July 3, 2008

ONJ …So my wife comes to me earlier tonight and asks, if we can have all this great surf music playing on our mix, how about creating for me an Olivia Newton-John CD? “Olivia Newton-John”, I responded – “now there’s a blast from the past!” You see, I have very fond recollection of ONJ’s earlier music – y’know, before she shimmied into tight jeans and spandex for “Grease” with John Travolta and began her transformation from sweet innocent country girl to sex kitten / disco queen.

And boy, did she pile up a number of great tunes before tossing aside that wholesome image: “If Not For You”, “Let Me Be There”, “If You Love Me Let Me Know”, “I Honestly Love You” (an all-time favorite of mine, BTW), “Have You Ever Been Mellow”, “Please Mr. Please”, “Sam”, “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Come On Over” (another fave), “Something Better To Do”. But even her non-hit album material was excellent – a passionate “Banks Of The Ohio” and a wonderful copy of Elton John’s “Love Song” Phew! Great stuff there. And who can forget her wonderful uncredited cameo on John Denver’s “Fly Away”, where she single-handedly turns a pleasant but rather pedestrian tune into a shining jewel. Between the years of 1971-77 one could argue she and Linda Ronstadt were the top pop female vocalists in the world.

The funny thing is, she didn’t have a lot of range vocally, but her long-time producer oshe was always given great material by her long-time producer John Farrar to work with, and he knew what worked best for her. That my brother Mark and I were real Olivia fans there was little doubt – we had all her albums right up until “Grease”, and we made sure our band Top Priority included “Let Me Be There” in our wedding and dance repertoire as a tribute to her. Given the fact that at the same time we were totally into Pink Floyd and going the same route with The Beach Boys, you could say our tastes were pretty eclectic!

But it wasn’t just the music – let’s face it, she was pretty damned cute. I wouldn’t call her beautiful but she was sexy in a wholesome, girl-next-door way. One look at the album cover of one of her great early albums, “If You Love Me Let Me Know” illustrates the point. Not suggestive in any way, just a pretty girl in jeans who looks like the kind of girl that would rip your heart out and leave you gasping for more and loving every minute of it. Once she did “Grease” and got into disco with her “Physical” and “Xanadu” albums, however, the bloom was kinda off the rose as I got into my punk and Ramones craze, and Mark joined the Army and got into the late ’70s hard rock of Kansas, Boston, Aerosmith, and fifty million other bands with one-word names.

Listening to some of those tunes as I try to build Tracey’s ONJ compilation disc sure brings back some fond memories and reminds one of just how at the top of her game she was in the ’70s. Unbelievable as it seems, most of her early albums are no longer in print or created for CD; fortunately, however, most of the material on those albums is spread across a variety of compilation and “greatest hits” collections.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:14 | Comments Off on When Olivia Was Tops
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info