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Music / Olivia Newton-John

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Dame Olivia Newton-John (26 September 1948 8 August 2022) was an English-Australian singer and actress.

She started her career in the '60s singing in clubs and on television, and in the early '70s began recording a string of best-selling albums and hit singles, eventually earning three Grammy Awards. However, it was her leading role alongside John Travolta in the 1978 film version of Grease that made her an international star. She attempted to channel Grease's success into her next film, Xanadu, but that didn't quite work out.

While she continued to make music, in later years she focused her life more on starting a family, establishing businesses, and activism, particularly health awareness, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She successfully fought it, but it came back and metastasized in 2017, and she passed away from it at age 73 on August 8, 2022.


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  • If Not for You (1971)
  • Olivia (1972)
  • Let Me Be There (1973)
  • Long Live Love (1974)
  • If You Love Me, Let Me Know (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)
  • (2) (2002)
  • Indigo: Women of Song (2004)
  • Stronger Than Before (2005)
  • Grace and Gratitude (2006)
  • Christmas Wish (2007)
  • A Celebration in Song (2008)
  • This Christmas (2012)
  • Liv On (2016)
  • Friends for Christmas (2016)

  • Toomorrow (1970)
  • Grease (1978)
  • Xanadu (1980)
  • Two of a Kind (1983)


Tropes in her works:

  • Double Entendre: The "Physical" music video played up the double meaning of "getting physical" in the lyrics, suggesting the song was about working out rather than sexual intercourse.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "Please Mr. Please," one of her early country-pop hits, is about a woman who goes out drinking with friends at a country bar to forget a lost love, and feels better until she hears someone play her and her lost love's "special song" on the jukebox.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Her early songs like "Let Me Be There" are more traditional 1970s country-pop. Her earliest hit single, "If Not for You," was a Bob Dylan cover.
  • Genre Shift: Her early work had country and folk overtones. By The '80s, the "country" part of that was gone entirely, and she'd also soon leave her previous adult contemporary/soft rock music base behind in favor of harder rock and dance pop tunes.
  • The Mistress: Averted with "I Honestly Love You," as the narrator tells her extramarital paramour that although she "honestly loves him," she won't see him anymore.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The front and back covers of her 1985 album Soul Kiss feature ONJ in provocative poses. Especially the back cover, which shows her staring into a mirror topless with a loosely hanging towel covering her breasts, holding what appears to be a riding crop behind her.
  • Murder Ballad: The narrator of "Banks of the Ohio" stabs her lover to death after he rejects her marriage proposal, then regrets it afterward.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Her starring role in Grease heralded a shift away from her previous "good girl next door" image and breathy middle-of-the-road vocals to an edgier, more sensual persona and more full-throated singing style. Her first post-Grease single, "A Little More Love," was the closest to hard rock she'd come in her career to that point. Then in 1981, she released "Physical," which shattered the goody-goody facade for good.
  • Workout Fanservice: The video for "Physical" famously starts and ends with multiple handsome, muscular men working out.


Glee Gets Physical

Olivia Newton-John redoes her famous hit, "Physical," with Sue Sylvester.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

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