Olivia Newton-John

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Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John 2.jpg
Newton-John in Sydney, Australia 2012
Born (1948-09-26) 26 September 1948 (age 70)
Cambridge, England
OccupationSinger, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, activist
Years active1963–present
Children Chloe Rose Lattanzi
Relatives Max Born (grandfather)
Brett Goldsmith (nephew)
Tottie Goldsmith (niece)
Gustav Victor Rudolf Born (uncle)
Musical career
Website olivianewton-john.com

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.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

<i>Grease</i> (film) 1978 romantic musical film directed by Randal Kleiser

Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy movie based on the 1971 musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Written by Bronte Woodard and directed by Randal Kleiser in his theatrical feature film debut, the film depicts the lives of greaser Danny Zuko and Australian transfer student Sandy Olsson who develop an attraction for each other. The film stars John Travolta as Danny, Olivia Newton-John as Sandy, and Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo, the leader of the Pink Ladies.


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.

Chloe Rose Lattanzi is an American singer and actress who was born in Los Angeles to actress and singer Olivia Newton-John and actor Matt Lattanzi. Her maternal great-grandfather is Nobel prize-winning physicist Max Born.

Matt Lattanzi American actor and dancer

Matthew Vincent Lattanzi is an American actor and dancer. He is most commonly recognized as the first husband of singer and actor Olivia Newton-John, and for his acting in films such as My Tutor and the soap opera Paradise Beach.

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.

Cambridge City and non-metropolitan district in England

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, its population was 123,867 including 24,506 students. Cambridge became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.

Welsh people nation and ethnic group native to Wales

The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.

Max Born physicist

Max Born was a German-Jewish physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function".

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.

MI5 British domestic security agency

The Security Service, also known as MI5, is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI). MI5 is directed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), and the service is bound by the Security Service Act 1989. The service is directed to protect British parliamentary democracy and economic interests, and counter terrorism and espionage within the UK.

Enigma machine German cipher machine

The Enigma machine is an encryption device developed and used in the early- to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communication. It was employed extensively by Nazi Germany during World War II, in all branches of the German military.

Bletchley Park British country house

Bletchley Park is a nineteenth-century mansion and estate near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, constructed during the years following 1883 for the English financier and politician Sir Herbert Samuel Leon in the Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles, on the site of older buildings of the same name. It has received latter-day fame as the central site for British codebreakers during World War II, although at the time of their operation this fact was a closely guarded secret. During the Second World War, the estate housed the British Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers; among its most notable early personnel the GC&CS team of codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander and Stuart Milner-Barry.

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]

Jeff Conaway American actor

Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway was an American actor and singer known for playing Kenickie in the movie Grease and for his roles in two American television series, Taxi and Babylon 5. Conaway was also featured in the first and second seasons of the reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 5 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

University of Melbourne Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria

The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. Melbourne's main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria.

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

University High School, Melbourne high school in Melbourne, Australia

The University High School is a government-funded co-educational secondary day school, located in the Melbourne suburb of Parkville, Victoria, Australia. As of 2016, 1,425 students attended the school.

Ormond College residential college of the University of Melbourne

Ormond College is the largest of the residential colleges of the University of Melbourne located in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is home to around 350 undergraduates, 90 graduates and 35 professorial and academic residents.


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".[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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]

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


Newton-John appearing with John Travolta in 1982 John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.jpg
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.[ citation needed ]

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.)[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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).)[ citation needed ]

"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).

Newton-John at the opening of a Koala Blue store in 1988 Olivia Newton-John 1988b.jpg
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.[ citation needed ]

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 .[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

Newton-John at the 1989 Academy Awards Olivia Newton-John (1989).jpg
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").[ citation needed ]

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).[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.)[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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 .

Newton-John and Stephan Elliott in January 2012 at the premiere of A Few Best Men in Sydney Olivia Newton-John and Stephan Elliott in 2012.jpg
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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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 .[ citation needed ]

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 .[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

Newton-John, performing at the Sydney State Theatre in September 2008 Olivia Newton-John Sydney 2008.jpg
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.[ citation needed ]

Newton-John at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival OliviaNewton-John10TIFF.jpg
Newton-John at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival

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]


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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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]




1965 Funny Things Happen Down Under OliviaSupporting role
1970 Toomorrow OliviaLead role
1978 Grease Sandra Dee "Sandy" OlssonLead role
1980 Xanadu KiraLead role
1983 Two of a Kind Debbie WylderLead role
1990 A Mom for Christmas Amy MillerLead role
1994 A Christmas Romance Julia StonecypherLead role
1996 It's My Party Lina BinghamSupporting role
2000 Sordid Lives Bitsy Mae HarlingSupporting role
2001The Wilde GirlsJasmine WildeLead role
2010 1 a Minute HerselfDocumentary
2010 Score: A Hockey Musical Hope GordonSupporting role
2011 A Few Best Men Barbara RammeSupporting role
2017 Sharknado 5: Global Swarming OrionSupporting role


1972The CaseHerself BBC special with Cliff Richard & Tim Brooke-Taylor
1974 Eurovision Song Contest HerselfUnited Kingdom Entry: 4th Place
1976A Special Olivia Newton-JohnHerself ABC special
1977Only OliviaHerselfBBC special
1978OliviaHerselfABC special
1980Hollywood NightsHerselfABC special
1982 Let's Get Physical HerselfABC special
Saturday Night Live Herself – HostAlso musical guest
Olivia in Concert Herself HBO special
1988 Olivia Down Under HerselfHBO special
1990 Timeless Tales from Hallmark Herself – Host6 episodes
1995 The Man from Snowy River Joanna WalkerRecurring role (3 episodes)
1997 Tracey Takes On... HerselfEpisode: "Childhood"
Murphy Brown HerselfEpisode: "I Hear a Symphony"
2001 Bette HerselfEpisode: "The Invisible Mom"
2002A Night with OliviaHerself Channel 7 special
2003Live in Japan 2003Herself BS-Hi special
2003/07 American Idol Herself – Guest Judge3 episodes
2008 Sordid Lives: The Series Bitsy Mae HarlingSupporting role (12 episodes)
2009 Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List HerselfEpisode: "Fly the Super Gay Skies"
2010 Glee HerselfEpisodes: "Bad Reputation", "Journey to Regionals"
2015 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself – Guest JudgeEpisode: "Glamazonian Airways"
Dancing with the Stars Herself – Guest JudgeEpisode: "Famous Dances Night"




Residency show

See also

Awards and honours

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<i>If You Love Me, Let Me Know</i> 1974 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

If You Love Me, Let Me Know is a United States and Canada-only album by singer Olivia Newton-John, released in May 1974. Other than the title track, all the material was from her previous albums, Olivia (1972), Music Makes My Day (1973) and Long Live Love (1974). It is the first of her albums to top the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. Two hit singles were issued from the LP in the US: the title song and "I Honestly Love You", the latter of which became Newton-John's first number-one US single, and her signature song as well.

<i>Physical</i> (album) 1981 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

Physical is the ninth full-length studio album by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, released on 13 October 1981 by MCA Records. The album was produced and partly written by her long-time record producer John Farrar. Recorded and mixed at David J. Holman's studio in Hollywood, California, Physical became one of Newton-John's most controversial and sexual records, and her most successful studio album to date. Musically, the album features considerable use of synthesizers, and it explores lyrical themes such as love and relationships, sex, kinesthetics, and environmental protection. Upon its release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics, many of them considering it to be Newton-John's best work. The album charted high in several countries, including the United States, Japan, and Newton-John's native Australia, becoming one of the most successful albums of the early 1980s. It also ranks among the best-selling albums by Australian solo artists, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide.

<i>Dont Stop Believin</i> (album) 1976 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

Don't Stop Believin' is an album by Olivia Newton-John, released in 1976 and her first to be recorded in Nashville. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and peaked at No. 33 on the US Pop chart and No. 7 on the US Country chart, and became her third chart-topping album in the Netherlands.

<i>Totally Hot</i> 1978 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

Totally Hot is Olivia Newton-John's ninth US and tenth international studio album. Released in November 1978, it became her first solo Top 10 album since 1975's Have You Never Been Mellow. Dressed on the album cover all in leather, Newton-John's transformation was seen to mirror her character Sandy's transformation in Grease. The album's singles "A Little More Love", "Deeper Than the Night", and the title track all demonstrated a more aggressive and uptempo sound for Newton-John. Newton-John filmed promotional videos for all three singles and wrote two of the album's tracks, "Borrowed Time" and "Talk to Me".

<i>Making a Good Thing Better</i> 1977 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

Making a Good Thing Better is an album by Olivia Newton-John, released in 1977.

<i>Olivia Newton-Johns Greatest Hits</i> 1977 greatest hits album by Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits is the first greatest hits album by Olivia Newton-John released in 1977 in the United States. The album collected all of Newton-John's American Top 40 singles released between 1971 and 1977. "Changes" was the only track not released as a single, but it was one of Newton-John's first self-written songs that she recorded. The album was Newton-John's first platinum certification peaking No. 13 Pop and No. 7 Country. It ended up being certified double Platinum in the US and Platinum in the UK and Canada, and also Gold in Hong Kong. The LP sold 133,660 and the cassette 27,150 copies in Japan.

<i>Olivias Greatest Hits Vol. 2</i> 1982 compilation album by Olivia Newton-John

Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 is the second greatest hits album by Olivia Newton-John released on September 3, 1982. The album compiled most singles released by Newton-John since the release of her 1977 Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits album from her following albums and soundtracks. The album included two new recordings; "Heart Attack" and "Tied Up". Both songs were released as singles and reached number 3 and 38 on the pop charts, respectively. "Heart Attack" was a number one single in France.

Hopelessly Devoted to You 1978 Olivia Newton-John song

"Hopelessly Devoted to You" is a song recorded by Olivia Newton-John from Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture (1978). It was written and produced by John Farrar, and originally performed by Newton-John in the film version of the musical Grease (1978). The song received an Oscar nomination as Best Original Song, losing to "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday at the 51st Academy Awards.

<i>Let Me Be There</i> (album) 1973 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

Let Me Be There is the third studio album by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John. It was originally released on 20 March 1973 as Music Makes My Day in the United Kingdom, by Pye International Records, and shortly after in Australia as Let Me Be There, which became its most recognizable name. In the United States and Canada, Let Me Be There was released with an alternative tracklist, combining songs from the original release with other tracks from Newton-John's previous albums If Not for You and Olivia.

Olivia Newton-John albums discography albums discography

The albums discography of British-Australian recording artist Olivia Newton-John consists of twenty-eight studio albums, six live albums, seventeen compilations and four soundtracks. She is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five number-one and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles, and two number-one Billboard 200 solo albums. Eleven of her singles and fourteen of her albums 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. She starred in Grease, which featured one of the most successful soundtracks in Hollywood history.

<i>If Not for You</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Olivia Newton-John

If Not for You is the debut studio album by British-Australian singer-songwriter Olivia Newton-John, released in November 1971 by Festival Records. The album was released on the Pye International label in the UK as Olivia Newton-John, with a slightly different cover. As a covers album, If Not for You features mostly songs previously recorded from contemporary artists of the 1960s and early 1970s. She made several performances to promote If Not for You and her follow-up album, Olivia, including an international tour with British singer Cliff Richard. It was her first album released by Festival Records, which would release all her albums in Australia until its dissolution in 2005. It also has Newton-John's first works with her long-time musical partner, John Farrar.

Olivia Newton-John videography

The videography of Australian singer-songwriter Olivia Newton-John consists of sixty-two music videos, three concert tour videos, four music video collections, two music video compilations, one TV special video and three promotional videos for television programs.

One Womans Journey Tour

One Woman's Journey Tour was the eighth concert tour by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John. It promotes her seventeenth studio album, Back with a Heart. The tour was announced after the success of the Greatest Hits Tour, and had 30 dates across the United States.

<i>This Christmas</i> (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John album) 2012 studio album by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

This Christmas is a Christmas album by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, released on November 9, 2012 by Universal Music Enterprises. The first time that Travolta and Newton-John worked together was on the musical film Grease (1978), which they performed the songs "You're the One That I Want" and "Summer Nights". Both the film and the songs were a commercial phenomenon. This album is the first new artistic work they have done together since the 1983 film Two of a Kind. This Christmas is also the twenty-fifth studio album, following the 2008 release A Celebration in Song, and the third all-new Christmas album by Newton-John.


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  91. "Olivia Newton-John and hubby buy home in Jupiter Inlet Colony". TCPalm.com. Archived from the original on 23 June 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2010.


Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Cliff Richard
with "Power to All Our Friends"
UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
The Shadows
with "Let Me Be the One"