Entries

Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television Contemporary MusiciansContemporary Musicians Further reading

NON JS

Newton-John, Olivia 1948-

Newton-John, Olivia 1948-

PERSONAL

Born September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England; immigrated to Australia, 1953; daughter of Brin (a profes- sor of German) and Irene (maiden name, Born) Newton-John; granddaughter of Max Born (a physicist); sister of Rona Newton-John (a screenwriter); married Matt Lattanzi (an actor), 1984 (divorced, 1995); children: Chloe Rose. Education: Attended high school in Melbourne, Australia. Avocational Interests: Tennis, hiking, nature walks.

Addresses:

Agent—Innovative Artists Talent, 1999 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067-6022.

Career:

Singer and actress. Performed in numerous concerts, including appearance at Metropolitan Opera House, New York City; Don't Stop Believin' Tour, international cities, 1976; Physical Tour, U.S. cities, 1981; and Main Event Tour, Australian cities, 1998. Sol Four (girl band), cofounder, 1963. Koala Blue (chain of boutiques), West Hollywood, CA, cofounder and partner, c. 1983-91. United Nations, served as ambassador for the environment; Colette Chuda Environmental Fund (now Children's Health Environmental Coalition), national spokesperson.

Awards, Honors:

Named Best British Girl Singer, 1971; Academy of Country Music Award, most promising female vocalist, and Grammy Award, best female country vocal performance, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, both 1973, for "Let Me Be There"; Country Award, star of tomorrow, The Nashville Network Music City News, 1974; American Guild of Variety Artists Award, 1974; Grammy awards, record of the year and best female pop vocal performance, both 1974, and American Music Award, pop/ rock favorite single, 1975, all for "I Honestly Love You"; (British) Country Music Association awards, female vocalist of the year, 1974 and 1975; Cashbox awards, number one new female vocalist (singles category), 1974, and number one new female vocalist (albums category), 1975, National Association of Retail Merchandisers; Record World awards, 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1978; Billboard awards, 1974, 1975, and 1982; People's Choice awards, 1974, 1976, and 1979; American Music Award, country favorite album, 1975, for Let Me Be There; Country Music Award, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 1975, for "Please, Mr. Please"; American Music awards, country favorite female vocalist, 1975 and 1976, and pop/rock favorite female vocalist, 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1983; People's Choice awards, best female musical performer, 1975, 1977, 1979, and best motion picture actress, 1979; American Music Award, pop/rock favorite album, 1976, for Have You Never Been Mellow; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actress in a musical or comedy motion picture, 1978, for Grease; People's Choice Award, favorite motion picture actress, 1979; created officer, Order of the British Empire, 1979; National Juke Box Award, 1980; received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1981; Grammy Award, best video, 1983, for Let's Get Physical; CableACE Award nomination, best actress in a variety program, 1983, Grammy Award nomination, best video album, 1984, for Olivia in Convert; cited among the fifty most beautiful women in the world, People Weekly, 1998; Daytime Emmy Award (with Earl Rose and Victoria Lynn Shaw), outstanding original song, 1999, for "This Is Our Moment, " As the World Turns; awards from American Red Cross and Women's Guild of Cedars-Sinai Hospital, 1999; Ermenegildo Zegna International Environmental Award, Environmental Media Association, 2000; Lifetime Achievement Award, Australian Record Industry Association, 2002; DVD Exclusive Award nomination (with others), best original song in a DVD premiere movie, 2003, for The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration; Awarded Officer of the Order of Australia Medal, 2006.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Funny Things Happen Down Under, Pacific Films, 1966.

Olivia, Toomorrow, RCA, 1970.

Sandy Olsen, Grease, Paramount, 1978.

Kira, Xanadu, Universal, 1980.

Debbie Wylder, Two of a Kind, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983.

She's Having a Baby, 1988.

The Global Forum, 1990.

Madonna: Truth or Dare (also known as In Bed with Madonna and Truth or Dare), 1991.

Lina Bingham, It's My Party, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1996.

Bitsy Mae Harling, Sordid Lives, 2000.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Getaway with Cliff, 1971.

The New-Fangled Wandering Minstrel Show, 1973.

The Bob Hope Special, 1974.

The Eurovision Song Contest, 1974.

John Denver: Rocky Mountain Christmas, 1975.

Perry Como's Springtime Special, 1975.

A Special Olivia Newton-John, ABC, 1975.

Glenn CampbellDown Home—Down Under, 1976.

Host, The Olivia Newton-John Show, 1976.

Carpenters Very First Televison Special, 1976.

Fair Weather Friends, 1977.

Love atThe Greek’, 1977.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Christmas Special, 1977.

Only Olivia, BBC, 1977.

Olivia, ABC, 1978.

Grease Day USA, 1978.

The Music for UNICEF Concert: A Gift of Song (also known as A Gift of Song: The Music for UNICEF Concert), 1979.

Mac Davis 10th Anniversary Special: I Still Believe in Music, 1980.

Host, Olivia Newton-John's Hollywood Nights, ABC, 1980.

The Sensational, Shocking, Wonderful, Wacky '70s, 1980.

A Gift of Song, NBC, 1980.

The Making of "Xanadu," 1980.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Stand Up and Cheer for the National Football League …, 1981.

Bob Hope Special: The Bob Hope Christmas Special, 1981.

Music Central, 1981.

Physical, ABC, 1981.

Host, Let's Get Physical—Olivia Newton-John, 1982.

Live in Concert, HBO, 1982.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Salute to NASA—25 Years of Reaching for the Stars, 1983.

Host, Olivia Newton-John in Concert, 1983.

Olympic Gala, 1984.

The American Film Institute Salute to Gene Kelly, 1985.

The Living Seas (also known as Disney's "Living Seas"), 1986.

Olivia Newton-John in Australia (also known as Down Under), HBO, 1988.

The Australian Royal Bicentennial Concert, 1989.

Host and song performer, Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1989.

There Really Is a Santa Claus, syndicated, 1989.

Olivia Newton-John: Warm and Tender, 1989.

Host from Paris, Earth '90: Children and the Environment, 1990.

An Evening with Bette, Cher, Goldie, Meryl, Olivia, Lily, and Robin, 1990.

Night of 100 Stars III, NBC, 1990.

Starathon '90, 1990.

Mothers and Others, 1990.

In a New Light, ABC, 1992.

Segment host, A 70's Celebration: The Beat Is Back, NBC, 1993.

Host, Lifetime Applauds: The Fight Against Breast Cancer, Lifetime, 1996.

Bee Gees: One Night Only (also known as The Bee Gees in Concert), 1997.

Scott Hamilton: Back on the Ice, CBS, 1997.

Voices of HopeFinding the Cures for Breast and Ovarian Cancer, 1997.

Snowden on Ice, CBS, 1997.

The Main Event, 1998.

VH-1 Where Are They Now: Grease, VH-1, 1998.

Female storyteller, The Christmas Angel: A Story on Ice, NBC, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Olivia Newton-John, Lifetime, 1998.

Mariah Around the World, UPN, 1998.

Kenny Loggins: December, The Nashville Network, 1999.

Host and narrator, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, ABC, 2000.

My Romance: An Evening with Jim Brickman, PBS, 2000.

Headliners and Legends, MSNBC, 2000.

Celebrity Profile, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

The Cliff Richard Story, ITV, 2000.

Grease 20th Anniversary Re-Release Party, VH1, 2002.

American Bandstand's 50th Anniversary Celebration, ABC, 2002.

Sandy, The Guru, 2002.

Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The 1970s, 2002.

Retrosexual: The 80's, VH1, 2004.

40 Most Awesomely Bad Dirrty SongsEver, 2004.

John Travolta: The Inside Story, Channel 5, 2004.

The Royal Variety Performance 2004, BBC, 2004.

CMT: Class of 1975, Country Music Television, 2005.

Once Upon a Time (also known as H. C. Andersen Show: Once Upon a Time), 2005.

Whatever Happened to the Gender Benders?, Channel 4, 2005.

Saturday Swings, BBC, 2005.

CMA Red Carpet Live from NYC, Country Music Television, 2005.

The 100 Greatest Family Films, Channel 4, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest host, Lovely Livvy, 1964.

Disco, 1971 and 1972.

The Dean Martin Show (also known as The Dean Martin Comedy Hour), 1972.

It's Cliff Richard, BBC, 1972.

Clunck-Click, 1974.

Celebrity Sweepstakes, 1974.

The Midnight Special, 1974 and 1975.

Mike Douglas, 1979.

The Merv Griffin Show, 1981.

Musikladen, 1981 and 1982.

Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1982.

Tocata, 1985.

On Top All Over the World, 1985.

Dionne and Friends, syndicated, 1990.

Host, Timeless Tales from Hallmark, USA Network, 1990.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1990.

Arsenio Hall, 1992.

Joanna Walker, "The Search," Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Family Channel, 1994.

Ray Martin, Channel 9, 1994.

Extra (also known as Extra: The Entertainment Magazine), 1994.

Joanna Walker, "The Lost Child," Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Family Channel, 1995.

Herself, "Reality Check," Ned and Stacey, Fox, 1995.

Host, Human Nature, The Discovery Channel, 1995.

Is This Your Life? Channel 4, 1995.

"Wetten, dass …? aus Bremerhaven," Wetten, dass …?, 1996.

Holiday (also known as Summer Holiday), 1996.

"Childhood," Tracey Takes On, 1997.

Herself, "I Hear a Symphony," Murphy Brown, CBS, 1997.

Fame and Fortune, Channel 5, 1997.

The RuPaul Show, 1998.

TFI Friday (also known as Thank Four It's Friday), 1998.

Ralph Emery on the Record, The Nashville Network, 1998.

"Carpenters," Behind the Music, VH1, 1998.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1998.

"Olivia Newton-John," Intimate Portrait, Lifetime, 1998.

"Grease," Behind the Music, VH1, 2001.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 2001.

"The Invisible Mom," Bette, CBS, 2001.

Good Morning Australia (also known as G.M.A.), Ten Network, 2002.

"Girls of Grease," VH-1 Where Are They Now?, VH1, 2002.

"Grease," VH-1 Where Are They Now?, VH1, 2002.

"Grease," VH-1 Behind the Movie, VH1, 2002.

"Grease," After They Were Famous, ITV, 2002.

Rove Live, Ten Network, 2002-2003.

"John Travolta," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2003.

"John Travolta," Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

God kveld Norge, 2003.

The Sharon Osbourne Show (also known as Sharon), syndicated, 2003.

American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol), 2003.

The Footy Show, Nine Network, 2003 and 2005.

"Stockard Channing," Intimate Portrait, Lifetime, 2004.

"Top 6 Results Show," Australian Idol, Ten Network, 2004.

Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, ABC (Australia), 2004.

A Current Affair, Nine Network, 2004.

Sunrise, Seven Network, 2004.

The Jane Pauley Show, NBC, 2004.

Dr. Phil, syndicated, 2004.

Today (also known as The Today Show), NBC, 2005.

Parkinson, BBC, 2005.

The Heaven and Earth Show, BBC, 2005.

GMTV, ITV, 2005.

Richard and Judy, Channel 4, 2005.

The View, ABC, 2005.

Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 2006.

Canada A.M. (also known as Canada A.M. Weekend), CTV, 2006.

"Our Brightest Stars," Good as Gold!, Seven Network, 2006.

"World's Best Love Songs," 20 to 1, Nine Network, 2006.

Soapstar Superstar, ITV, 2007.

Entertainment Tonight (also known as E.T., ET Weekend, Entertainment This Week and This Week in Entertainment), syndicated, 2007.

Grease: You're the One That I Want, NBC, 2007.

Guest Judge, "Auditions: Los Angeles," American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol), 2007.

Judge, "Auditions: Rest of the Best," American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol), 2007.

Television Appearances; Movies:

The Case, BBC, 1972.

Amy Miller, A Mom for Christmas, NBC, 1990.

Julia Stonecypher, A Christmas Romance, Fox Family Channel, 1994.

Jasmine Wilde, The Wilde Girls, Showtime, 2001.

The Magic 7, The Movie Channel, 2007.

Television Appearances; Series:

Time for Terry, 1965.

Navigator, Wild Life, 1994.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 20th Annual Grammy Awards, 1978.

The 50th Annual Academy Awards, 1978.

The 21st Annual Grammy Awards, 1979.

The 51st Annual Academy Awards, 1979.

The 52nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1980.

The 55th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1983.

The 29th Annual Grammy Awards, 1987.

The 31st Annual Grammy Awards, 1989.

The American Music Awards, 1989.

Presenter, The 32nd Annual Grammy Awards, 1990.

Presenter, The American Music Awards, 1990.

The 17th Annual People's Choice Awards, 1991.

Presenter, The American Music Awards, 1991.

Presenter, The 1995 World Music Awards, 1994.

Presenter, The 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, 1998.

The 27th Annual American Music Awards, 2000.

The 16th Annual ARIA Awards, Ten Network, 2002.

Television Executive Producer; Movies:

The Wilde Girls, Showtime, 2001.

Stage Appearances:

Night of 100 Stars III, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1990.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

Toomorrow, 1970.

Olivia Newton-John, Pye, 1971.

If Not for You, 1971.

Olivia, 1972.

If You Love Me (Let Me Know), 1973.

Music Makes My Day, 1973.

Let Me Be There, 1974.

Long Live Love, EMI, 1974.

Clearly Love, 1975.

Have You Never Been Mellow, 1975.

Come on Over, 1976.

Don't Stop Believing, 1976.

Making a Good Thing Better, 1977.

Grease (original soundtrack recording), 1978.

Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits, 1978.

Totally Hot, 1979.

Xanadu (original soundtrack recording), 1980.

Physical, 1981.

Love Performance, 1981.

Greatest Hits, Volume 2, 1982.

Two of a Kind (original soundtrack recording), 1984.

Can't We Talk It Over in Bed, 1985.

Soul Kiss, 1985.

Come on Over/Clearly Love, MCA, 1986.

The Rumour, 1988.

Down Under, 1988.

Warm and Tender (children's songs and lullabies), Geffen, 1989.

Don't Stop Believin'/Totally Hot, MCA, 1991.

Back to Basics: The Essential Collection, Geffen, 1992.

ONJ: Twin Best Now, 1992.

Olivia, 1992.

Super Best, 1993.

48 Original Tracks, EMI, 1994.

Gaia: One Woman's Journey, 1994.

(With Cliff Richard) Heathcliff, 1995.

More Than Physical, Griffin, 1995.

Greatest Hits, Musicrama, 1996.

Have You Never Been Mellow, Mushroom, 1998.

Grease!, Polydor, 1998.

The Rumour, Festival, 1998.

Back with a Heart, 1998.

The Main Event (concert album), 1998.

Greatest Hits, Vol 3, EMI, 1998.

Her Greatest Hits, Simply the Best, 1998.

I Honestly Love You, Disky, 1998.

Olivia, Mushroom, 1998.

One Woman's Live Journey, 1999.

Highlights from the Main Event, BMG, 1999.

Country Girl, EMI, 1999.

Great, Festival, 1999.

Best of Olivia Newton-John, EMI, 1999.

Love Songs: A Collection, Festival, 1999.

Greatest Hits!: First Impressions, Festival, 1999.

(With Vince Gill) Christmas, 2000.

Tis the Season, 2000.

One Woman's Live Journey, Hip-O, 2000.

Grease, Polygram, 2001.

One Woman's Journey, DTS, 2001.

Highlights from the Main Event, BMG, 2001.

Magic: The Best of Olivia Newton-John, MCA, 2001.

The Christmas Collection, Hip-O, 2001.

20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: The Best of Olivia Newton-John, Hip-O, 2002.

Definitive Collection, Universal International, 2002.

2, Festival Mushroom, 2002.

Take Me Home, Rajon, 2003.

Best of Olivia Newton-John, Japanese Import, 2003.

20th Century Masters-The Christmas Collection, Hip-O, 2003.

Early Olivia, To, 2004.

Love Songs: A Collection, Universal, 2004.

2, Universal, 2004.

Indigo: Women of Song, Mushroom, 2004.

Gold, Hip-O, 2005.

DoublePlays: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1/Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, Festival, 2005.

Summer Nights: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, Falcon Music, 2006.

Stronger Than Before, OMJ, 2006.

Grace and Gratitude, EMI, 2007.

Singles:

Let Me Be There, MCA, 1974.

If You Love Me (Let Me Know), MCA, 1974.

I Honestly Love You, MCA, 1974.

Have You Never Been Mellow, MCA, 1975.

Come on Over, MCA, 1976.

Don't Stop Believin', MCA, 1976.

Hopelessly Devoted to You, RSO, 1978.

(With John Travolta) You're the One That I Want, RSO, 1978.

(With Electric Light Orchestra) Xanadu, MCA, 1980.

Physical, MCA, 1981.

Heart Attack, 1982.

Soul Kiss, MCA, 1985.

I Need Love, Geffen, 1992.

I Honestly Love You, MCA, 1998.

Back with a Heart, Festival, 1998.

Physical Remix 1999, MCA, 1999.

Videos:

Let's Get Physical, 1981.

Heart Attack, 1982.

Doing It, 1982.

Olivia In Concert, MCA Home Video, 1983.

Olivia Newton-John: Twist of Fate, MCA Home Video, 1984.

Olivia: Soul Kiss (also known as Olivia: Soul Kiss Videosingles), Polygram 1986.

Down Under, Polygram, 1987.

Physical, MCA, 1992.

O.: Soul Kiss, 1992.

Twist of Fate, MCA, 1992.

The Seekers: 25 Year Reunion Celebration, 1993.

Michael Jackson: HIStory on Film-Volume II, Sony, 1997.

Not Under My Roof, Children's Hearth, 2001.

The DVD Collection, 2004.

20th Century Masters: The Best of Olivia Newton-John-The DVD Collection, Universal Music, 2004.

20th Century Masters-DVD Collection, Hip-O, 2004.

Video Gold, Vol. 1, Geffen, 2005.

Video Gold, Vol. 2, Geffen, 2005.

WRITINGS

Film Songs:

"Take a Chance," Two of a Kind, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983.

"Let's Talk About Tomorrow," Olivia Down Under (also known as Olivia Newton-John in Australia, 1988.

"The Way of Love," A Christmas Romance, 1994.

"Don't Cut Me Down," It's My Party, 1996.

"Have You Never Been Mellow," Disturbing Behavior, 1998.

"Trust Yourself," Sordid Lives, 2000.

Television Music:

"The Way of Love," A Christmas Romance (movie), Fox Family Channel, 1994.

(with Earl Rose and Victoria Lynn Shaw), "This Is Our Moment," As the World Turns (series), 1999.

"(Lets Get) Physical," The Simpsons, Fox, 2005.

"Physical," American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol), Fox, 2007.

Other Writings:

(With Brian Seth Hurst) A Pig Tale (juvenile), Simon & Schuster (New York City), 1993.

OTHER SOURCES

Periodicals:

Empire, October, 1997, Issue 100, pp. 63.

Parade, July 5, 1998, pp. 4-6.

People Weekly, September 25, 2000, pp. 112.

U.S. Weekly, September 25, 2000, pp. 33.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Newton-John, Olivia 1948-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Newton-John, Olivia 1948-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2897700089.html

"Newton-John, Olivia 1948-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2897700089.html

Newton-John, Olivia

Olivia Newton-John

Singer

Known for her clear, gentle voice, Olivia Newton-John has achieved stardom in the areas of pop and country music. Several movie and television roles in both singing and non-singing parts have contributed to her list of accomplishments. In the early 1970s Newton-John, with her appealing looks and voice, became a superstar almost overnight with such hits as "Let Me Be There," "Have You Never Been Mellow," and "I Honestly Love You." While many critics called her music superficial and overly sentimental, the number of her fans and record sales grew rapidly. A decade after she first realized success, Newton-John dropped out of the spotlight to raise a family and promote more of her personal social causes, which included environmentalism, recycling and breast cancer awareness.

Although she is widely thought to be Australian, Newton-John was actually born in Cambridge, England, where she was raised until the age of five. After the family moved to Australia, her mother insisted that she keep her British passport, which was to come in handy later. Newton-John told Joe Smith about her early musical influences for his book Off the Record. "My favorites growing up were Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Joan Baez, and Nina Simone. More than anybody else, they were the four people I listened most to in Australia. I listened to the radio and I knew every pop song. I sang all the time for family and friends, but if they asked me at school to get up and sing, I was always too shy."

Newton-John first began performing at age 12, when she won a local Haley Mills lookalike contest. A few years later she teamed with three girlfriends in a group called the Sol Four. After that, Newton-John sang on an Australian variety series called The Go Show, where she first met her future producer John Farrar. Winning a trip to England through an Australian talent contest, she and Pat Carroll, another female performer from Australia, formed a moderately successful singing duo that most notably sang back-up on a Cliff Richard B-side. The couple disbanded, though, when Carroll's visa ran out and she had to return to Australia. With her British passport Newton-John was able to continue with her career in England, now as a solo performer, recording her first single for Decca in 1966.

Career Took Off

While in England, Newton-John pursued a series of singing jobs, including joining a curious group called Tomorrow (some sources say Toomorrow), which was supposed to be England's answer to the successful U.S. pop group The Monkees. After recording two singles with the band, for Decca and RCA respectively, she appeared with Tomorrow in an unsuccessful sci-fi film. Returning a little more to the mainstream, Newton-John began appearing on former teen idol Cliff Richard's television series It's Cliff!, which helped promote her sweetly voiced cover of Bob Dylan's "If Not for You." The single, with its country-pop twang, hit number 25 on the U.S. pop charts, but reached number one on the Adult Contemporary Charts. A few more singles brought her acclaim in Great Britain, but it was not until the 1973 release of Let Me Be There that Newton-John became popular in the United States. Once the single began receiving U.S. airplay, she was invited to perform on the Dean Martin Show. Once she arrived, singer Helen Reddy and her husband/manager Jeff Wald advised the hot young singer that if she wanted a big hit in America, that she would have to stay in the country.

Their advice paid off. "Let Me Be There," with its gospel flavored chorus and country-crossover hook, became a number one record. Although she had originally positioned herself as a folk performer, Newton-John's uncomplicated style attracted country programmers all across the nation, and she went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Country Female Performer. However, she inadvertently stirred controversy when the Country Music Association in Nashville named her Female Vocalist of the Year over Donna Fargo, Melba Montgomery, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Tanya Tucker. "The backlash from Country music purists was immediate," wrote Barry McCloud in Definitive Country. "Olivia's case was not helped by the fact that she had wanted to meet Hank Williams … he had been dead for over 20 years!"

Despite the controversy, Newton-John continued to benefit from country airplay throughout the decade. In retrospect, "Let Me Be There" and subsequent hits such as "If You Love Me Let Me Know" and "Please Mr. Please" ring truer as country music than many modern recordings in the genre.

The performer also received two Grammy Awards for the 1975 smash "I Honestly Love You." She followed up with the feel-good philosophy of "Have You Never Been Mellow," which both summed up 1970s pop and became a point of ridicule for many of her critics. Artistically, Newton-John was considered superficial, vacuous, and lacking in musical integrity. Some claimed, as Chris Stoehr summarized in the Detroit Free Press, that "her music crosses over into several audiences because it has no style of its own." In that same article, Newton-John defended herself, asking, "Why do people like certain things? I don't know. Neither do the critics, that's for sure. It was not instant, you know, my success. … I was just a performer the audience found pleasant. And after all, the audience's opinion is the only one that counts, isn't it?" By this time, Newton-John had moved to Los Angeles and was busy touring and performing in Las Vegas. Her albums consistently achieved gold and platinum status and her career was set to explode.

For the Record …

Born September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England; daughter of Bryn (a university president) and Irene (Born) Newton-John; married Matt Lattanzi (an actor), 1984 (divorced 1995); children: Chloe.

Singer with Pat Carroll and Cliff Richard in England; member of pop group Tomorrow (some sources say Toomorrow); recorded hit singles, including "If Not for You" and "Let Me Be There," early 1970s; moved to United States and recorded several successful albums; toured United States and other countries; actress and singer in films Grease, 1978, Xanadu, 1980, and Two of a Kind, 1983; actress in television film A Mom for Christmas, NBC, 1991; appeared on numerous television programs, including The Dean Martin Show, The Midnight Special, Saturday Night Live, and her own network variety and concert specials; owner of "Koala Blue" brand food distributors; marketed breast self-examination kit through Walgreen's drug chain.

Awards: Grammy Award, Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for "Let Me Be There," 1973; Grammy Awards, Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "I Honestly Love You," 1974; Country Music Association Award, Best Country Female Vocal Performance, 1974, and Best Female Singer, 1976; eight American Music Awards, 1975-76; People's Choice Award, Favorite Motion Picture Actress, 1979; Grammy Award, Video of the Year, for "Physical," 1982; Daytime Emmy (shared with Earl Rose), Outstanding Original Song, for "This is Our Moment," on As the World Turns, 1999; Named officer of the Order of the British Empire, 2002; inducted into Australian Music Hall of Fame, 2002.

Addresses: Management—Fitzgerald Hartley Co., 34 North Palm Ave., Ste. 100, Ventura, CA 93001. Website—Official Artist Website: http://www.olivianewtonjohn.com.

Became "Sandy"

In 1977, at one of Helen Reddy's parties, Newton-John was noticed by movie producer Allan Carr, who cast her in his film version of the popular Broadway musical Grease. A little apprehensive, the performer began preparing for a role she reportedly hoped would make her the Doris Day of the era. Playing the role of Sandy opposite actor John Travolta gave her newfound fame and visibility. The popular movie was accompanied by a successful soundtrack, which launched Newton-John and Travolta's peppy duet single "You're the One That I Want"; the song landed a number one position on the charts.

In the film, Newton-John's character changes from a timid ingenue to a temptress who ultimately outgreases Travolta's 1950s bad boy role. In Newton-John's professional life, it could be said that this same sort of transformation was taking place. Allegedly no longer content to be a sweet, gentle-voiced crooner—nine of her singles hit number one on the Adult Contemporary Charts—Newton-John began to pump up her act. In 1978 she released the provocative recording Totally Hot, followed by the equally sexy Physical in 1981. Physical contributed three hit singles to the U.S. charts, including the title track, which stayed at the number one spot for ten weeks. Playing up the allusion between the song's sexy commands and the fitness craze, Newton-John then went on a successful tour where she danced in tight-fitting workout gear. The switch from innocent to racy occurred, Newton-John admitted in the Detroit Free Press, because "you change over the years; you grow and change. I hope that I wouldn't be the same at 33 that I was at 23. I didn't go out and take lessons in being something else; I've just grown."

Newton-John's career toned down rather quickly from the frenzied peak of the early 1980s. Followups to the enormously successful Grease proved unsuccessful. The roller disco fantasy Xanadu tanked at the box office, even though its soundtrack yielded two solid hit singles, the title song and the number one hit "Magic." Reteamed with Travolta in 1983 for the much hyped Two of a Kind, her hot streak as a performer seemed to end when the movie flopped. After that the singer seemed to be in a kind of semi-retirement. She married longtime companion Matt Lattanzi in 1984 and they had a daughter, Chloe. The couple would divorce in 1995. In 1988 Newton-John released another album, The Rumour, but the actress was mostly attending to her family and charitable concerns. "It sounds kind of boring to say I've been at home," Newton-John told People about her whereabouts from 1983 to 1991, "But that's the truth."

The singer came out of her virtual seclusion to star in a made-for-television film A Mom for Christmas. In the movie she played a mannequin who becomes real in order to take care of a girl without a mother. In 1989 she recorded an album of soothing songs for infants, called Warm and Tender, after realizing that she could find no music with which to comfort her young daughter. In 1992 Newton-John released Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971-92, which included four new tunes. That same year, after declaring bankruptcy, the singer announced that she had been diagnosed with an early and treatable form of breast cancer. Once recovered, she began devoting a large portion of her public life to raising breast cancer awareness.

Signaled by her 1994 album Gaia (One Woman's Journey), Newton-John increasingly turned to environmental projects and private business concerns. Enjoying family life, Newton-John admitted in People that "all I need to hear is ‘Good night, Mommy, I love you,’ and there's no question everything is worth it." She made a belated attempt to return to the country charts with the 1998 MCA album Back with a Heart, but her time as a hitmaker was over.

Releasing albums through such independent labels as Hallmark, Festival, and Mushroom into the 2000s, she has continued to express her spiritual and environmental views while singing what she likes, with whom she likes. Now writing more of her own material—she co-wrote the Emmy-winning theme for the daytime drama As the World Turns—the singer often devoted a portion of an album's profits to charity. One such project was 2005's Stronger Than Before, which was inspired by the complex emotions felt by cancer patients and their families.

As an icon of the 1970s she remains in demand as a concert performer and a TV guest star. In 2007 she was paid the ultimate pop culture tribute when she was asked to be a guest on Grease: You're the One That I Want!. The American Idol-type talent show featured performers competing to recreate the roles she and Travolta played in their famous film together.

Selected discography

Singles

"If Not For You," Uni, 1971.

"Let Me Be There," MCA, 1973.

"If You Love Me (Let Me Know)," MCA, 1974.

"I Honestly Love You," MCA, 1974.

"Have You Never Been Mellow," MCA, 1975.

"Please Mr. Please," MCA, 1975.

"Something Better to Do," MCA, 1976.

"Let It Shine/ He Ain't Heavy…He's My Brother," MCA, 1976.

"Come On Over," MCA, 1976.

"Don't Stop Believin'," MCA, 1976.

"Sam," MCA, 1977.

(With John Travolta) "You're the One That I Want," RSO, 1978.

"Hopelessly Devoted to You," RSO, 1978.

(With Travolta) "Summer Nights," RSO, 1978.

"A Little More Love," MCA, 1978.

"Deeper Than the Night," MCA, 1979.

(With Andy Gibb) "I Can't Help It," RSO, 1980.

"Magic," MCA, 1980.

(With Electric Light Orchestra) "Xanadu," MCA, 1980.

(With Cliff Richard) "Suddenly," MCA, 1980.

"Physical," MCA, 1981.

"Make a Move on Me," MCA, 1982.

"Heart Attack," MCA, 1982.

"Tied Up," MCA, 1983.

"Twist of Fate," MCA, 1983.

"Livin' in Desperate Time," MCA, 1984.

"Soul Kiss," MCA, 1985.

"The Grease Megamix," MCA, 1996.

Albums

Let Me Be There, MCA, 1973.

If You Love Me, Let Me Know, MCA, 1974.

Long Live Love, MCA, 1974.

First Impressions, MCA, 1974.

Have You Never Been Mellow, MCA, 1975.

Clearly Love, MCA, 1975.

Come On Over, MCA, 1976.

Don't Stop Believin', MCA, 1976.

Making a Good Thing Better, MCA, 1977.

Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits, EMI, 1977.

Grease Soundtrack, RSO, 1978.

Totally Hot, MCA, 1978.

Xanadu Soundtrack, MCA, 1980.

Physical, EMI, 1981.

Greatest Hits, EMI, 1982.

Soul Kiss, MCA, 1985.

The Rumour, MCA, 1988.

Warm and Tender, Geffen, 1989.

Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971-92, Geffen, 1992.

Gaia, D-Sharp, 1994; reissued by Hip-O, 2000.

Back with a Heart, MCA, 1998.

Highlights from the Main Event, BMG Australia Limited, 1999.

Tis the Season, Hallmark, 2000.

One Woman's Live Journey, Festival, 2000.

20th Century Masters—The Christmas Collection, Festival, 2000.

The Christmas Collection, Hip-O, 2001.

20th Century Masters—The Millennium Collection: The Best of Olivia Newton-John, Hip-0, 2002.

Olivia on Woman's Live Journey, Mushroom, 2002.

2, Festival/Mushroom, 2002.

Take Me Home, Rajon, 2003.

Indigo: Women of Song, Mushroom, 2004.

Gold, Hip-O, 2005.

Stronger Than Before, Festival, 2006.

Grace and Gratitude, EMI, 2006.

Video/DVD

Olivia in Concert [live], MCA, 1983.

Soul Kiss, MCA, 1985.

Down Under, Polygram, 1987.

Physical, MCA, 1992.

Twist of Fate, MCA, 1992.

20th Century Masters—DVD Collection, Hip-O, 2004.

Video Gold, Vol. 1, Geffen, 2005.

Video Gold, Vol. 2, Geffen, 2005.

Sources

Books

Hyatt, Wesley, The Billboard Book of Adult Contemporary Number One Hits, Billboard Books, 1999.

McCloud, Barry, editor, Definitive Country—The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and Its Performers, Perigree, 1995.

Pareles, Jon, and Patricia Romanowski, editors, The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books, 1983.

Rees, Dafydd and Luke Crampton, editors, Vh1 Music First—Rock Stars Encyclopedia, Dorling Kindersley, 1999.

Smith, Joe, Off the Record—An Oral History of Popular Music, Warner Books, 1988.

Periodicals

Detroit Free Press, May 17, 1979; August 22, 1982; July 15, 1992.

Fortune, May 22, 1989.

High Fidelity, July 1989.

New York, December 4, 1989.

New York Daily News, May 1, 1977.

Parade Magazine, July 1, 1979; December 4, 1988.

People, February 24, 1975; July 31, 1978; December 24, 1990; August 19, 1991; June 22, 1992.

Redbook, November 1990.

Online

"Olivia Newton-John," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com/ (March 6, 2007).

"Olivia Newton-John," Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (March 6, 2007).

Olivia Newton-John Official Website,http://www.olivianewton-john.com/ (March 6, 2007).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Newton-John, Olivia." Contemporary Musicians. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Newton-John, Olivia." Contemporary Musicians. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2896000052.html

"Newton-John, Olivia." Contemporary Musicians. 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2896000052.html

Newton-John, Olivia

Olivia Newton-John

Singer

Achieved Fame in Country Music

Launched Film Career

Career Slowed

Selected discography

Sources

Known for her clear, gentle voice, Olivia Newton-John has achieved stardom in the areas of pop, middle-of-the-road, and country music. Several movie and television roles in both singing and non-singing parts contribute to her list of accomplishments. In the early 1970s Newton-John, with her appealing looks and voice, became a superstar almost overnight. While critics knocked her music for being superficial and overly sentimental, the number of her fans and record sales grew rapidly. A decade after she first realized success, Newton-John dropped out of the spotlight to raise a family and promote more of her personal social causes, which include environmentalism and recycling.

Although she is widely thought to be Australian, Newton-John was actually born in Cambridge, England, where she was raised until the age of five. After moving to Australia her mother insisted that she keep her British passport, which was to come in handy later. As a teenager, Newton-John won an Australian talent contest that, as its prize, sent her to England. While there, she and another female performer from Australia, Pat Carroll, formed a singing duo and achieved a reasonable amount of success. The couple disbanded, though, when Carrolls visa ran out and she had to return to Australia. With her British passport Newton-John was able to continue with her career in England, now as a solo performer.

While in England Newton-John pursued a series of odd singing jobs, including joining a curious group called Tomorrow (some sources say Toomorrow), which was supposed to be Englands answer to the successful U.S. pop group The Monkees. She appeared with Tomorrow in a science-fiction film, an endeavor she would like to overlook. Returning a little more to the mainstream, Newton-John began appearing on British singer Cliff Richards television series, which helped her promote her first single, a cover of Bob Dylans If Not for You. A few more singles brought her acclaim in Great Britain, but it was not until the 1973 release of Let Me Be There that Newton-John became popular in the United States.

Achieved Fame in Country Music

The title single for Let Me Be There went on to win the singer a Grammy Award for best country female performance. Although she had originally positioned herself as a folk performer, Newton-Johns uncomplicated style crossed over into the country music category as well. The performer also received two Grammys for her work on the 1975 release I Honestly Love You. By this time, Newton-John had moved to Los Angeles, California,

For the Record

Born September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England; daughter of Bryn (a university president) and Irene (Born) Newton-John; married Matt Lattanzi (an actor), 1984; children: Chloe. Education: Quit school at the age of 16 to sing professionally in England.

Singer with Pat Carroll and Cliff Richard in England; member of pop group Tomorrow (some sources say Toomorrow); recorded hit singles, including If Not for You and Take Me Home Country Roads, early 1970s; moved to United States and recorded several successful albums; toured United States and other countries; actress and singer in films Grease, 1978, Xanadu, 1980, and Two of a Kind, 1983; actress in television film A Mom for Christmas, NBC, 1991. Owner of boutiques named Koala Blue (shops went bankrupt, 1991).

Awards: Grammy awards, 1971, for Banks of the Ohio, 1973, best country vocalist, for Let Me Be There, and 1974, record of the year and best pop vocal performance, both for I Honestly Love You; Country Music Association Award, 1973, for best country female vocal performance, and 1976, for best female singer; eight American Music awards; named officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Addresses: Home Malibu, CA. Management The Bill Sammeth Organization, 9200 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 1001, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

and was busy touring and performing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her albums were consistently going gold and platinum.

While fans perpetuated her stardom, critics were less enthusiastic. Artistically, Newton-John was considered superficial, vacuous, and lacking in musical integrity. Some claimed, as Chris Stoehr summarized in the Detroit Free Press, that her music crosses over into several audiences because it has no style of its own. In that same article, Newton-John defended herself by asking, Why do people like certain things? I dont know. Neither do the critics, thats for sure. It was not instant, you know, my success. I was just a performer the audience found pleasant. And after all, the audiences opinion is the only one that counts, isnt it?

Launched Film Career

In 1977, at one of singer Helen Reddys parties, Newton-John was discovered by movie producer Allan Carr. The producer was pondering whom to cast in his upcoming film, Grease, and was struck by Newton-Johns beauty. It is said that he practically begged her to take the female lead, which she did for a bargain $125,000. A little apprehensive, the performer began preparing for a role she reportedly hoped would make her the Doris Day of the era. Playing Sandy opposite actor John Travolta gave her newfound fame and visibility. The popular movie was accompanied by a successful soundtrack, which launched Newton-John and Travoltas duet single Youre the One That I Want; the song landed a number one position on the charts.

In the film, Newton-Johns character changes from a timid ingenue to a temptress who ultimately outgreases Travoltas bad boy role. In Newton-Johns professional life, it could be said that this same sort of transformation was taking place. Allegedly no longer content to be a sweet, gentle-voiced crooner, Newton-John began to pump up her act. In 1978 she released the provocative recording Totally Hot, followed by the equally sexy Physical in 1981. Physical contributed three hit singles to the U.S. charts. Newton-John then went on a successful tour where she danced in tight-fitting workout gear. The artist also worked with friend and former co-star Travolta to tone her body into muscular perfection. The switch from innocent to racy occurred, Newton-John admitted in the Detroit Free Press, because you change over the years; you grow and change. I hope that I wouldnt be the same at 33 that I was at 23.1 didnt go out and take lessons in being something else; Ive just grown.

Career Slowed

Newton-Johns career toned down rather quickly from the frenzied peak of the early 1980s. She starred in a film with Travolta in 1983 called Two of a Kind, which faded from view without much notice. After that the singer seemed to be in a kind of semi-retirement. She married longtime companion Matt Lattanzi in 1984, and the couple had a daughter, Chloe. In 1988 Newton-John released another album, The Rumour, but mostly the actress was attending to her family and charitable concerns. It sounds kind of boring to say Ive been at home, Newton-John told People about her whereabouts from 1983 to 1991, But thats the truth.

The singer came out of her virtual seclusion to star in a made-for-television-film, A Mom for Christmas. In the movie, she plays a mannequin who becomes real in order to take care of a girl without a mother. In 1989 she recorded an album of soothing songs for infants called Warm and Tender after realizing that she could find no music with which to comfort her young daughter. And in 1992 Newton-John released Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971-92, which includes four new tunes. That same year she announced that she had been diagnosed with an early and treatable form of breast cancer and reportedly put new musical projects on hold.

Though basically estranged from the limelight, Newton-John has increasingly turned to environmental projects as well as undertakings such as designing a 10,000-square-foot beach house in Malibu, California. She is unclear as to whether she will return to a life of singing stardom. Enjoying family life, Newton-John admitted in People that all I need to hear is Good night, Mommy, I love you, and theres no question everything is worth it.

Selected discography

Let Me Be There, MCA, 1973.

If You Love Me, Let Me Know, MCA, 1974.

Long Live Love, MCA, 1974.

First Impressions, MCA, 1974.

Have You Never Been Mellow, MCA, 1975.

Clearly Love, MCA, 1975.

Come On Over, MCA, 1976.

Dont Stop Believin, MCA, 1976.

Making a Good Thing Better, MCA, 1977.

Olivia Newton-Johns Greatest Hits, EMI, 1977.

Grease Soundtrack, RSO, 1978.

Totally Hot, MCA, 1978.

Xanadu Soundtrack, MCA, 1980.

Physical, EMI, 1981.

Greatest Hits, EMI, 1982.

The Rumour, 1988.

Warm and Tender, Geffen, 1989.

Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971-92, Geffen, 1992.

Sources

Books

Pareles, Jon, and Patricia Romanowski, editors, The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books, 1983.

Periodicals

Detroit Free Press, May 17, 1979; August 22, 1982; July 15, 1992.

Fortune, May 22, 1989.

High Fidelity, July 1989.

New York, December 4, 1989.

New York Daily News, May 1, 1977.

Parade Magazine, July 1, 1979; December 4, 1988.

People, February 24, 1975; July 31, 1978; December 24, 1990; August 19, 1991; June 22, 1992.

Redbook, November 1990.

Nancy Rampson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

Rampson, Nancy. "Newton-John, Olivia." Contemporary Musicians. 1993. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Rampson, Nancy. "Newton-John, Olivia." Contemporary Musicians. 1993. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3492600063.html

Rampson, Nancy. "Newton-John, Olivia." Contemporary Musicians. 1993. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3492600063.html

Facts and information from other sites