Olivia Newton-John, dead at 73

· Entertainment, Popular culture

Olivia Newton-John is one of the most famous singers/actors in Hollywood’s history. Her trumpet-like voice, as one critic referred to her when he was reviewing her album The Rumour in 1988, was legendary. The years when she was most active were 1971-1989. She essentially had two careers, pre-Grease and post-Grease, her classic 1978 movie. Before that, she had been a country superstar, singing country and western songs–with a British/Australian accent, which added a touch of distinct class to her angelic-like voice.

In Grease, she transitioned from a goody-two-shoes to a wild woman, from Sandra Dee to Sandy. Her real life mirrored this transformation. After Grease, she released Totally Hot, a mix of country, rock and pop. In 1980, she did another movie, Xanadu, a cult classic. In 1981, another mega-success occurred for Olivia, Physical. It reinforced her new image as a more sexually liberated woman. In 1985, she released Soul Kiss, which was not popular, as her fans thought she had gone too far with the photo on the back of the album which many thought was indecent. Some of this album’s lyrics were also shocking.

But her innate goodness shone through and after her 1992 diagnosis of breast cancer, she thrived for around 30 years, teaching others about how to self-diagnose, how to have a positive mindset, etc. She will be remembered as much for her inner beauty as for her awesome talent. She came from a time before autotune, before lip-syncing, etc., when singers were more than just commodities who are over-produced. in the 1970s, pretty much all straight guys wanted Olivia and all women wanted to be Olivia.  Her impact on American pop culture consists of crossing over from country to pop as Taylor Swift would later do, the aerobics craze begun by Physical, singers entering the film world, etc. Forever a legend.


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