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Olivia Newton-John

Biography

Olivia Newton-John was in many ways the Doris Day of the 1970s. She radiated natural beauty in a clean, friendly way that comforted kids yet titillated their parents. Olivia Newton-John was an English girl raised in Australia whose career first took off in the U.K. when she became a regular feature of Cliff Richards' variety show. After enjoying a string of hits in Britain, Newton-John finally broke through to the American market with the Grammy-award winning "Let Me Be There." She moved to the U.S. and became a very successful country/ADCO vocalist in the Anne Murray mold (much to the consternation of the Nashville establishment, who enjoyed getting bested by an Aussie even less than by a Canadian). But by the time Grease made Newton-John a superstar, she had already successfully transitioned to MOR adult contemporary music. Newton-John entered the 1980s as a star beloved by the entire family but few fresh-faced singing actresses could survive cinematic bombs on the level of the roller disco fiasco Xanadu. This follow-up to Grease single-handedly capsized her movie career (and the short-lived resurgence of the movie musical) but it did sport an era-defining soundtrack and gave Olivia Newton-John a big summer single with "Magic" (a great collaboration with ELO). Newton-John wisely co-mingled sex and fitness for 1981's Physical, achieving both the biggest-selling album and single of her career in the process. Having reached the apex of her musical popularity, Olivia Newton-John slowly receded from the charts and spotlight over the years, although she has continued to record and perform sporadically. Though she successfully beat back cancer, Newton-John has been the victim of a rather innocuous suburban myth that she was once married to Elton John.
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