Tuesday, 9 August 2022

My Top Ten Olivia Newton-John Songs

Even Godesses aren't immortal.

Farewell, Olivia. Thanks for the memories...

(I put this together pretty quickly last night, as soon as I heard the news. Most of the songs are the obvious choices. I may have to do another ten some time to prove just how much we've lost.)

10. Magic

On the surface, this is a standard early 80s disco hit. But then the minor chords keep hitting and... it's really quite chilling. And what a voice.

A Gerry Rafferty composition, on which Olivia once again proves herself a singer on par with Karen Carpenter. And how many people can claim that?

Remember a holiday in a north-of-England town
You slept in a room upstairs on a bed of eiderdown

You don't mess with Olivia. We all knew this. 

Where did my innocence go, indeed?

6. Xanadu

One of Jeff Lynne's best songs... and a video that's out of this world.

Here's a song that, had it been recorded by just about anybody else, it would have seemed egotistical. Not Olivia though.

Don't play B17.

Steady on. Watching this now makes me feel both very old and very young at the same time.

I was nine when Physical came out. Far too young to understand what any of this was about. And yet, when I saw this video on Top of the Pops...

1. Summer Nights (with John Travolta)

I was six when Grease came out. Far too young to understand what any of this was about. And yet, when I saw this video on Top of the Pops...

Rest in peace, Miss Newton-John.


  1. A great selection there, Rol, especially considering the limited time that you had to put it together. I only managed a couple of YouTube links to Magic and Xanadu but couldn't quite bring myself to stretch to Physical and copped out with a Goldfrapp cover version.

    Lady K saw Summer Nights on a clip show the other night and was particularly bemused by the Danny and the T-Birds hand gestures and miming on the bleachers...

    1. Yeah. Grease is an amazing time capsule, and quite risque for its day. (Or maybe not... maybe we're just more prudish these days.)

  2. ......and how many pop stars have a Nobel-prize winning grandfather?

    1. After an extensive search, I have to say no more. Although Mark Everett from Eels, his dad was in a similar field and was the guy who came up with the idea of parallel universes. Never won a prize for it, and I doubt Marvel or Star Trek have paid him any royalties.

  3. Let's Get Physical; it's a call to arms, isn't it? She'll be missed.

  4. We both really liked Juliana Hatfield’s album of ONJ covers. Seems like as good a time as any to plug that again. Xanadu was not the first album I ever bought with my own money (that would be Ramones a couple of years later), but it was the first album my parents bought for me... due largely to the fact I wouldn’t stop pestering them for it... I eventually wore them down. She may have left this earth, but we will continue to enjoy her music. Great solace in knowing that. - Brian

    1. Yes, that Juliana Hatfield album was a corker.

  5. I’ve been away this week, meeting up with my old student flatmates. We were out for dinner when the news broke and were collectively saddened. I was just the right age for her biggest moments in the spotlight - a lovely lady who will be missed by all who knew her.

    Thanks for this fine tribute.


  6. I've seen a few folk make reference to the fact you had come with very fine tributes to ONJ....and they were right. So sorry it's taken me so long to drop by and read them. You're a bit of a genius, young man.


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