Olivia Newton-John (1948 – 2022) was an English-Australian singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and activist. She was a four-time Grammy Award winner who made a total of five number one singles and ten Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles.
Newton-John was very good at what she did that’s why eleven of her songs and fourteen of her albums has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Not only she was a great singer, but she was also a talented actress. She starred in the film Grease along with John Travolta. The soundtrack of the movie, especially the song “You’re The One That I Want” is one of the most successful albums to date.
Olivia Newton-John was also an activist. She was a staunch advocate for environmental issues and animal rights. After she had a remission from breast cancer way back in 1992, she became a health advocate involved with several charities and fundraising events, as well as cancer research. She was also an entrepreneur who owned several businesses, including a spa and a retreat place in Australia.
Albums and Hit Singles
Olivia Newton-John released several albums over the course of her career and was able to produce countless and timeless hit songs just like.
- If Not for You (1971)
- Olivia (1972)
- Let Me Be There (1973)
- Long Live Love (1974)
- If You Love Me, Let Me Know (1974)
- First Impressions (1974)
- Have You Never Been Mellow (1975)
- Clearly Love (1975)
- Come on Over (1976)
- Don’t Stop Believin’ (1976)
- Making a Good Thing Better (1977)
- Totally Hot (1978)
- Physical (1981)
- Soul Kiss (1985)
- The Rumour (1988)
- Warm and Tender (1989)
- Gaia: One Woman’s Journey (1994)
- Back with a Heart (1998)
- ‘Tis the Season (2000) with Vince Gill for Hallmark
- (2) (2002)
- Indigo: Women of Song (2004)
- Stronger Than Before (2005) for Hallmark
- Grace and Gratitude (2006)
- Christmas Wish (2007)
- A Celebration in Song (2008)
- This Christmas (2012)
- Two Strong Hearts Live (2015)
- Liv On (2016)
- Friends for Christmas (2016)
- Hopelessly Devoted To You
- I Honestly Love You
- Summer Nights
- Let Me Be There
- A Little More Love
- We Go Together
- Please Mr. Please
- Make a Move on Me
- Twist of Fate
- Banks of the Ohio
- Something Better to do
- If Not For you
- Every Face Tells an Story
- Tied Up
- Take Me Home, Country Roads
- Suspended in Time
Life and Career
Olivia Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England, on September 26, 1948. Her maternal grandfather was Max Born, a Jewish Nobel Prize-winning physicist.
Newton-John was subsequently raised in Melbourne, Australia where her father worked as a headmaster of Ormond College.
She first showed interest in show business when she entered a Hayley Mills look-alike contest when she was just twelve years old. Years after that, Olivia formed an all-girl group named Sol-Four with three of her schoolmates. After the band disbanded, Olivia Newton-John joined a television contest in which a won the trip to London, England. When she reached London, she formed a duo band with Pat Carroll but their partnership was short-lived because Pat Carroll’s visa got expired, that’s why she was sent back to Australia. After Carroll’s departure, Olivia Newton-John recorded and released her very first cover single of a Jackie DeShannon’s song “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine.” After releasing the single, Olivia became a member of Toomorrow a pop group that was a British version of the Monkees.
Toomorrow was featured in a science fiction movie and they had scored one minor British single “I Could Never Live Without Your Love”. Unfortunately, Toomorrow disbanded in the early 70’s. Olivia Newton-John then decided to become a part of Cliff Richard’s touring show. She appeared as his opening act at his concerts and television series. This exposure has helped Olivia in gaining new projects. She signed a record deal with UNI Records and release her cover single of a Bob Dylan song “If Not For You” which became a top ten hit in the UK. She released several singles like a cover of a George Harrison song “What Is Life” and her own song “Banks of the Ohio” before she released her full-length studio album, “Let Me Be There”. The title track of the album became a huge success and peaked at the top spot of the pop and country charts. The album also won Olivia a Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Performance.
She released several singles before she starred in the movie version of the musical Grease with John Travolta. This movie became an international hit which produced three hit songs like “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, “You’re The One That I Want” and “Summer Nights” which Olivia and John both performed. The song “You’re The One That I Want” became a massive hit in the UK and United States. It spent a total of nine weeks on the top spot of the UK Singles Chart.
Olivia Newton-John reinvented her image when she released her album “Physical” in 1981. From a sweet girl-next-door image, she became a sexy aerobics fanatic on this album. The hit title track of this album spent a total of ten weeks at the top spot of the charts. And in 1983, she worked with John Travolta again in the comedy movie “Two of a Kind” which also became a huge success together with the movie’s soundtrack entitled “Twist of Fate” which Olivia Newton-John recorded.
In 1992, Olivia underwent treatment for breast cancer which had successful results. Since then she pursued different charity work especially the ones that are related to cancer and she opened the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne.
She reunited with John Travolta in 2012 and they released a holiday album with the title “This Christmas”. She also starred in an Australian comedy film “A Few Best Men”. Olivia Newton-John also released an album entitled “LIV ON” which featured songs that centered around her battle with cancer, caregiving and recovery.
In 2017, Newton-John announced that the cancer had returned and spread to her lower back. Her back pains were initially diagnosed as sciatica. At that time, she revealed that this was actually her third bout with cancer, as she had a recurrence of the illness in 2013 in addition to her initial diagnosis in 1992.
With the return of her cancer, it had spread to her bones and progressed to stage IV. But she managed to live for five more years before dying on August 8, 2022. She was 73 years old.