of a Koala Blue store in 1988

The provocative lyrics of the "Physical" title track prompted two Utah radio stations to ban the single from their playlists.[40] (In 2010, Billboard magazine ranked this as the most popular single ever about sex.)[41] To counter its overtly suggestive tone, Newton-John filmed an exercise-themed video that turned the song into an aerobics anthem and made headbands a fashion accessory outside the gym.[42]

She pioneered the nascent music video industry by recording a video album for Physical featuring videos of all the album's tracks and three of her older hits. The video album earned her a fourth Grammy and was aired as an ABC prime-time special, Let's Get Physical,[37] becoming a Top 10 Nielsen hit. The success of Physical led to an international tour and the release of her second hits collection, the double platinum Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (No. 16 Pop), which yielded two more Top 40 singles: "Heart Attack" (No. 3 Pop)[39] and "Tied Up" (No. 38 Pop). The tour was filmed for her Olivia in Concert television special which premiered on HBO in January 1983. The special was subsequently released to video earning Newton-John another Grammy nomination.

Newton-John re-teamed with Travolta in 1983 for the critically and commercially unsuccessful Two of a Kind,[43] redeemed by its platinum soundtrack (No. 26 Pop) featuring "Twist of Fate" (No. 5 Pop),[39] "Livin' in Desperate Times" (No. 31 Pop), and a new duet with Travolta, "Take a Chance" (No. 3 AC). Newton-John released another video package, the Grammy-nominated Twist of Fate, featuring videos of her four songs on the Two of a Kind soundtrack and the two new singles from Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2.

That same year Newton-John and Pat Carroll founded Koala Blue.[44][45] The store, originally for Australian imports, evolved into a chain of women's clothing boutiques.[44] The chain was initially successful, but it eventually declared bankruptcy and closed in 1992.[44][33] Newton-John and Farrar would later license the brand name for a line of Australian produced wines, confections, and bed/bath products.

Olivia Newton-John (1989)
Newton-John at the 1989 Academy Awards

Newton-John, a Carlton Football Club fan, performed the Australian national anthem at the 1986 VFL Grand Final between Carlton and Hawthorn[46]

Newton-John's music career cooled again with the release of her next studio album, the gold Soul Kiss (No. 29 Pop), in 1985. The album's only charted single was the title track (No. 20 Pop, No. 20 AC). Due to her pregnancy, Newton-John limited her publicity for the album. The video album for Soul Kiss featured only five of the album's ten tracks (concept videos for the album's singles "Soul Kiss" and "Toughen Up" as well as performance videos of the tracks "Culture Shock", "Emotional Tangle" and "The Right Moment").

Motherhood, cancer and advocacy

After a nearly three-year hiatus following the birth of her daughter Chloe in January 1986, Newton-John resumed her recording career with the 1988 album, The Rumour. The album was promoted by an HBO special, Olivia Down Under, and its first single, the title track, was written and produced by Elton John. Both the single (No. 62 Pop, No. 33 AC) and the album (No. 67 Pop) fizzled[47] as the nearly 40-year-old Newton-John seemed "old" when compared with the teen queens Debbie Gibson and Tiffany ruling the Pop charts at that time. (Ironically, this album was praised by critics as more mature with Newton-John addressing topics such as AIDS, the environment and single-parent households).

The second single, "Can't We Talk It Over in Bed", did not chart, but was released in 1989 by Grayson Hugh, the song's arranger, as "Talk It Over" becoming a Top 20 Pop hit. A year later, Newton-John recorded her self-described "self-indulgent" album, Warm and Tender. Inspired by her daughter, who appeared on the album cover, the album featured lullabies and love songs for parents and their children.[33] This album, the last one produced by John Farrar, also failed to revive her recording career struggling to No. 124 Pop.

Newton-John was primed for another comeback in 1992 when she compiled her third hits collection, Back to Basics – The Essential Collection 1971–1992, and planned her first tour since her Physical trek ten years earlier. Shortly after the album's release Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing her to cancel all publicity for the album, including the tour. (Newton-John received her diagnosis the same weekend her father died.)[48] Newton-John recovered[49] and has since become an advocate for breast cancer research and other health issues. She is a product spokesperson for the Liv-Kit, a breast self-examination product. She is also partial owner of the Gaia Retreat and Spa in Byron Bay, New South Wales.[50]

Newton-John's advocacy for health issues was presaged by her prior involvement with many humanitarian causes. Newton-John cancelled a 1978 concert tour of Japan to protest the slaughter of dolphins caught in tuna fishing nets.[51] She subsequently rescheduled the tour when the Japanese government assured her the matter was being addressed.

She was a performer on the 1979 Music for UNICEF Concert for the UN' International Year of the Child televised worldwide. During the concert, artists performed songs for which they donated their royalties, some in perpetuity, to benefit the cause. She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme.[52]

In 1991, she became the National Spokesperson for the Colette Chuda Environmental Fund/CHEC (Children's Health Environmental Coalition) following the death of four-year-old Colette Chuda, a family friend, from cancer. (Chuda was featured along with Newton-John and daughter Chloe on the cover of Newton-John's Warm and Tender album.)

Newton-John's cancer diagnosis also affected the type of music she recorded. In 1994, she released Gaia: One Woman's Journey which chronicled her ordeal. This was the first album on which Newton-John wrote all of the songs encouraging her to become more active as a songwriter thereafter. In 2005, she released Stronger Than Before, sold exclusively in the U.S. by Hallmark. This was her second exclusive album for Hallmark Cards after her successful first Christmas album 'Tis the Season with Vince Gill five years earlier. Proceeds from the album's sales benefited breast cancer research. The album featured the song "Phenomenal Woman" based on the poem by Maya Angelou that featured guest vocals from Diahann Carroll, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Delta Goodrem, Amy Holland, Patti LaBelle and Mindy Smith – all survivors of or affected by cancer.[53]

The following year, Newton-John released a healing CD, Grace and Gratitude.[54] The album was sold exclusively by Walgreens[55] also to benefit various charities including Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization. The CD was the "heart" of their Body – Heart – Spirit Wellness Collection which also featured a re-branded Liv-Kit and breast-health dietary supplements. She re-recorded some tracks from Grace and Gratitude in 2010 and re-released the album as Grace and Gratitude Renewed on the Green Hill music label. The Renewed CD includes a new track, "Help Me to Heal", not featured on the original album.[56] The Renewed CD yielded Newton-John's first appearances on the Billboard Christian Albums (No. 36), Christian & Gospel Albums (No. 54) and New Age Albums (No. 2) charts.

In 2008, she raised funds to help build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia. She led a three-week, 228 km. walk along the Great Wall of China during April joined by various celebrities and cancer survivors throughout her trek. The walk symbolised the steps cancer patients must take on their road to recovery.[57]

She released a companion CD, A Celebration in Song, the following month in Australia and later worldwide[58] featuring new and previously recorded duets by "Olivia Newton-John & Friends", including Jann Arden, Jimmy Barnes, John Farrar, Barry Gibb, Delta Goodrem, Sun Ho, Richard Marx, Cliff Richard, Melinda Schneider, Amy Sky, and Keith Urban.[59]

Newton-John was featured in UniGlobe Entertainment's breast cancer docu-drama, 1 a Minute, released in October 2010.[60] The documentary was made by actress Namrata Singh Gujral and featured other celebrities who had survived breast cancer or who were affected by the disease. During the same month, Bluewater Productions released a comic book featuring Newton-John to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.[61]

Newton-John was listed as president of the Isle of Man Basking Shark Society between 1998 and 2005.

Later career

Newton-John continued to record and perform pop-oriented music as well. In 1998, she returned to Nashville to record Back with a Heart (No. 59 Pop).[27] The album returned her to the Top 10 (No. 9) on the Country Albums chart. Its first single was a re-recording of "I Honestly Love You" produced by David Foster and featuring Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds on background vocals[27] that charted Pop (No. 67) and AC (No. 18). Country radio dismissed the song, though it did peak at No. 16 on the Country Sales chart. The album track, "Love Is a Gift," won Newton-John a 1999 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Song after being featured on the daytime serial, As the World Turns.

Olivia Newton-John and Stephan Elliott in 2012
Newton-John and Stephan Elliott in January 2012 at the premiere of A Few Best Men in Sydney

Newton-John's subsequent secular albums were released primarily in Australia. Newton-John, John Farnham and Anthony Warlow toured Australia as The Main Event. The live album won an ARIA Award for Highest Selling Australian CD and was also nominated for Best Adult Contemporary Album. She and Farnham performed "Dare to Dream" at the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.[62]

In 2002, Newton-John released (2), a duets album featuring mostly Australian artists (Tina Arena, Darren Hayes, Jimmy Little, Johnny O'Keefe, Billy Thorpe, Keith Urban) as well as a heartfelt "duet" with the deceased Peter Allen. The same year, Newton-John was inducted into Australia's ARIA Hall of Fame. Indigo: Women of Song, a tribute album covering songs by artists such as Joan Baez, the Carpenters, Doris Day, Nina Simone, Minnie Riperton and others, was released in 2004. She dedicated the album to her mother, who had died the previous year.

Newton-John also released several Christmas albums. In 2000, she teamed with Vince Gill and the London Symphony Orchestra for 'Tis the Season sold exclusively through Hallmark. The following year, she released The Christmas Collection which compiled seasonal music previously recorded for her Hallmark Christmas album, her appearance on Kenny Loggins' 1999 TNN Christmas special and her contributions to the Mother and Child and Spirit of Christmas multi-artist collections. (Green Hill Records re-released this album with different artwork in 2010.) In 2007, she re-teamed with her Grace and Gratitude producer, Amy Sky, for Christmas Wish (No. 187 Pop) which was sold exclusively by Target in its first year of release.

Newton-John acted occasionally since Two of a Kind. She appeared in a supporting role in the 1996 AIDS drama, It's My Party. In 2000, she appeared in a dramatically different role as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian ex-con country singer, in Del Shores' Sordid Lives.[62] Newton-John reprised her role for Sordid Lives: The Series which aired one season on the LOGO television network. The series featured five original songs written and composed by Newton-John specifically for the show.[63] In 2010, Newton-John starred in the film Score: A Hockey Musical, released in Canada.[64] Newton-John portrayed Hope Gordon, the mother of a home-schooled hockey prodigy. The film opened the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.[65]

During October–December 1998, Newton-John, John Farnham and Anthony Warlow performed in The Main Event Tour.[66] The album Highlights from The Main Event peaked at No. 1 in December,[67] sold 4× platinum,[68] and won 'Highest Selling Album' at the 1999 ARIA Awards.[69] The Main Event concert was broadcast on national TV and released on video.

For the 2000 Summer Olympics, Newton-John and John Farnham performed "Dare to Dream" during the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony.[70] Broadcast of the ceremony was viewed by an estimated 3.5 billion people around the world.[70]

Newton-John's television work included starring in two Christmas films, A mother for Christmas (1990)[71] and A Christmas Romance (1994) – both Top 10 Nielsen hits. Her daughter, Chloe, starred as one of her children in both A Christmas Romance and in the 2001 Showtime film The Wilde Girls> She guest-starred as herself in the sitcoms Ned and Stacey, Murphy Brown, and Bette, and made two appearances as herself on Glee.

For her first Glee appearance, Newton-John re-created her "Physical" video with series regular Jane Lynch. The performance was released as a digital single, returning Newton-John to the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 89) for the first time since her 1998 re-release of "I Honestly Love You". In Australia, Newton-John hosted the animal and nature series Wild Life and guest starred as Joanna on two episodes of the Australian series The Man From Snowy River.

Newton-John released another concert DVD, Olivia Newton-John and the Sydney Symphony: Live at the Sydney Opera House, and a companion CD, Olivia's Live Hits, in January 2008. An edited version of the DVD premiered on PBS station, WLIW (Garden City, New York) in October 2007 and subsequently aired nationally during the network's fund-raising pledge drives. This was Newton-John's third live album after the 1981 Japanese release, Love Performance, and her 2000 Australian release, One Woman's Live Journey.

Olivia Newton-John Sydney 2008
Newton-John, performing at the Sydney State Theatre in September 2008

In 2008, Newton-John took part in the BBC Wales program Coming Home about her Welsh family history.

In 2009, Newton-John appeared on Andrea Bocelli's holiday album My Christmas and PBS TV holiday special My Christmas Special, with David Foster, Kenny Loggins and Richard Marx.

In January 2011, Newton-John began filming the comedy A Few Best Men in Australia with director Stephan Elliott, in the role of mother of the bride. The groom is played by Xavier Samuel.[72]

2012–present

Newton-John still actively tours.[73] An Australian tour of Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, as well a tour of the United States, treated fans to songs that she had never performed in concert before.[74] In November 2012, Newton-John teamed with John Travolta to make the charity album This Christmas, in support of The Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre and the Jett Travolta Foundation. Artists featured on the album include: Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Chick Corea, Kenny G, Tony Bennett, Cliff Richard and the Count Basie Orchestra. In March 2013 she toured the UK performing in Bournemouth, London, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester.

A 2013 residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas was postponed due to the May 2013 death of her elder sister, Rona (aged 70), from a brain tumor. Newton-John resumed with 45 shows beginning in April 2014.[75][76][77][78] In conjunction with the upcoming Vegas shows, Newton-John released a new EP in April 2014 entitled Hotel Sessions, which consisted of seven tracks of unreleased demos that were recorded between 2002 and 2011 with her nephew Brett Goldsmith. The CD contains a cover of "Broken Wings" as well as the popular-with-fans original "Best of My Love", which had leaked on the internet many years prior.[79]

In 2015, Newton-John was a guest judge on an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. That same year, she scored her first number-one single on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart with "You Have To Believe" with daughter Chloe and producer Dave Aude. The song was a re-imaging of her 1980 single "Magic", which she notes was to celebrate both the 35th anniversary of Xanadu and as a dedication to her daughter, stating "I met Chloe's dad on the set of Xanadu, so, without that film, Chloe wouldn't be here. She was the real 'magic' that came out of that film!"[80] The song became the first mother-daughter single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart.

In May 2017, it was announced that Newton-John's breast cancer had returned and metastasised to her lower back.[81][82]

Personal life

Newton-John married her long-time boyfriend, actor Matt Lattanzi, in December 1984; they divorced in 1995.[83] The couple had met four years earlier while filming Xanadu. Their daughter, Chloe Rose, was born in January 1986.[62]

Newton-John met gaffer/cameraman Patrick McDermott a year after her 1995 divorce from Matt Lattanzi. The couple dated on and off for nine years. McDermott disappeared following a 2005 fishing trip off the Californian coast.[84] Newton-John, who was in Australia at her Gaia Retreat & Spa at the time of his disappearance, was never a suspect in McDermott's disappearance.[85] A US Coast Guard investigation, based on then-available evidence and released in 2008, "suggest[ed] McDermott was lost at sea",[86][87][88] In April 2010, Texas-based private investigator Philip Klein, hired by an American television program, said he had "concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr McDermott is alive" and was living in a boat off the Mexican Pacific coast.[89]

Newton-John married John Easterling, founder and president of the Amazon Herb Company, in an Incan spiritual ceremony in Peru on June 21, 2008, followed by a legal ceremony on Jupiter Island, Florida, nine days later.[90] In June 2009, the couple purchased a new $4.1 million home in Jupiter Inlet, Florida.[91]

Discography

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1965 Funny Things Happen Down Under Olivia Supporting role
1970 Toomorrow Olivia Lead role
1978 Grease Sandy Olsson Lead role
1980 Xanadu Kira Lead role
1983 Two of a Kind Debbie Wylder Lead role
1990 A Mom for Christmas Amy Miller Lead role
1994 A Christmas Romance Julia Stonecypher Lead role
1996 It's My Party Lina Bingham Supporting role
2000 Sordid Lives Bitsy Mae Harling Supporting role
2001 The Wilde Girls Jasmine Wilde Lead role
2010 1 a Minute Herself Documentary
2010 Score: A Hockey Musical Hope Gordon Supporting role
2011 A Few Best Men Barbara Ramme Supporting role
2017 Sharknado 5: Global Swarming Orion Supporting role

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Case Herself BBC special with Cliff Richard & Tim Brooke-Taylor
1974 Eurovision Song Contest Herself United Kingdom Entry: 4th Place
1976 A Special Olivia Newton-John Herself ABC special
1977 Only Olivia Herself BBC special
1978 Olivia Herself ABC special
1980 Hollywood Nights Herself ABC special
1982 Let's Get Physical Herself ABC special
Saturday Night Live Herself – Host Also musical guest
Olivia in Concert Herself HBO special
1988 Olivia Down Under Herself HBO special
1990 Timeless Tales from Hallmark Herself – Host 6 episodes
1995 The Man from Snowy River Joanna Walker Recurring role (3 episodes)
1997 Tracey Takes On... Herself Episode: "Childhood"
Murphy Brown Herself Episode: "I Hear a Symphony"
2001 Bette Herself Episode: "The Invisible Mom"
2002 A Night with Olivia Herself Channel 7 special
2003 Live in Japan 2003 Herself BS-Hi special
2003/07 American Idol Herself – Guest Judge 3 episodes
2008 Sordid Lives: The Series Bitsy Mae Harling Supporting role (12 episodes)
2009 Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List Herself Episode: "Fly the Super Gay Skies"
2010 Glee Herself Episodes: "Bad Reputation", "Journey to Regionals"
2015 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself – Guest Judge Episode: "Glamazonian Airways"
Dancing with the Stars Herself – Guest Judge Episode: "Famous Dances Night"

Tours

Headlining

Co-headlining

Residency show

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Olivia (The Biography of Olivia Newton-John), Tim Ewbank. (2008). Piatkus books. ISBN 978-0-7499-0983-3.
  • Wood, Gerry. (1998). "Olivia Newton-John", in The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 380–1.
  • The Story of the Shadows by Mike Read. 1983. Elm Tree books. ISBN 0-241-10861-6.
  • Rock 'n' Roll, I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life – A Life In The Shadows by Bruce Welch ISBN 0-670-82705-3 (Penguin Books).

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Cliff Richard
with "Power to All Our Friends"
UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
1974
Succeeded by
The Shadows
with "Let Me Be the One"
2 (Olivia Newton-John album)

(2) is the nineteenth studio album by Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John, released on 12 November 2002 in Australia. A duets album, the majority of tracks are with Australian artists, along with two American performers (Richard Marx and Michael McDonald). The Peter Allen and Johnny O'Keefe duets are built around archive recordings, with new vocals added by Newton-John.

The album was planned to include the song True to Yourself, a Vanessa Amorosi song, re-recorded as a duet and it was as meant to track two. However, the track was dropped at the last minute due to contractual disagreements between Amorosi's Transistor Music and Newton-John's Universal Music labels. Both women declared to feel very sad about this situation and have been quick to say that there is no problem between them, but that it is simply a contractual matter.

Come On Over (Olivia Newton-John album)

Come On Over is the eighth studio album by Olivia Newton-John, released on 29 February 1976. It peaked at number 2 on the US Country albums chart, and number 13 on the Billboard 200.

The album's first track, a cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", was only released as a single in Japan, and it became a hit there, peaking at number 11 on the Oricon Singles Chart. The album itself was also a success in the Japanese market, reaching the number 2 position on the Oricon Albums Chart.

In the US, the only single released from the album was the title song, written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb and originally featured on the Bee Gees' 1975 album Main Course. It was a moderate pop hit, peaking at number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but did much better on the country (number 5) and adult contemporary (seventh of ten number 1 singles) charts. In New Zealand, the title track reached number 3. The album was certified Gold.The album also included versions of the traditional song "Greensleeves" and The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" (the ending track), as well as "Who Are You Now?", originally featured in the 1973 movie Hurry Up, or I'll Be 30. Besides Parton's "Jolene" the album also boasts covers of recent country hits by Willie Nelson ("Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain") and Lynn Anderson ("Smile For Me").

Gold (Olivia Newton-John album)

Olivia Newton-John: Gold is a double album of greatest hits by Olivia Newton-John released on June 14, 2005. It contains all but one of her solo Billboard Hot 100 hits (excluding "I Need Love") and is the first CD to contain the track "Fool Country" (a B-side to "Magic" and contained in the film Xanadu, but not available on the soundtrack). The album is considered the most thorough of all of Newton-John's many compilation albums.

A different version of the album was released in Australia in conjunction with the Olivia Gold DVD release.

Highlights from The Main Event

Highlights from The Main Event is an Australian live album released in 1998, which consists of performances from the collaborative The Main Event Tour by John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, and Anthony Warlow. The album peaked at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart for two weeks in December that year. It was re-released in 2001 with three additional tracks.

Lift Me Up (Olivia Newton-John and Darren Hayes song)

"Lift Me Up" is a song co-written by Darren Hayes, the vocalist for Savage Garden, and producer Rick Nowels.

The song was originally offered to the Backstreet Boys for possible inclusion in one of their forthcoming albums at the time. Although the Backstreet Boys did record the song in the studio, it did not make the final cut for inclusion in the album, as they reportedly had dozens of songs to consider.

Hayes then offered the song to Olivia Newton-John, as he had a contractual agreement with her management to provide songs for her. She accepted to use the song and included it in her album of duets that she was planning, inviting Hayes to record it with her. The Olivia Newton-John/Darren Hayes duo's recording appears as the second track on her album (2).

Darren Hayes later recorded a solo version of the song. The Backstreet Boys' version, despite not being on any of their recordings, has appeared online.

List of Olivia Newton-John concert tours

Olivia Newton-John has embarked on 18 concert tours in total. Headliner at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas from April 8 through August 3 2014

List of awards and honours received by Olivia Newton-John

This is a list of awards won by Olivia Newton-John, an English-born Australian pop singer and actress. She has been active since 1963, when she was 15.

Long Live Love (Olivia Newton-John song)

"Long Live Love" was the British entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 in Brighton, United Kingdom. It was sung by Olivia Newton-John in English.

The song's composers, Valerie Avon and Harold Spiro, had worked together as staff writers for Belwin Mills Publishing since 1970 and had placed songs with several artists: Newton-John had recorded the Avon/Spiro composition "Don't Move Away" as a duet with Cliff Richard, the track serving as B-side to Richard's 1971 hit "Sunny Honey Girl".

"Long Live Love" was the third bid Avon and Spriro had made to have a song of their composing be the UK Eurovision entrant, having finished 4th in a field of six at A Song For Europe 1970 with "Can I Believe" while at A Song For Europe 1971 the Avon/Spiro composition "In My World of Beautiful Things" had finished 6th in a field of six.

Newton-John introduced one of each of the six nominated songs on a broadcast of Jimmy Savile's Clunk Click TV show; on 23 February 1974 a TV broadcast entitled A Song For Europe 1974 announced the tally of viewers' mailed-in ballots, with "Long Live Love" the clear victor at 27,387 votes. The runner-up, "Angel Eyes" - which was Newton-John's favourite - gained 18,018 votes.

Considered a strong contender for Eurovision 1974, "Long Live Love" was performed second on the night of the final (following Finland's Carita Holmström singing "Keep Me Warm" and preceding Spain's Peret with "Canta y sé feliz"). The conductor for the number was Nick Ingman and Newton-John was backed by a five-woman chorale which included the Ladybirds, the trio who had sung backup for Sandie Shaw on her victorious performance of "Puppet on a String" at Eurovision 1967. At the close of voting "Long Live Love" had received 14 points to place in a three way tie for 4th in a field of 17, "Bye Bye I Love You" by Ireen Sheer singing for Luxembourg and "Celui qui reste et celui qui s'en va" by Romuald singing for Monaco also having accrued 14 points. Newton-John admitted post-contest: "I was never really happy with the song I had to sing."

Newton-John made recorded versions of all the songs she had performed for UK Eurovision 1974 consideration, these tracks making up half of Long Live Love, a December 1974 Olivia Newton-John album release, with "Angel Eyes" being utilized as the B-side of the single release of "Long Live Love."

In the British Isles "Long Live Love" charted in the UK with a #11 peak and reached #9 in Ireland: the track also afforded Newton-John a #11 hit in her adopted homeland of Australia. In anticipation of a boost from its expected strong Eurovision showing, "Long Live Love" was widely released throughout mainland Europe with the track having its highest global impact in Norway with a three-week chart peak tenure at #3, being kept from #1 by the chart-topping 1974 Eurovision victor "Waterloo" (ABBA) with first "Devil Gate Drive" (Suzi Quatro) and then "Seasons in the Sun" (Terry Jacks) at #2. However "Long Live Love" did not afford Newton-John widespread European success, otherwise charting only on Belgium's Dutch chart (#7) and in Finland (#9). Newton-John herself recorded a German-language version of "Long Live Love", while renderings in Norwegian and Finnish were recorded by respectively Gluntan (no) ("Det Er Et Sted") and Päivi Paunu ("Kun Rakastaa").

"Long Live Love" was succeeded as British representative at the 1975 contest by The Shadows "Let Me Be the One". Olivia Newton-John would be the last solo act to represent the UK at Eurovision until Eurovision 1985.

Olivia (Olivia Newton-John album)

Olivia is the second studio album by the Australian singer-songwriter Olivia Newton-John, released in 1972. Two of its songs were released as singles ("What Is Life" and "My Old Man's Got a Gun"). In its initial release, it was not issued in the United States, though it was sold there as an import. A digitally remastered version was released in 1995.

Olivia Newton-John 2006 World Tour

The 2006 World Tour was the twelfth concert tour by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John. The tour had two legs, first in Japan, and second in Australia. A tour recording in Australia was released on DVD and CD, by EMI.

Physical (Olivia Newton-John song)

"Physical" is a song by British-born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John for her twelfth studio album Physical. It was released in September 1981 by MCA Records as the lead single from the album. The song was written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, who had originally intended to offer it to British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart, and produced by John Farrar. The song had also been offered to Tina Turner by her manager Roger Davies, but when Turner declined, Davies gave the song to Newton-John, another of his clients.The song was an immediate success, shipping two million copies in the United States, where it was certified Platinum and spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Physical" ultimately became Newton-John's biggest American hit and cemented her legacy as a pop superstar, a journey that began when she crossed over from her earlier country-pop roots. The song's suggestive lyrics, which even caused it to be banned in some markets, helped change Newton-John's longstanding clean-cut image, replacing it with a sexy, assertive persona that was strengthened with follow-up hits such as "Make A Move On Me", "Twist of Fate" and "Soul Kiss". The song's guitar solo was performed by Steve Lukather.

The song reached #7 on the UK chart in November, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and won the Billboard Award for Top Pop Single.

Soul Kiss

Soul Kiss is the thirteenth studio album by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, which was released in October 1985. It made No. 11 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and the Top 30 on the United States Billboard 200. The album was produced by long-time associate, John Farrar, who also co-wrote four tracks; the cover art includes photography of Newton-John by Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts.

Suddenly (Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard song)

"Suddenly" is a duet performed by Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard from the soundtrack album Xanadu, and is the love theme from the 1980 film of the same name. It was written and produced by John Farrar.

"Suddenly" was released on Jet Records and reached number 15 in the UK charts in October 1980 and number 20 in the US in January 1981. It was also a major adult contemporary hit, reaching number four. The video shows them in a penthouse singing the song to each other taken from her ABC TV special "Hollywood Nights" that aired before the Academy Awards on March 31st, 1981.

The Definitive Collection (Olivia Newton-John album)

The Definitive Collection is a compilation of the greatest hits by Olivia Newton-John, an internationally recognised singer and actress. The album was released in 2001 (Europe 2002, Japan 2003 (as The Best of ONJ)) on a CD by Universal and featured 22 of her all time hits.

Xanadu (Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra song)

"Xanadu" is the title song from the soundtrack album Xanadu, and is the title song from the 1980 film of the same name. The song is performed by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John. Newton-John sings the primary vocals, with ELO lead singer Jeff Lynne adding "parenthetic" vocals in the style of their other songs on the Xanadu soundtrack, along with ELO providing the instrumentation. It is Jeff Lynne's favourite song of all that he has written.The single reached number one in several countries, and was the band's only UK number one single, when it peaked there for two weeks in July 1980. It was certified as "silver" by the British Phonographic Industry. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

Xanadu (soundtrack)

Xanadu is the soundtrack of the 1980 musical film of the same name, featuring the Australian singer Olivia Newton-John and the British group Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was released in June 1980 on MCA Records in the United States and July 1980 by Jet Records in the United Kingdom. The original LP release featured on side one the songs of Newton-John, and on side two the songs of ELO. In 2008 the soundtrack album was digitally remastered as a bonus CD as part of the film's DVD release entitled Xanadu – Magical Musical Edition.

Although the film was a critical and commercial disappointment, the soundtrack was a worldwide success and received positive reviews from music critics going double platinum in the US and Canada. The hit singles "Magic" and "Xanadu", peaked at number one in the United States and United Kingdom, respectively. Both singles also went to number one in the Netherlands and Italy, respectively. It was the 5th most popular US soundtrack in 1981.

You're the One That I Want

"You're the One That I Want" is a song performed by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the 1978 film version of the musical Grease. It was written and produced by John Farrar.

"You're the One That I Want" is one of the best-selling singles in history, having sold over 6 million copies among the United States, the United Kingdom, and France alone, with estimates of more than 15 million copies sold overall.

Olivia Newton-John
Studio albums
Compilations
Live albums
Soundtracks
EPs
Video releases
Singles
Featured singles
Other songs
Concert tours
Related articles
 United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest

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