|Dame Olivia Newton-John AC DBE|
|Newton-John in Sydney, Australia in January 2012|
|Born||26 September 1948 (age 72) Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England|
|Occupation||Singer songwriter actress entrepreneur activist|
|Spouse(s)||Matt Lattanzi (m. 1984; div. 1995) John Easterling (m. 2008)|
|Relatives||Max Born (grandfather)|
Brett Goldsmith (nephew)
Tottie Goldsmith (niece)
Gustav Victor Rudolf Born (uncle)
Georgina Born (cousin)
|Origin||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Genres||Pop country soft rock adult contemporary pop rock dance-pop|
|Labels||Uni MCA EMI Pye Festival|
Dame Olivia Newton-John AC DBE (born 26 September 1948) is a British-Australian singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur and activist. She is a four-time Grammy Award winner whose chart career includes five US number ones and another ten Top Tens on Billboard’s Hot 100, and two Billboard 200 number-one albums: If You Love Me, Let Me Know (1974) and Have You Never Been Mellow (1975). Eleven of her singles (including two Platinum) and 14 of her albums (including two Platinum and four 2× Platinum) have been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
In 1978 she starred in the musical film Grease, [GR1] whose soundtrack remains one of the most successful in history and features two major hit duets with co-star John Travolta: “You’re the One That I Want” – which ranks as one of the best-selling singles of all time – and “Summer Nights“. Her signature solo recordings include the Record of the Year Grammy winner “I Honestly Love You” (1974) and “Physical” (1981) – Billboard‘s top Hot 100 single of the 1980s – plus her cover of “If Not for You” (1971), “Let Me Be There” (1973), “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “Sam” (1977), “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (also from Grease), “A Little More Love” (1978), “Heart Attack” (1982) and, from the 1980 film Xanadu, “Magic” and “Xanadu” (with Electric Light Orchestra).
Newton-John has been a long-time activist for environmental and animal rights issues. She has been an advocate for health awareness, becoming involved with various charities, health products and fundraising efforts. Her business interests have included launching several product lines for Koala Blue and co-owning the Gaia Retreat & Spa in Australia.
Newton-John was born on 26 September 1948 in Cambridge, United Kingdom, to the Welshman Brinley “Bryn” Newton-John (1914–1992) and Irene Helene (née Born) (1914–2003). Her Jewish maternal grandfather, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born,[GR2] fled with his family to Britain from Germany before World War II to escape the Nazi regime. Newton-John’s maternal grandmother was of paternal Jewish ancestry as well. She is a third cousin of comedian Ben Elton. Her maternal great-grandfather was the jurist Victor Ehrenberg and her matrilineal great-grandmother’s father was the jurist Rudolf von Jhering.
Newton-John’s father was an MI5 officer on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park who took Rudolf Hess into custody during World War II. After the war, he became the Headmaster at the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys and was in that position when Olivia was born.
Newton-John is the youngest of three children, following her brother Hugh (1939–2019), a medical doctor, and her sister Rona (1941–2013) (an actress who was married to the Grease co-star Jeff Conaway from 1980 until their divorce in 1985). In 1954, when she was six, her family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, where her father worked as a professor of German and as the master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.
She attended the Christ Church Grammar School in the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra and then the University High School near Ormond College.
At 14, Newton-John formed a short-lived all-girl group, Sol Four, with three classmates often performing in a coffee shop owned by her brother-in-law. She became a regular on local Australian radio and television shows including HSV-7‘s The Happy Show where she performed as “Lovely Livvy”.
She also appeared on The Go!! Show where she met future duet partner, singer Pat Carroll, and future music producer, John Farrar (Carroll and Farrar would later marry). She entered and won a talent contest on the television program Sing, Sing, Sing,[GR3] hosted by 1960s Australian icon Johnny O’Keefe, performing the songs “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses“. She was initially reluctant to use the prize she had won, a trip to Great Britain, but traveled there nearly a year later after her mother encouraged her to broaden her horizons.
Newton-John recorded her first single, “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine”, in Britain for Decca Records in 1966. While in Britain, Newton-John missed her then-boyfriend, Ian Turpie, with whom she had co-starred in an Australian telefilm, Funny Things Happen Down Under. She repeatedly booked trips back to Australia that her mother would subsequently cancel.
Newton-John’s outlook changed when Pat Carroll moved to the UK. The two formed a duo called “Pat and Olivia” and toured nightclubs in Europe. (In one incident, they were booked at Paul Raymond’s Revue [GR4] in Soho, London. Dressed primly in frilly, high-collared dresses, they were unaware that this was a strip club until they began to perform onstage.) After Carroll’s visa expired, forcing her to return to Australia, Newton-John remained in Britain to pursue solo work until 1975.
Newton-John was recruited for the group Tomorrow, formed by American producer Don Kirshner. In 1970, the group starred in a “science fiction musical” film and recorded an accompanying soundtrack album, on RCA Records, both named after the group. That same year the group made two single recordings, “You’re My Baby Now”/”Goin’ Back” and “I Could Never Live Without Your Love”/”Roll Like a River”. Neither track became a chart success and the project failed with the group disbanding.
Newton-John released her first solo album, If Not for You (US No. 158 Pop), in 1971. (In the UK, the album was known as Olivia Newton-John.) The title track, written by Bob Dylan and previously recorded by former Beatle George Harrison for his 1970 album All Things Must Pass, was her first international hit (US No. 25 Pop, No. 1 Adult Contemporary/”AC”). Her follow-up single, “Banks of the Ohio“, was a top 10 hit in the UK and Australia. She was voted Best British Female Vocalist two years in a row by the magazine Record Mirror. She made frequent appearances on Cliff Richard‘s[GR5] weekly show, It’s Cliff Richard, and starred with him in the telefilm The Case.
In 1972, Newton-John’s second UK album, Olivia, was released but never formally issued in the United States, where her career floundered after If Not for You. Subsequent singles including “Banks of the Ohio” (No. 94 Pop, No. 34 AC) and remakes of George Harrison’s “What Is Life” (No. 34 AC) and John Denver‘s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (No. 119 Pop) made minimal impact on the Hot 100. However, her fortune changed with the release of “Let Me Be There” in 1973. The song reached the American top 10 on the Pop (No. 6), Country (No. 7), and AC (No. 3) charts and earned her a Grammy for Best Country Female and an Academy of Country Music award for Most Promising Female Vocalist.
Her second American album, named Let Me Be There after the hit single, was actually her third in Britain, where the LP was known as Music Makes My Day. The record was also called Let Me Be There in Australia; however, the US and Canadian versions featured an alternate track list that mixed new cuts with selections from Olivia and also recycled six songs from If Not for You, which was going out of print.
In 1974, Newton-John represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest [GR6] with the song “Long Live Love“. The song was chosen for Newton-John by the British public out of six possible entries. (Newton-John later admitted that she disliked the song.) Newton-John finished fourth at the contest held in Brighton behind ABBA‘s winning Swedish entry, “Waterloo“. All six Eurovision contest song candidates—”Have Love, Will Travel”, “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy”, “Long Live Love”, “Someday”, “Angel Eyes” and “Hands Across the Sea”—were recorded by Newton-John and included on her Long Live Love album, her first for the EMI Records label.
The Long Live Love album was released in the US and Canada as If You Love Me, Let Me Know. All the Eurovision entries were dropped for different and more country-flavored tunes intended to capitalize on the success of “Let Me Be There”; the North American outing not only used selections from Long Live Love but also Olivia and Music Makes My Day, and only the titular cut was new. If You Love Me, Let Me Know’s title track was in fact its first single and reached No. 5 Pop, No. 2 Country (her best country position to date) and No. 2 AC. The next single, “I Honestly Love You“, became Newton-John’s signature song. Written and composed by Jeff Barry and Peter Allen[GR7] , the ballad became her first Pop number-one (staying there for two weeks), second AC number-one (for three weeks), and third top 10 Country (No. 6) hit and earned Newton-John two more Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female. The success of both singles helped the album reach No. 1 on both the Pop (one week) and Country (eight weeks) albums charts.
In the UK and Australia, “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” was featured on compilations titled First Impressions and Great Hits! First Impressions respectively.
In America, Newton-John’s country success sparked a debate among purists, who took issue with a foreigner singing country-flavored pop music being equated with native Nashville artists. In addition to her Grammy for “Let Me Be There”, Newton-John was also named the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 1974, defeating more established Nashville-based nominees Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker, as well as Canadian artist Anne Murray.
This protest, in part, led to the formation of the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers (ACE). Newton-John was eventually supported by the country music community. Stella Parton, Dolly’s sister, recorded Ode to Olivia and Newton-John recorded her 1976 album, Don’t Stop Believin’, in Nashville.
Newton-John in 1978
Encouraged by expatriate Australian singer Helen Reddy[GR8] , Newton-John left the UK and moved to the US. Newton-John topped the Pop (one week) and Country (six weeks) albums charts with her next album, Have You Never Been Mellow. The album generated two singles – the John Farrar-penned title track (No. 1 Pop, No. 3 Country, No. 1 AC) and “Please Mr. Please” (No. 3 Pop, No. 5 Country, No. 1 AC). However, her pop career cooled with the release of her next album, Clearly Love. Her streak of five consecutive gold top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 ended when the album’s first single, “Something Better to Do“, stopped at No. 13 (also No. 19 Country and No. 1 AC). Although her albums still achieved gold status, she did not return to the top 10 on the Hot 100 or Billboard 200 charts again until 1978.
Newton-John’s singles continued to easily top the AC chart, where she ultimately amassed ten No. 1 singles including a record seven consecutively:
- “I Honestly Love You” (1974) – 3 weeks
- “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975) – 1 week
- “Please Mr. Please” (1975) – 3 weeks
- “Something Better to Do” (1975) – 3 weeks
- “Let It Shine“/”He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (1976) – 2 weeks
- “Come on Over” (1976) – 1 week
- “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1976) – 1 week
She provided a prominent, but uncredited, vocal on John Denver‘s “Fly Away” single, which was succeeded by her own single, “Let It Shine“/”He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother“, at No. 1 on the AC chart. (“Fly Away” returned to No. 1 after the two-week reign of “Let It Shine“.) Newton-John also continued to reach the Country top 10 where she tallied seven top 10 singles through 1976’s “Come on Over” (No. 23 Pop, No. 5 Country, No. 1 AC) and six consecutive (of a career nine total) top 10 albums through 1976’s Don’t Stop Believin’ (No. 30 Pop, No. 7 Country). She headlined her first US television special, A Special Olivia Newton-John, in November 1976.
In 1977, the single “Sam,” a mid-tempo waltz from Don’t Stop Believin’, returned her to the No. 1 spot on the AC (No. 40 Country) and also reached No. 20 Pop, her highest chart placement since “Something Better to Do”. By mid-1977, Newton-John’s pop, AC and country success all suffered a slight blow. Her Making a Good Thing Better album (No. 34 Pop, No. 13 Country) failed to be certified gold, and its only single, the title track (No. 87 Pop, No. 20 AC), did not reach the AC top 10 or the Country chart. However, later that year, Olivia Newton-John’s Greatest Hits (No. 13 Pop, No. 7 Country) became her first platinum album.
Newton-John was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1979 New Year Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire [GR9] (DBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment.
Lawsuit against MCA Records
In April 1975, Newton-John and MCA entered into an initial two-year, four-album deal in which Newton-John was expected to deliver two LPs a year for the record company. MCA also had the option of extending the contract for six more records and three more years; and if the artist did not deliver on time, MCA was allegedly allowed to increase the term of the commitment to account for the lateness.
Per her new agreement with MCA, Newton-John’s first three albums, beginning with Clearly Love, came out on schedule; however, her fourth, Making a Good Thing Better, was late. This delay occurred around the same time she was working on Grease for RSO Records, and the postponement arguably gave MCA—which seemed to want to keep its hold on the performer—the right to exercise its option, extend its contract and stop her from signing with another enterprise. Newton-John also did not deliver a “newly optioned” album.
On 31 May 1978, Newton-John and MCA each filed breach-of-contract actions against the other. Newton-John sued for $10 million and claimed that MCA’s failure to adequately promote and advertise her product freed her from their agreement. MCA’s counter suit requested $1 million in damages and an injunction against the singer working with another music firm.
Ultimately, Newton-John was forbidden from offering her recording services to another label until the five-year pact had run its course; however, the original covenant was not automatically elongated, even though Newton-John had not duly supplied the total sum of vinyl’s indicated in the contract.
As a result of the lawsuit, record companies changed their contracts to be based on a set number of albums recorded by a musician and not a specific number of years.
Newton-John appearing with John Travolta in 1982
Newton-John’s career soared after she starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease in 1978. She was offered the lead role of Sandy after meeting producer Allan Carr at a dinner party at Helen Reddy‘s home. Burned by her Toomorrow experience and concerned that she was too old to play a high school senior (she turned 29 during Grease‘s 1977 filming), Newton-John insisted on a screen test with the film’s co-star, John Travolta.[GR10] The film accommodated Newton-John’s Australian accent by recasting her character from the play’s original American Sandy Dumbrowski to Sandy Olsson, an Australian who holidays and then moves with her family to the US. Newton-John previewed some of the film’s soundtrack during her second American network television special, Olivia, featuring guests ABBA and Andy Gibb.
Grease became the biggest box-office hit of 1978. The soundtrack album spent 12 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 and yielded three Top 5 singles for Newton-John: the platinum “You’re the One That I Want” (No. 1 Pop, No. 23 AC) with John Travolta, the gold “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (No. 3 Pop, No. 20 Country, No. 7 AC) and the gold “Summer Nights” (No. 5 Pop, No. 21 AC) with John Travolta and the film’s cast. “Summer Nights” was from the original play written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, but the former two songs were written and composed by her long-time music producer, John Farrar, specifically for the film.
Newton-John became the second woman (after Linda Ronstadt in 1977) to have two singles – “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “Summer Nights” – in the Billboard top 5 simultaneously. Newton-John’s performance earned her a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Film Actress. She was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Musical and performed the Oscar-nominated “Hopelessly Devoted to You” at the 1979 Academy Awards.
The film’s popularity has endured through the years. It was re-released for its 20th anniversary in 1998 and ranked as the second highest-grossing film behind Titanic in its opening weekend. It was most recently re-released in April 2018 in over 700 American theatres for two days only. The soundtrack is one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.
Newton-John contends: “I think the songs are timeless. They’re fun and have great energy. The ’50s-feel music has always been popular, and it’s nostalgic for my generation, and then the young kids are rediscovering it every 10 years or so, it seems. People buying the album was a way for them to remember those feelings of watching the movie and feelings of that time period. I feel very grateful to be a part of this movie that’s still loved so much.”
Lawsuit against UMG
In June 2006, Newton-John’s company ON-J Productions Ltd filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group[GR11] (UMG) for $1 million in unpaid royalties from the Grease soundtrack. In 2007, it was announced that she and UMG had reached a “conditional settlement”.
Newton-John’s transformation in Grease from goody-goody “Sandy 1” to spandex-clad “Sandy 2” emboldened Newton-John to do the same with her music career. In November 1978, she released her next studio album, Totally Hot, which became her first solo top 10 (No. 7) album since Have You Never Been Mellow. Dressed on the cover all in leather, the album’s singles “A Little More Love” (No. 3 Pop, No. 94 Country, No. 4 AC), “Deeper Than the Night” (No. 11 Pop, No. 87 Country, No. 4 AC), and the title track (No. 52 Pop) all demonstrated a more aggressive and up-tempo sound for Newton-John. Although the album de-emphasised country, it still reached No. 4 on the Country Albums chart. Newton-John released the B-side, “Dancin’ ‘Round and ‘Round”, of the “Totally Hot” single to Country radio peaking at No. 29 (as well as No. 82 Pop and No. 25 AC), becoming her last charted solo Country airplay single to date.
Newton-John began 1980 by releasing “I Can’t Help It” (No. 12 Pop, No. 8 AC), a duet with Andy Gibb from his After Dark album, and by starring in her third television special, Hollywood Nights. Later that year, she appeared in her first film since Grease, starring in the musical Xanadu with Gene Kelly and Michael Beck.
Although the film was a critical failure, its soundtrack (No. 4 Pop) was certified double platinum and scored five top 20 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Newton-John charted with “Magic” (No. 1 Pop, No. 1 AC), “Suddenly” with Cliff Richard (No. 20 Pop, No. 4 AC) and the title song Xanadu with the Electric Light Orchestra (No. 8 Pop, No. 2 AC). (ELO also charted with “I’m Alive” (No. 16 Pop, No. 48 AC) and “All Over the World” (No. 13 Pop, No. 46 AC).)
“Magic” was Newton-John’s biggest Pop hit to that point (four weeks at No. 1) and still ranks as the biggest AC hit of her career (five weeks at No. 1). The film has since become a cult classic and the basis for a Broadway show that ran for more than 500 performances beginning in 2007 and was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical. (A successful international tour of the show followed.)
In 1981, Newton-John released her most successful studio album, the double platinum Physical, which strongly reinforced her image change by showcasing risqué, rock-oriented material. Newton-John explains: “I just wasn’t in the mood for tender ballads. I wanted peppy stuff because that’s how I’m feeling.” Of the titular cut, Newton-John says: “Roger Davies was my manager at the time; he played it for me and I knew it was a very catchy song.” In fact, the title track, written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, spent ten weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, matching the record at that time for most weeks spent at No. 1 in the rock era held by Debby Boone‘s[GR12] “You Light Up My Life“. The single was certified platinum and it ultimately ranked as the biggest song of the decade. (In 2008, Billboard ranked the song No. 6 among all songs that charted in the 50-year history of the Hot 100.)
“Physical” earned Newton-John her only placement ever on the R&B Singles (No. 28) and Albums (No. 32) charts. The Physical album spawned two more singles, “Make a Move on Me” (No. 5 Pop, No. 6 AC) and “Landslide” (No. 52 Pop).
Newton-John at the opening of a Koala Blue store in 1988
The provocative lyrics of the “Physical” title track prompted two Utah radio stations to ban the single from their playlists. (In 2010, Billboard magazine ranked this as the most popular single ever about sex.) To counter its overtly suggestive tone, Newton-John filmed an exercise-themed video that turned the song into an aerobics anthem and made headbands a fashion accessory outside the gym.
She pioneered the nascent music video industry by recording a video album for Physical featuring videos of all the album’s tracks and three of her older hits. The video album earned her a fourth Grammy and was aired as an ABC prime-time special, Let’s Get Physical, becoming a top 10 Nielsen hit. Newton-John asserts: “Like everyone, I’ve got different sides of my personality. I’ve my dominant self, my need-to-be-dominated self, the sane Olivia and the crazy Olivia. Playing these different characters gave me a chance to show strange parts people haven’t seen much.”
The success of Physical led to an international tour and the release of her second hits collection, the double platinum Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (No. 16 Pop), which yielded two more top 40 singles: “Heart Attack” (No. 3 Pop) and “Tied Up” (No. 38 Pop). The tour was filmed for her Olivia in Concert television special, which premiered on HBO in January 1983. The special was subsequently released to video, earning Newton-John another Grammy nomination.
Newton-John re-teamed with Travolta in 1983 for the critically and commercially unsuccessful Two of a Kind, redeemed by its platinum soundtrack (No. 26 Pop) featuring “Twist of Fate” (No. 5 Pop), “Livin’ in Desperate Times” (No. 31 Pop), and a new duet with Travolta, “Take a Chance” (No. 3 AC). Newton-John released another video package, the Grammy-nominated Twist of Fate, featuring videos of her four songs on the Two of a Kind soundtrack and the two new singles from Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2. [GR13]
That same year Newton-John and Pat Farrar (formerly Pat Carroll) founded Koala Blue. The store, originally for Australian imports, evolved into a chain of women’s clothing boutiques. The chain was initially successful, but it eventually declared bankruptcy and closed in 1992. Newton-John and Farrar would later license the brand name for a line of Australian produced wines, confections, and bed/bath products.
Newton-John’s music career cooled again with the release of her next studio album, the gold Soul Kiss (No. 29 Pop), in 1985. The album’s only charted single was the title track (No. 20 Pop, No. 20 AC). Due to her pregnancy, Newton-John limited her publicity for the album. The video album for Soul Kiss featured only five of the album’s ten tracks (concept videos for the album’s singles “Soul Kiss” and “Toughen Up” as well as performance videos of the tracks “Culture Shock”, “Emotional Tangle” and “The Right Moment”).
After a nearly three-year hiatus following the birth of her daughter Chloe in January 1986, Newton-John resumed her recording career with the 1988 album, The Rumour. The album was promoted by an HBO special, Olivia Down Under, and its first single, the title track, was written and produced by Elton John. Both the single (No. 62 Pop, No. 33 AC) and the album (No. 67 Pop) fizzled as the nearly 40-year-old Newton-John seemed “old” when compared with the teen queens Debbie Gibson and Tiffany ruling the Pop charts at that time. (Ironically, this album was praised by critics as more mature with Newton-John addressing topics such as AIDS, the environment and single-parent households.)
Motherhood, cancer and advocacy
In September 1989, Newton-John released her self-described “self-indulgent” album, Warm and Tender, which reunited her with producer John Farrar, absent from her previous LP, and also marked a return to a more wholesome image of herself. Inspired by her daughter, who appeared on the cover, the album featured lullabies and love songs for parents and their children. This album, the last one produced by Farrar, also failed to revive her recording career, as the disc only reached No. 124 Pop.
Newton-John was primed for another comeback in 1992 when she compiled her third hits collection, Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971–1992, and planned her first tour since her Physical trek ten years earlier. Shortly after the album’s release Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing her to cancel all publicity for the album, including the tour. (Newton-John received her diagnosis the same weekend her father died.) Newton-John recovered and has since become an advocate for breast cancer research and other health issues. She is a product spokesperson for the Liv-Kit, a breast self-examination product. She is also partial owner of the Gaia Retreat and Spa in Byron Bay, New South Wales.[GR15]
Newton-John’s advocacy for health issues was presaged by her prior involvement with many humanitarian causes. Newton-John cancelled a 1978 concert tour of Japan to protest the slaughter of dolphins caught in tuna fishing nets. She subsequently rescheduled the tour when the Japanese government assured her that the practice was being curbed. Her concern for these “beautifully evolved creatures” (as she calls them in the Warm and Tender liner notes) is also expressed in the 1981 self-penned piece, “The Promise (the Dolphin Song)”, described as “one of the most tender, heartfelt vocals of the singer’s career.” Newton-John claims “The Promise” (from Physical) was inspired by (and even channeled by) dolphins she met at Sea Life Park in Hawaii and attests: “It was strange. The morning after I was in the pools, I woke up and the words and melody were in my head. I think it was a gift from them.”
She was a performer on the 1979 Music for UNICEF Concert for the UN’s International Year of the Child televised worldwide. During the concert, artists performed songs for which they donated their royalties, some in perpetuity, to benefit the cause. She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme.
In 1991, she became the National Spokesperson for the Colette Chuda Environmental Fund/CHEC (Children’s Health Environmental Coalition) following the death from Wilms’ tumor of four-year-old Colette Chuda, daughter of Newton-John’s friend Nancy Chuda. (On the cover of the Warm and Tender album, the singer is shown with two young girls: one is Newton-John’s daughter Chloe and the other, whom Newton-John is kissing, is Colette Chuda.)
Newton-John’s cancer diagnosis also affected the type of music she recorded. In 1994, she released Gaia: One Woman’s Journey, which chronicled her ordeal. Co-produced by Newton-John for ONJ Productions, Gaia was originally issued by Festival in Australia but also distributed by various independent labels in Japan and Europe. In 2002, there was an American distribution by Hip-O Records, and a subsequent re-release in 2012 by Green Hill featured an alternate cover photo. Gaia was the first album on which Newton-John wrote all the music and lyrics herself, and this endeavor encouraged her to become more active as a songwriter thereafter. The single “No Matter What You Do” entered the Australian top 40, and the second single, the environmental-themed “Don’t Cut Me Down”, was also used in the film It’s My Party. The Latin-fueled “Not Gonna Give into It” eventually became heavily showcased in concert performance; “The Way of Love” was featured in the telefilm A Christmas Romance, and “Trust Yourself” was incorporated into both the TV-movie The Wilde Girls and the theatrical flick Sordid Lives[GR16] .
In 2005, she released Stronger Than Before, sold exclusively in the US by Hallmark. This was her second exclusive album for Hallmark Cards after her successful first Christmas album ‘Tis the Season with Vince Gill five years earlier. Proceeds from the album’s sales benefited breast cancer research. The album featured the song “Phenomenal Woman” based on the poem by Maya Angelou that featured guest vocals from Diahann Carroll, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Delta Goodrem, Amy Holland, Patti LaBelle and Mindy Smith – all survivors of or affected by cancer.
The following year, Newton-John released a healing CD, Grace and Gratitude. The album was sold exclusively by Walgreens, also to benefit various charities including Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization[GR17] . The CD was the “heart” of their Body – Heart – Spirit Wellness Collection, which also featured a re-branded Liv-Kit and breast-health dietary supplements. She re-recorded some tracks from Grace and Gratitude in 2010 and re-released the album as Grace and Gratitude Renewed on the Green Hill music label. The Renewed CD includes a new track, “Help Me to Heal”, not featured on the original album. The Renewed CD yielded Newton-John’s first appearances on the Billboard Christian Albums (No. 36), Christian & Gospel Albums (No. 54) and New Age Albums (No. 2) charts.
In 2008, she raised funds to help build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia. She led a three-week, 228 km walk along the Great Wall of China during April, joined by various celebrities and cancer survivors throughout her trek. The walk symbolized the steps cancer patients must take on their road to recovery.
Newton-John was featured in UniGlobe Entertainment’s breast cancer docu-drama, 1 a Minute, released in October 2010. The documentary was made by actress Namrata Singh Gujral and featured other celebrities who had survived breast cancer or who were affected by the disease. During the same month, Bluewater Productions released a comic book featuring Newton-John to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Newton-John continued to record and perform pop-oriented music as well. In 1998, she returned to Nashville to record Back with a Heart (No. 59 Pop). The album returned her to the top 10 (No. 9) on the Country Albums chart. Its first single was a re-recording of “I Honestly Love You” produced by David Foster and featuring Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds on background vocals that charted on the Pop (No. 67) and AC (No. 18) charts. Country radio dismissed the song, though it did peak at No. 16 on the Country Sales chart. The album track, “Love Is a Gift”, won Newton-John a 1999 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Song after being featured on the daytime serial, As the World Turns.
During October–December 1998, Newton-John, John Farnham and Anthony Warlow performed in The Main Event Tour. The album Highlights from The Main Event peaked at No. 1 in December, was certified 4× platinum, won an ARIA Award for Highest Selling Australian CD at the 1999 Awards and was also nominated for Best Adult Contemporary Album.
For the 2000 Summer Olympics, Newton-John and Farnham re-teamed to perform “Dare to Dream” during the Parade of Nations[GR19] at the Opening Ceremony. Broadcast of the ceremony was viewed by an estimated 3.5 billion people around the world.
In December 1998, following a hiatus of about 16 years, Newton-John also resumed touring by herself and in 2000 released a solo CD, One Woman’s Live Journey, her first live album since 1981’s Love Performance, which was only available in Japan on vinyl pressings.
Newton-John’s subsequent secular albums were released primarily in Australia. In 2002, Newton-John released (2), a duets album featuring mostly Australian artists (Tina Arena, Darren Hayes, Jimmy Little, Johnny O’Keefe, Billy Thorpe, Keith Urban) as well as a “duet” with the deceased Peter Allen. In addition, (2) offered a hidden 12th track, a samba version of “Physical“, which Newton-John later performed occasionally in concert instead of the rockier original. For (2)’s 2004 Japanese release, the acoustic version of “Physical” was switched to “Let It Be Me”, a duet with Cliff Richard, with whom she had previously been coupled on “Suddenly” and Songs from Heathcliff.
In 2002, Newton-John was also inducted into Australia’s ARIA Hall of Fame.
Produced by Phil Ramone and recorded at the Indigo Recording Studios in Malibu for ONJ Productions, Indigo: Women of Song was released in October 2004 in Australia. The tribute album featured Newton-John covering songs by artists such as Joan Baez, the Carpenters, Doris Day, Nina Simone, Minnie Riperton and others. Newton-John dedicated the album to her mother, who had died the previous year. Indigo was subsequently released in the UK in April 2005 and in Japan in March 2006. A re-branded and re-sequenced version called Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song was eventually issued in the US in 2011.
Newton-John also released several Christmas albums. In 2000, she teamed with Vince Gill and the London Symphony Orchestra for ‘Tis the Season sold exclusively through Hallmark. The following year, she released The Christmas Collection, which compiled seasonal music previously recorded for her Hallmark Christmas album, her appearance on Kenny Loggins‘ 1999 TNN Christmas special and her contributions to the Mother and Child and Spirit of Christmas multi-artist collections. (Green Hill Records re-released this album with different artwork in 2010.) In 2007, she re-teamed with her Grace and Gratitude producer, Amy Sky, for Christmas Wish (No. 187 Pop) which was sold exclusively by Target in its first year of release.
Newton-John acted occasionally since Two of a Kind. She appeared in a supporting role in the 1996 AIDS drama, It’s My Party. In 2000, she appeared in a dramatically different role as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian ex-con country singer, in Del Shores‘ Sordid Lives. Newton-John reprised her role for Sordid Lives: The Series which aired one season on the LOGO television network. The series featured five original songs written and composed by Newton-John specifically for the show. In 2010, Newton-John starred in the film Score: A Hockey Musical, released in Canada. Newton-John portrayed Hope Gordon, the mother of a home-schooled hockey prodigy. The film opened the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.[GR20]
Newton-John’s television work included starring in two Christmas films, A Mom for Christmas (1990) and A Christmas Romance (1994) – both top 10 Nielsen hits. Her daughter, Chloe, starred as one of her children in both A Christmas Romance and in the 2001 Showtime film The Wilde Girls. Newton-John guest-starred as herself in the sitcoms Ned and Stacey, Murphy Brown, and Bette, and made two appearances as herself on Glee.
For her first Glee appearance, Newton-John re-created her “Physical” video with series regular Jane Lynch. The performance was released as a digital single, returning Newton-John to the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 89) for the first time since her 1998 re-release of “I Honestly Love You“. In Australia, Newton-John hosted the animal and nature series Wild Life and guest starred as Joanna on two episodes of the Australian series The Man From Snowy River.
Newton-John released another concert DVD, Olivia Newton-John and the Sydney Symphony: Live at the Sydney Opera House and a companion CD, her third live album titled Olivia’s Live Hits. An edited version of the DVD premiered on PBS station, WLIW (Garden City, New York), in October 2007 and subsequently aired nationally during the network’s fund-raising pledge drives.
Newton-John, performing at the Sydney State Theatre in September 2008
Newton-John at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
Newton-John was actively touring and doing concerts from 2012 to 2017 and also performed a handful of shows in 2018. In 2012, an Australian tour of Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as a tour of the United States, treated fans to songs that she had never performed in concert before. Her dates for A Summer Night with Olivia Newton-John [GR21] even included stops in Asia and Canada and culminated in a rare concert appearance in London in 2013. Her March 2013 UK trek also encompassed Bournemouth, Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff, Wales.
In November 2012, Newton-John teamed with John Travolta to make the charity album This Christmas, in support of The Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre and the Jett Travolta Foundation. Artists featured on the album include: Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Chick Corea, Kenny G, Tony Bennett, Cliff Richard and the Count Basie Orchestra.
A 2013 residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas was postponed due to the May 2013 death of her elder sister, Rona (aged 71), from a brain tumor. Newton-John resumed with 45 shows beginning in April 2014. In conjunction with the Vegas shows, Newton-John released a new EP in April 2014 entitled Hotel Sessions, which consisted of seven tracks of unreleased demos that were recorded between 2002 and 2011 with her nephew Brett Goldsmith. The CD contains a cover of “Broken Wings” as well as the popular-with-fans original “Best of My Love”, which had leaked on the internet many years prior.
Her Vegas stay was eventually extended beyond August 2014, and her Summer Nights residency did not complete until December 2016. Her successful three-year run even prompted a fourth live album, Summer Nights: Live in Las Vegas (2015). In 2015, Newton-John also reunited with John Farnham for a joint venture called Two Strong Hearts Live.
In 2015, Newton-John was a guest judge on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That same year, she scored her first number-one single on Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart with “You Have to Believe” with daughter Chloe and producer Dave Audé. The song was a re-imagining of her 1980 single “Magic”, which she notes was to celebrate both the 35th anniversary of Xanadu and as a dedication to her daughter, stating “I met Chloe’s dad on the set of Xanadu, so, without that film, Chloe wouldn’t be here. She was the real ‘magic’ that came out of that film!” The song became the first mother-daughter single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart.
On 7 May 2019, Newton-John’s elder brother Hugh, a doctor, died at age 80; his death left Newton-John as the sole surviving sibling.
In December 2019, Newton-John and Travolta also re-teamed for three live Meet ‘n’ Grease sing-along events in the Florida cities of Tampa, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville.
In the media
On 2 November 2019, Julien’s Auctions auctioned hundreds of memorabilia from the singer’s career. The sale raised $2.4 million. Newton-John’s iconic Grease outfit garnered an impressive $405,700; her pants and jacket were purchased separately by two different billionaires. Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, bought Newton-John’s black skintight pants from Grease for $162,000. The anonymous buyer who acquired her famous Grease leather jacket for $243,200 (£185,000) returned the item to her and said: “It should not sit in a billionaire’s closet for country-club bragging rights […] The odds of beating a recurring cancer using the newest emerging therapies is a thousandfold greater than someone appearing out of the blue, buying your most famous and cherished icon, and returning it to you.” Proceeds are being donated to cancer research facilities in Australia.
In 1968, Newton-John was engaged to but never married Bruce Welch,
one of her early producers and co-writer of her hit “Please Mr. Please“. In 1972, Newton-John ended her relationship with Welch, who subsequently attempted suicide.
In 1973, while vacationing on the French Riviera, Newton-John met British businessman Lee Kramer, who became both her new boyfriend and manager. After relocating to America in 1975, Newton-John lived with Kramer on and off and they stayed a couple for much of the remaining decade; however, Newton-John called their turbulent pairing “one long breakup”. Newton-John set up residence in Malibu, California, where throughout the years she has owned various properties, including a horse ranch and numerous beach homes.
Newton-John married her long-time boyfriend, actor Matt Lattanzi, in December 1984. The couple had met four years earlier while filming Xanadu. They divorced in 1995. According to People magazine, people close to the couple said that the disparity between her spiritual interests and his more earthly ones was a key factor in the dissolution. Their daughter, Chloe Rose, was born in January 1986.
The couple dated on and off for nine years. McDermott disappeared following a 2005 fishing trip off the Californian coast. Newton-John, who was in Australia at her Gaia Retreat & Spa at the time of his disappearance, was never a suspect in McDermott’s disappearance. A US Coast Guard investigation, based on then-available evidence and released in 2008, “suggest[ed] McDermott was lost at sea,” with a friend telling investigators McDermott had appeared sad though not despondent after their breakup. In April 2010, a private investigator, hired by an American television program, claimed that McDermott was alive in Mexico, and had faked his death for life insurance fraud – but did not provide proof beyond their own statement that they were confident.
Newton-John married John Easterling, founder and president of the Amazon Herb Company, in an Incan spiritual ceremony in Peru on 21 June 2008, followed by a legal ceremony nine days later on Jupiter Island, Florida.
In June 2009, Newton-John and Easterling purchased a new $4.1 million home in Jupiter Inlet, Florida.
In 2013, a contractor named Christopher Pariseleti committed suicide on the estate, which at the time was up for sale. Following the death on the premises, the property lingered on and off the market for several years but was eventually bought by a Swedish advertising executive for $5.1 Million.
In 2015, the couple purchased a $5.3 million 12-acre horse ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley outside Santa Barbara.
In 2019, Newton-John sold her 187-acre Australian farm, which she had owned for nearly 40 years and is located near Byron Bay in New South Wales. The Dalwood estate sold for $4.6 million; in 1980, Newton-John had originally paid $622,000 for the property, which had additional land adjoined in both 1983 and in 2002.
Ongoing health issues
Newton-John subsequently revealed this was actually her third bout with breast cancer and she had privately battled the disease in 2013 in addition to her previously disclosed 1992 fight.
In 2017, it was also reported that the cancer had progressed to Stage IV and spread to her bones.
Newton-John has openly talked about using cannabis oil to ease her cancer pain and has become an advocate for medical cannabis. Her daughter Chloe also owns a cannabis farm in Oregon.
Awards and honours
- 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 (1990)
- Gaia: One Woman’s Journey (1994)
- Back with a Heart (1998)
- ‘Tis the Season (2000) (with Vince Gill)
- (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) (with John Travolta)
- Liv On (2016)
- Friends for Christmas (2016) (with John Farnham)
|1965||Funny Things Happen Down Under||Olivia|
|1983||Two of a Kind||Debbie Wylder|
|1990||A Mom for Christmas||Amy Miller||Television film|
|1994||A Christmas Romance||Julia Stonecypher||Television film|
|1996||It’s My Party||Lina Bingham|
|2000||Sordid Lives||Bitsy Mae Harling|
|2001||The Wilde Girls||Jasmine Wilde||Television film|
|2010||1 a Minute||Herself|
|2010||Score: A Hockey Musical||Hope Gordon|
|2011||A Few Best Men||Barbara Ramme|
|2017||Sharknado 5: Global Swarming||Orion||Television film|
|2020||The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee||Olivia|
|1972||The Case||Herself||BBC special with Cliff Richard & Tim Brooke-Taylor|
|1974||Eurovision Song Contest||Herself||United Kingdom Entry: 4th Place|
|1976||A Special Olivia Newton-John||Herself||ABC special|
|1977||Only Olivia||Herself||BBC special|
|1980||Hollywood Nights||Herself||ABC special|
|1982||Let’s Get Physical||Herself||ABC special|
|Saturday Night Live||Herself – Host||Also musical guest|
|Olivia in Concert||Herself||HBO special|
|1988||Olivia Down Under||Herself||HBO special|
|1990||Timeless Tales from Hallmark||Herself – Host||6 episodes|
|1995||The Man from Snowy River||Joanna Walker||Recurring role (3 episodes)|
|Ned and Stacey||Herself||Episode: “Reality Check“|
|Is This Your Life?||Herself||Extended interview with Andrew Neil on Channel 4 in the UK|
|1997||Tracey Takes On…||Herself||Episode: “Childhood“|
|Murphy Brown||Herself||Episode: “I Hear a Symphony“|
|2001||Bette||Herself||Episode: “The Invisible Mom”|
|2002||A Night with Olivia||Herself||Channel 7 special|
|2003||Live in Japan 2003||Herself||BS-Hi special|
|2003/07||American Idol||Herself – Guest Judge||3 episodes|
|2008||Sordid Lives: The Series||Bitsy Mae Harling||Supporting role (12 episodes)|
|2009||Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List||Herself||Episode: “Fly the Super Gay Skies“|
|2010||Glee||Herself||Episodes: “Bad Reputation“, “Journey to Regionals“|
|2015||RuPaul’s Drag Race||Herself – Guest Judge||Episode: “Glamazonian Airways“|
|Dancing with the Stars||Herself – Guest Judge||Episode: “Famous Dances Night“|
- If Not for You Tour (1972)
- Clearly Love Tour (1975)
- Love Performance Tour (1976)
- Totally Hot World Tour[GR24] (1978)
- Physical Tour (1982–83)
- Greatest Hits Tour (1999)
- One Woman’s Live Journey Tour (1999)
- Millennium Tour (2000)
- 30 Musical Years Tour (2001)
- Heartstrings World Tour (2002–05)
- 2006 World Tour (2006)
- Grace and Gratitude Tour (2006)
- Body Heart & Spirit Tour (2007)
- An Evening with Olivia Newton-John (2007–09)
- 2010 World Tour (2010)
- 2011 United States Tour (2011)
- A Summer Night with Olivia Newton-John (2012–13)
- The Main Event Tour (with John Farnham and Anthony Warlow) (1998)
- Two Strong Hearts Tour (with John Farnham) (2015)
- LIV ON In Concert (with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky) (2017)
[GR1]Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy film based on the 1971 musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Written by Bronte Woodard and directed by Randal Kleiser in his theatrical feature film debut, the film depicts the lives of greaser Danny Zuko and Australian transfer student Sandy Olsson who develop an attraction for each other. The film stars John Travolta as Danny, Olivia Newton-John as Sandy, and Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo, the leader of the Pink Ladies.
Released on June 16, 1978, Grease was successful both critically and commercially, becoming the highest-grossing musical film ever at the time. Its soundtrack album ended 1978 as the second-best-selling album of the year in the United States, behind the soundtrack of the 1977 blockbuster Saturday Night Fever (which also starred Travolta) and earned an Oscar nomination for “Hopelessly Devoted to You” at the 51st Academy Awards. In 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Launching the franchise of the same name, a sequel, Grease 2, was released in 1982, starring Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer as a newer class of greasers. Few of the original cast members reprised their roles. As of 2020, a Paramount+ series, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, based on Grease, and a prequel, titled Summer Lovin’, are in production
[GR2]Max Born (German: [ˈmaks ˈbɔɐ̯n]; 11 December 1882 – 5 January 1970) was a German physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function“.
Born entered the University of Göttingen in 1904, where he met the three renowned mathematicians Felix Klein, David Hilbert, and Hermann Minkowski. He wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the subject of “Stability of Elastica in a Plane and Space“, winning the University’s Philosophy Faculty Prize. In 1905, he began researching special relativity with Minkowski, and subsequently wrote his habilitation thesis on the Thomson model of the atom. A chance meeting with Fritz Haber in Berlin in 1918 led to discussion of how an ionic compound is formed when a metal reacts with a halogen, which is today known as the Born–Haber cycle.
In World War I, after originally being placed as a radio operator, he was moved to research duties regarding sound ranging due to his specialist knowledge. In 1921, Born returned to Göttingen, arranging another chair for his long-time friend and colleague James Franck. Under Born, Göttingen became one of the world’s foremost centres for physics. In 1925, Born and Werner Heisenberg formulated the matrix mechanics representation of quantum mechanics. The following year, he formulated the now-standard interpretation of the probability density function for ψ*ψ in the Schrödinger equation, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954. His influence extended far beyond his own research. Max Delbrück, Siegfried Flügge, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Lothar Wolfgang Nordheim, Robert Oppenheimer, and Victor Weisskopf all received their Ph.D. degrees under Born at Göttingen, and his assistants included Enrico Fermi, Werner Heisenberg, Gerhard Herzberg, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Wolfgang Pauli, Léon Rosenfeld, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner.
In January 1933, the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, and Born, who was Jewish, was suspended from his professorship at the University of Göttingen. He emigrated to the United Kingdom, where he took a job at St John’s College, Cambridge, and wrote a popular science book, The Restless Universe, as well as Atomic Physics, which soon became a standard textbook. In October 1936, he became the Tait Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, where, working with German-born assistants E. Walter Kellermann and Klaus Fuchs, he continued his research into physics. Born became a naturalised British subject on 31 August 1939, one day before World War II broke out in Europe. He remained in Edinburgh until 1952. He retired to Bad Pyrmont, in West Germany, and died in hospital in Göttingen on 5 January 1970.
[GR3]Sing, Sing, Sing is an Australian music television series that aired from 1962 to 1965 on what would eventually become the Seven Network. Initially hosted by Lionel Long, most of the episodes were hosted by rock-and-roll singer Johnny O’Keefe. The series was produced in Sydney
[GR4]The Raymond Revuebar (1958–2004) was a theatre and strip club at 11 Walker’s Court (now the location of The Box Soho nightclub), in the centre of London’s Soho district. For many years, it was the only venue in London that offered full-frontal, on-stage nudity of the sort commonly seen in other cities in Europe and North America. Its huge brightly lit sign declaring it to be the “World Centre of Erotic Entertainment” made the Revuebar a local landmark.
In 1980, the Boulevard Theatre section of the venue was hired by comic actor Peter Richardson to stage his alternative comedy revue, The Comic Strip. This attracted a younger punk audience to the venue. In 1989, the Boulevard became Eddie Izzard‘s stand-up venue.
In the 1990s, the Revuebar struggled, with its dated image and competition from newer venues such as Spearmint Rhino and Stringfellow’s. The name and leasehold was bought by Gérard Simi in 1997. The Revuebar closed on 10 June 2004 and became a gay bar and cabaret venue called Too2Much, designed by Anarchitect. In November 2006, it changed its name to Soho Revue Bar and was the home of club nights and special events. On 29 January 2009, the Soho Revue Bar closed, reopening in February 2011 as The Box Soho, billed as “A theatre of varieties”, under the ownership of Simon Hammerstein
[GR5]Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb; 14 October 1940) is an English singer, musician, actor, and philanthropist who holds both British and Barbadian citizenship He has sold more than 250 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has total sales of over 21.5 million singles in the United Kingdom and is the third-top-selling artist in UK Singles Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
Richard was originally marketed as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Presley and Little Richard. With his backing group, the Shadows, he dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s to early 1960s. His 1958 hit single “Move It” is often described as Britain’s first authentic rock and roll song; John Lennon once said that “before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music”. In the early 1960s, he had a prosperous film career with films including The Young Ones and Summer Holiday. Increased focus on his Christianity and subsequent softening of his music led to a more middle-of-the-road image, and he sometimes ventured into contemporary Christian music.
[GR6]The Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la chanson) is an international song competition organised annually by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and featuring participants representing primarily European countries. Each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio, transmitted to national broadcasters via the EBU’s Eurovision and Euroradio networks, with competing countries then casting votes for the other countries’ songs to determine a winner.
Based on the Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy since 1951, Eurovision has been held every year since 1956, with the exception of the cancelled 2020 edition, making it the longest-running annual international televised music competition. Active members of the EBU, as well as invited associate members, are eligible to compete in the contest, and as of 2019, 52 countries have participated at least once. Originally consisting of a single evening event, the contest has expanded greatly as new countries joined, leading to the introduction of relegation procedures in the 1990s and eventually the creation of semi-finals in the 2000s. As of 2020, Germany has competed more times than any other country, having participated in all but one edition (1996), while Ireland holds the record for the most victories, with seven wins in total.
The contest has received criticism for its artistic quality, spanning ethnic and international styles, and claims regarding a geopolitical element in the voting system and the competing entries, with varying relations between both participating countries and other territories’ broadcasters. Several controversial moments, such as participating countries withdrawing at a late stage, censorship of segments of the contest by broadcasters, and political events impacting contest participation, have also been experienced in past editions. Eurovision has gained great popularity for its kitsch appeal and has entered LGBT culture, resulting in a large active fan base and influence on popular culture, including television and film, both in Europe and worldwide.
Performing at the Eurovision Song Contest often provides artists with a local career boost and in some cases long-lasting international success. Several of the best-selling music artists in the world have competed in past editions, including ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias and Olivia Newton-John, and some of the world’s best-selling singles have received their first international performance on the Eurovision stage. One of the world’s longest-running television programmes, the contest has been broadcast in countries across all continents, and has been available online via the official Eurovision website since 2000. Eurovision features among the world’s most watched non-sporting events every year, with hundreds of millions of viewers globally, and has spawned and inspired similar contests internationally.
[GR7]Peter Allen (born Peter Richard Woolnough; 10 February 1944 – 18 June 1992) was an Australian singer-songwriter, musician and entertainer, known for his flamboyant stage persona, boundless energy, and lavish costumes. His songs were made popular by many recording artists, including Elkie Brooks, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John, with one, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1981. In addition to recording many albums, he enjoyed a cabaret and concert career, including appearances at the Radio City Music Hall riding a camel. His patriotic song “I Still Call Australia Home“, has been used extensively in advertising campaigns, and was added to the National Film and Sound Archive‘s Sounds of Australia registry in 2013.
Allen was the first husband of Liza Minnelli. They married in 1967, separated in 1969 and were divorced in 1974. He had a long-term partner, model Gregory Connell (1949-1984). They were together from 1974 until Connell’s death in 1984. Peter and Greg died from AIDS-related illnesses eight years apart, with Allen becoming one of the first well-known Australians to die from AIDS. Allen remained ambiguous about his sexuality in that he did not pretend to be straight after divorcing Minnelli, but never publicly came out as gay either. Despite Allen’s outgoing persona, he was an intensely private man who shared little about his personal life even with those close to him. Few of his friends knew he had HIV/AIDS until his final days, partly in fear of alienating his conservative, heterosexual fans and thinking audiences would not want to see a performer they knew was sick. In 1998, a musical about his life, The Boy from Oz debuted in Australia. It ran on Broadway and earned Hugh Jackman a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
[GR8]Helen Maxine Reddy (25 October 1941 – 29 September 2020) was an Australian-American singer, songwriter, author, actress, and activist. Born in Melbourne, Victoria, to a show-business family, Reddy started her career as an entertainer at age four. She sang on radio and television and won a talent contest on the television program Bandstand in 1966; her prize was a ticket to New York City and a record audition, which was unsuccessful. She pursued her international singing career by moving to Chicago, and subsequently, Los Angeles, where she made her debut singles “One Way Ticket” and “I Believe in Music” in 1968 and 1970, respectively. The B-side of the latter single, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him“, reached number eight on the pop chart of the Canadian magazine RPM. She was signed to Capitol Records a year later.
During the 1970s, Reddy enjoyed international success, especially in the United States, where she placed 15 singles on the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six made the top 10 and three reached number one, including her signature hit “I Am Woman“. She placed 25 songs on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart; 15 made the top 10 and eight reached number one, six consecutively. In 1974, at the inaugural American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. On television, she was the first Australian to host a one-hour weekly primetime variety show on an American network, along with specials that were seen in more than 40 countries.
Between the 1980s and 1990s, as her single “I Can’t Say Goodbye to You” became her last to chart in the US, Reddy acted in musicals and recorded albums such as Center Stage before retiring from live performance in 2002. She returned to university in Australia, earned a degree, and practised as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker. In 2011, after singing “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze” with her half-sister, Toni Lamond, for Lamond’s birthday, Reddy decided to return to live performing.
Reddy’s song “I Am Woman” played a significant role in popular culture, becoming an anthem for second-wave feminism. She came to be known as a “feminist poster girl” or a “feminist icon”. In 2011, Billboard named her the number-28 adult contemporary artist of all time (the number-9 woman). In 2013, the Chicago Tribune dubbed her the “Queen of ’70s Pop”
[GR9]The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of the order.
Recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire were originally made on the nomination of the United Kingdom, the self-governing Dominions of the Empire (later Commonwealth) and the Viceroy of India. Nominations continue today from Commonwealth countries that participate in recommending British (Imperial) honours. Most Commonwealth countries ceased recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire when they created their own honours
[GR10]John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor and singer. He rose to fame during the 1970s, appearing on the television sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979) and starring in the box office successes Carrie (1976), Saturday Night Fever (1977), and Grease (1978). His acting career declined throughout the 1980s, but he enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with his role in Pulp Fiction (1994), and has since starred in the films Get Shorty (1995), Broken Arrow (1996), Face/Off (1997), Swordfish (2001), The Punisher (2004), Hairspray (2007), Bolt (2008), and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009).
Travolta was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for performances in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty and has received a total of six nominations, the most recent being in 2011. In 2014, he received the IIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema. In 2016, Travolta received his first Primetime Emmy Award, as a producer of the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson. He also received an additional Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro in the series. Travolta is also a private pilot and owns four aircraft. He is the widower of actress Kelly Preston, whom he married in 1991.
[GR11]Universal Music Group (also known in the United States as UMG Recordings, Inc. and abbreviated as UMG) is an American global music corporation that is majority owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech company Tencent owning a minority stake. UMG’s global corporate headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California. The biggest music company in the world, it is one of the “Big Three” record labels, along with Sony Music and Warner Music Group. Ten percent of Universal Music Group was acquired by Tencent in March 2020 for US$3 billion.
In 2019, Fast Company named Universal Music Group the most innovative music company and listed UMG among the Top 50 most innovative companies in the world and “amid the music industry’s digital transformation, Universal is redefining what a modern label should look like.” UMG has signed licensing agreements with more than 400 platforms worldwide
[GR12]Deborah Anne Boone (born September 22, 1956) is an American singer, author, and actress. She is best known for her 1977 hit, “You Light Up My Life“, which spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and led to her winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist the following year. Boone later focused her music career on country music, resulting in the 1980 No. 1 country hit “Are You on the Road to Lovin’ Me Again“. In the 1980s, she recorded Christian music which garnered her four top 10 Contemporary Christian albums as well as two more Grammys. Throughout her career, Boone has appeared in several musical theater productions and has co-authored many children’s books with her husband Gabriel Ferrer.
[GR13]Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 is the second greatest hits album by Olivia Newton-John released on September 3, 1982. The album compiled most singles released by Newton-John since the release of her 1977 Olivia Newton-John’s Greatest Hits album from her following albums and soundtracks. The album included two new recordings; “Heart Attack” and “Tied Up“. Both songs were released as singles and reached number 3 and 38 on the pop charts, respectively. “Heart Attack” was a Number One single in France.
The album omitted some singles released by Newton-John during this period including songs from Grease (“Summer Nights“), Totally Hot (“Deeper Than the Night“, “Totally Hot”, “Dancin’ ‘Round and ‘Round”) and Physical (“Landslide“). The album also did not include “I Can’t Help It“, her duet with Andy Gibb from his After Dark album.
The album only climbed to No. 16 on the Billboard 200, but spent over 80 weeks on the chart and ultimately ranked as the No. 10 album of 1983. This was the longest charting album of Newton-John’s career and her first non-soundtrack album to rank in the year-end Top 10.
The album was released in the United Kingdom as Olivia’s Greatest Hits with a slightly different cover and a 19-track listing covering all of her major UK hits from If Not for You. It peaked at number 8 with a 38-week chart run. 150,000 were shipped in Canada initially.
The album was certified double Platinum by the RIAA in the US and Platinum in the UK.
[GR14]Grayson Hugh (born October 30, 1950) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, Hammond B3 organ player and composer. He is best known for his 1988 hit “Talk It Over”, and his other blue-eyed soul hits “Bring It All Back” and “How ‘Bout Us?”.
[GR15]Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 772 kilometres (480 mi) north of Sydney and 165 kilometres (103 mi) south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. At the 2016 census, the town had a permanent population of 9,246. It is the largest town of Byron Shire, though not the shire’s administrative centre (which is Mullumbimby).
The local Arakwal Aboriginal people’s name for the area is Cavvanbah, meaning “meeting place”. Lieutenant James Cook named Cape Byron after Royal Navy officer John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and grandfather of the poet Lord Byron
[GR16]Sordid Lives is a 2000 American independent romantic comedy film written and directed by Del Shores. The film is based on Shores’ play of the same name and includes elements of his life, according to the director’s DVD commentary. The film was followed by the 2008 television series Sordid Lives: The Series.
The original stage play premiered in Los Angeles on May 11, 1996, and ultimately won 14 Drama-Logue Awards. The film met with mixed reviews from mainstream audiences but became a cult classic with LGBT fans, particularly in the South. The movie tells the story of a Texas family coming together in the aftermath of the matriarch’s death. To keep the stories going, Viacom‘s new station Logo produced 12 episodes of Sordid Lives: The Series. The television version begins at a point before that covered in the film, with Rue McClanahan as the mother, Peggy Ingram. Many of the film cast returned, including Leslie Jordan and Olivia Newton-John. Caroline Rhea replaced Delta Burke, and Jason Dottley replaced Kirk Geiger as Ty Williamson, although Geiger reprised the role of Ty in the Sordid Lives sequel A Very Sordid Wedding in 2017, along with Bonnie Bedelia, Caroline Rhea, Dale Dickey, Leslie Jordan, Ann Walker, Emerson Collins, Whoopi Goldberg, and Katherine Bailess.
The television series began airing in July 2008. It ended after one season.
[GR17]Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization or Y-ME (previously Breast Cancer Network of Strength), was a Chicago-based national nonprofit organization with the mission to ensure, through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone. Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization did not fund research but did advocate for research. The organization closed in 2012.
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization’s headquarters was in Chicago, but it had support groups throughout the United States, which provided peer support, educational programs, and coordinated advocacy efforts.
Y-ME’s main program was the Y-ME Hotline, the only multilingual 24-hour breast cancer hotline in the country, staffed entirely by trained peer counsellors who are breast cancer survivors.
[GR18]Delta Lea Goodrem (born 9 November 1984) is an Australian singer, songwriter, and actress. Goodrem signed to Sony Music at the age of 15. Her debut album, Innocent Eyes (2003), topped the ARIA Albums Chart for 29 consecutive weeks. It is one of the highest-selling Australian albums and is the second-best-selling Australian album of all time with over four million copies sold.
Goodrem’s second album, Mistaken Identity (2004), was created while she was suffering from cancer. It became her second number-one album. In 2007, Goodrem released Delta, her third number-one album, which saw another number-one single, “In This Life“. Her fourth studio album, Child of the Universe (2012), produced the single “Sitting on Top of the World“. In 2016, her fifth album, Wings of the Wild, became her fourth number-one album on the ARIA Albums Chart, while giving her another number-one single, “Wings“.
Goodrem has a total of nine number-one singles and 17 top-ten hits on the ARIA Singles Chart. She has sold over eight million albums globally and overall has won three World Music Awards, 9 ARIA Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award and several other awards. She served as a coach on The Voice Australia from 2012 to 2013 and again from 2015 to 2020. She was reportedly paid A$2 million per season after negotiating an increase from her initial $800,000. She coached eventual winners of the show in season five in 2016 and again in season six in 2017.
[GR19]The opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics took place on the evening of Friday 15 September 2000 in Stadium Australia, Sydney, during which the Games were formally opened by Governor-General Sir William Deane. As mandated by the Olympic Charter, the proceedings combined the formal and ceremonial opening of this international sporting event, including welcoming speeches, hoisting of the flags and the parade of athletes, with an artistic spectacle to showcase the host nation’s culture and history. Veteran ceremonies director Ric Birch was the Director of Ceremonies while David Atkins was the Artistic Director and Producer. Its artistic section highlighted several aspects of Australian culture and history, showing Australia’s flora and fauna, technology, multiculturalism, and the hopeful moment of reconciliation towards Aboriginal Australians. The ceremony had a cast of 12,687 performers, seen by a stadium audience of around 110,000.
The ceremony began at 19:00 AEDT and lasted over four-and-a-half hours. Around 2.1 billion viewers worldwide watched the ceremony on TV.
The ceremony was described by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch as the most beautiful ceremony the world had ever seen. Consistent with normal major production management, the music was pre-recorded under studio conditions to ensure its quality.
The stadium’s French-language announcer was Pascale Ledeur, while the English-language announcer was Australian actor John Stanton.
[GR20]The 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival, (TIFF) was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between September 9 and September 19, 2010. The opening night gala presented Score: A Hockey Musical, a Canadian comedy-drama musical film. Last Night closed the festival on September 19.
The TIFF Bell Lightbox had its formal opening on September 12, 2010, during the festival. This shot was taken the day before the opening.
2010 TIFF included 258 feature films, down from 264 in 2009. However, the number of short films at the 2010 festival increased to 81 (compared to 70 in 2009), making the total number of films 339, five more than in 2009.
Of the feature films, TIFF claims that 112 are world premieres, 24 are international premieres (i.e. the first screening outside the film’s home country), and 98 are North American premieres. (In fact, some of the so-called premieres screened at the Telluride Film Festival before TIFF.)
[GR21]A Summer Night with Olivia Newton-John was the eighteenth concert tour by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, in support of her sixth soundtrack A Few Best Men. The tour name drifts from her 1978 hit, “Summer Nights“, from the musical film Grease. It is Newton-John largest tour since the Heartstrings World Tour, which runs from 2002 to 2005. It was her first tour in the United Kingdom in over 30 years.
[GR22]On June 1, 2008, a fire broke out on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, an American film studio and theme park in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County, California. The fire began when a worker used a blowtorch to warm asphalt shingles that were being applied to a facade. He left before checking that all spots had cooled, and a three-alarm fire broke out. Nine firefighters and a Los Angeles County sheriffs’ deputy sustained minor injuries. The fire was completely extinguished after 24 hours.
Universal Pictures claimed that the fire destroyed a three-acre (1.2 ha) portion of the Universal backlot, including the attraction King Kong Encounter and 40,000 to 50,000 archived digital video and film copies.
A 2019 New York Times Magazine exposé asserted that the fire also destroyed 118,000 to 175,000 audio master tapes belonging to Universal Music Group (UMG). This included original recordings belonging to some of the best-selling artists worldwide. UMG initially disputed the story, but CEO Lucian Grainge later confirmed that there had been a significant loss of musical archives
[GR23]Sciatica is pain going down the leg from the lower back. This pain may go down the back, outside, or front of the leg. Onset is often sudden following activities like heavy lifting, though gradual onset may also occur. The pain is often described as shooting. Typically, symptoms are only on one side of the body. Certain causes, however, may result in pain on both sides. Lower back pain is sometimes present. Weakness or numbness may occur in various parts of the affected leg and foot.
About 90% of sciatica is due to a spinal disc herniation pressing on one of the lumbar or sacral nerve roots. Spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, pelvic tumours, and pregnancy are other possible causes of sciatica. The straight-leg-raising test is often helpful in diagnosis. The test is positive if, when the leg is raised while a person is lying on their back, pain shoots below the knee. In most cases medical imaging is not needed. However, imaging may be obtained if bowel or bladder function is affected, there is significant loss of feeling or weakness, symptoms are long standing, or there is a concern for tumour or infection. Conditions that may present similarly are diseases of the hip and infections such as early shingles (prior to rash formation).
Initial treatment typically involves pain medications. However, evidence for pain medication and muscle relaxants is lacking. It is generally recommended that people continue with normal activity to the best of their abilities. Often all that is required for sciatica resolution is time; in about 90% of people symptoms resolve in less than six weeks. If the pain is severe and lasts for more than six weeks, surgery may be an option. While surgery often speeds pain improvement, its long term benefits are unclear. Surgery may be required if complications occur, such as loss of normal bowel or bladder function. Many treatments, including corticosteroids, gabapentin, pregabalin, acupuncture, heat or ice, and spinal manipulation, have limited or poor evidence for their use.
Depending on how it is defined, less than 1% to 40% of people have sciatica at some point in time. Sciatica is most common between the ages of 40 and 59, and men are more frequently affected than women. The condition has been known since ancient times. The first known use of the word sciatica dates from 1451
[GR24]The Totally Hot World Tour is the fourth concert tour by English-born Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John. It began in 1978 and lasted until December of that year, with shows in Japan, Australia and Europe during that time, as she supported her album Totally Hot.
[GR25]Summer Nights was a concert residency by Australian recording artist, Olivia Newton-John. The residency took place in the Donny & Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas. It began April 2014 and ended December 2016. Her three-year run even prompted a live album entitled Summer Nights: Live in Las Vegas (2015).