Celebrating The Life Of Olivia Newton John

Celebrating The Life Of Olivia Newton John

Celebrating The Life Of Olivia Newton John

The universal icons era of gracing the screens (and ears) of America has come to an end.

The universal icons era of gracing the screens (and ears) of America has come to an end.

Text: Maddie Street

Singer, songwriter, actress, and animal rights activist Oliver Newton John passed away peacefully at her Southern California Ranch at the age of 73 after a long and treacherous battle with breast cancer. Some may recognize her as Sandy from Grease, while others have unapologetically streamed her musical hits for decades. Olivia has long been regarded for her unfathomably light but bold stage presence and her inimitable musical identity – most notably when her ultra charismatic vocals charmed the screens of viewers in her most notable film, Grease.

Let’s recollect on some of her most memorable accomplishments: Born in Cambridge, England, in 1948, though quickly moving to Melbourne when she was five, Olivia dove head first into her dedicated craftsmanship at a young age. At only 14 years old, she formed an all-girls group with three of her classmates, calling themselves Sol Four. She often performed in a coffee shop owned by her brother-in-law, where she was scouted to become a regular on local Australian TV shows, including Time for Terry and HSV-7’s The Happy Show.

Soon after her discovery, Olivia’s universally iconic status was cast onto the masses with her release of the single If You Love Me Let Me Know, which reached number five on the pop charts, number two in country, and number two on the alternative country charts. The next single, “I Honestly Love You,” became Newton-John’s signature song. Written and composed by Jeff Barry and Peter Allen, the ballad became her first pop number-one hit (holding the spot there for two weeks), second alternative country number-one (for three weeks), and third in the top ten country hits. This single earned Olivia two Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The intangible success of both singles promoted the album to reach number one on both the pop and country albums charts.

Her most celebrated accomplishment has been her 1978 role in the hit Broadway musical turned blockbuster film, Grease, where her career soared after being cast in the leading role of Sandy. After her outstanding performance in the film, Olivia’s transformation in Grease from goody-two-shoes Sandy to spandex icon sparked even more notoriety in Olivia’s music career.

Though, sadly not all good things last forever. In 1992, Olivia was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer within the same timeframe that her husband, American cameraman Patrick McDermott mysteriously vanished on a fishing trip in California. Yet, even in the midst of tragedy, Olivia never let her sights shift; she continued to record music such as “You Have to Believe” with her daughter and affirmed a timely residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The universally prominent icon of Olivia Newton-John will be cherished and remembered with the utmost admiration.

Credits: Photo by Alan Light

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