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Olivia Newton-John was the embodiment of the best summer of our lives, the endless summer days

I fell in love with Olivia Newton-John when I was six and watched wrapped in a blanket on the hood of my Chevrolet Malibu. The 20th time I sawGrease was in the summer of 1979, after a day at work I headed to the drive-in. I never asked her parents why they wanted to see it again and again. (It wasn't until college that my parents probably realized I hadn't seen them at all. But I did.) Armed with drive-in chimichangas and Cokes, I fell madly in love with Sandy — part of the movie a lot from the beginning, and a little bit from the end. In a Freudian sense, she was one Madonna and one whore, an expression of tenderness and an expression of the forbidden.

Of course, I can't explain for sure, but Olivia Newton-John played a big part in developing my object selection. As her booming Carpenters contemporaries on her radio in the 70s, such as "Have You Never Been Mellow" and "I Really Love", she had her big break with "Physical" on her FM broadcast in 1981. . Its lyrics, which feature a still angelic-looking Newton-John writhing amid acres of beefcake, had begun controversially even before her music video. It burned down MTV and was a year ahead of Jane Fonda's era-defining workout tape — not to mention her Grease John Travolta co-star Fitness Club Movies Complete Full Four Years — A Father's Body, Urgent, Tactile, Erotic Newton-John's urge to transform into a hard body through unwavering image spandex.

This video became the prototype for Plastic Her Fantastic for a decade. The song was aimed at Tina Turner, but she didn't think it suited her personality. For her part, Newton-John tried to remove it from the album at the 11th hour because it was so far from her family-friendly sanity that she had carefully nurtured, but she said she was already on her way to a breakthrough. was broken. strike. She says she wanted to set it in a club to offset the film's impact on her sex, but I think it's the other way around. Now mostly forgotten, the video ends with beautiful men pairing up with each other, but not Newton-John. Also great. Her final partner in the work isn't a paragon of perfection, but a shrub like you and me. Her brand was kindness.

Born in England and raised in Melbourne, she played several games in England in the early 70's before scoring for the United States in 1973 with "Let Me Be There". I skipped a hit. Grammy Award for Best Her Country Vocal Performance (As you can imagine, this didn't sit well with the Nashville establishment). Newton-John has proven an enduring talent, but her voice (strangely like Spice Girl Emma Bunton, who carries Newton-John's torch as a solo artist) is an adult contemporary / was perfectly suited for the country crossover space. I think her awkwardness in being neither a talented dancer nor a performer has a lot to do with her success. She seemed friendly. She's neither maternally like Anne Murray, nor vaguely alien like Karen Carpenter, but the sort of silly girl who might actually speak to you.

It made her a perfect match for Sandy in Grease. The exchange student is confused by being ghosted by John. Travolta's Danny and finally his transformation into a gum-banging, stiletto-wearing leather cat-like vamp is a true surprise and fetishized va va voom It’s a real dose, rounding out an almost innocent musical teenage romp. (The "Hit Me Baby One More Time"-era Britney Spears played the same kind of illicit sexuality, albeit in a much more direct way. This was the appeal of Olivia Newton-John, up to the point when John attempted to become more openly sexual in her music, devastating the illicit part of the deal in the process. Our attraction to her is her joy.Her total lack of sarcasm.We are totally oblivious to her cuteness.We cherished her.I had her in my childhood dreams. When I was a Chinese boy in Colorado in the 1970s, I wanted to be Luke Skywalker and date Sandy.

Her first film role was inTomorrow Row (1970 ) as a music producer, one of its producers. Completely disowned by the legendary Don Kirshner of .Never had an American theatrical release, the film is a tale of civilization perishing without the nourishment provided by the band's groovy tunes. It revolves around a struggling band for the attention of an alien who ends up with Guest being held off the film's distribution because it's underfunded and not paid to anyone. In essence, this "lost" film has been legally lost for decades, and although it can now be seen in an imperfect transfer, it's well worth it.

Olivia Newton-John is very impressed with Livvy, the backup/lead vocalist of the band Save the Earth. Head (Kirshner is the manager of the Monkees) and Rock N Roll High School. Like Cross, some weird psychedelic sci-fi elements, wide It's a Scooby-Doo/Partridge family comedy, complete with some rocking Her Time musical numbers. In her first five minutes of the film, Livvy makes her way through a crowded apartment, making tea for everyone, including a girl one of her band members had hidden in her wardrobe. Newton-John is like a ray of sunshine in every scene she appears in. It's the motor that drives the engine, incredibly energetic and charmingly loud. Her performance at the end of the rousing "If You Can't Be Heard, You Can't Be Happy" is her time capsule of the mod era. Her glory in her youth is reminiscent of many of her sequences in her last concert at. Streets of Fire

Due to the failure of Tomorrow, ironically Newton John } Before Grease , the hit recording artist spent several more years crossing over to film, even if only briefly, as she became our collective inamorata. allowed. Grease had a massive soundtrack, including the chart-topping "You're the One That I Want" and the standard "Desperately Dedicated." To you",, "Summer night". To capitalize on that success, Travolta and Newton-John released her 1979 album, Totally Hot. This was also a big hit, leading to the legendary Camp Curio/Debacle movie of 1980 XanaduLarry Gordon in the recent Walter Hill Warriorsmovie starring Michael Beck), the hapless freelance artist turns to roller-skating muse Kira ( Newton John) and sent off Mount Olympus to inspire Beck's shrub, Sonny, to join forces with the Old Man. Hoofer Danny (Gene Kelly's last screen performance) opened a nightclub in the old Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. It bombed spectacularly, but the soundtrack went double platinum and peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts. 

Xanadu It's easy to ridicule the remnants of the disco era, but it's I totally understand Olivia Newton-John's graceful persona. On screen, she was ambitious. Everlastingly fresh and bright, her energy is so balm that Michelangelo (as one of her previous clients Kira was named) in the Sistine Chapel or, you know, Sonny and Danny. opened an all-genre nightclub with spinning platforms, miles of neon and polyester, and a giant disco ball. Early in the film, Kira and Sunny rollerskate through an abandoned warehouse to the tune of Newton-John and Cliff Richards' "Suddly" in an atmosphere of forced contrived, elaborate sets and on-camera scenes. An overview of all eras of screen musicals through the mechanical rain effects of .Not only is it reminiscent of many fourth-wall breaking Singin' in the Rain, but it also serves as a romantic fantasy of puppy love .

The only love Newton-John felt was that of a puppy Right Just like Julie Andrews, like Andrews, like Doris Day, she was barged into the role with absolutely no means of escaping it. It was so limited that she only made her one film in her 1980s. God (voiced by Gene Hackman) decides that he intends to destroy the planet unless four angels (including Charles Durning and Scatman Crothers) convince him that humanity is worth saving. increase. Proof of their premise is Zack (John Travolta), a failed inventor and reluctant bank robber, and if mobster Stuart (the great Richard Bright) can't come up with money and speed, he'll be the one to do it. he gets banged Her teller he knocked over was Debbie (Newton-John), who overcame her fear long enough to laugh at Zack's incompetence. 172} However, she does not substitute the money she is supposed to give to her receipts and deposit slips, and it is not very nice of her to keep the money for herself. See, I know this movie sucks, but I love it anyway. Travolta and Newton-John have an obvious chemistry. The chemistry of cinema, not the chemistry of sex. While fixing the doorknob, Travolta says, "You have to hold the nut while you tighten the screw," which is no prank. But they are the same kind of longing energy. She is Audrey Hepburn, born 20 years after her. Two of a Kind is not Roman HolidayJohn is Hollywood Must be an old personality and shut down before she started. Grease is a throwback to the golden age of musical cinema — Gene Kelly is the same relic — folks, Newton John only as something I think you recognized the meaning from another reality, but what do you do with that knowledge?

TWO OF A KIND, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, 1983
Photo: Everett Collection

No performer appears in record store bargain bins more commonly than Manilow, Gordon Lightfoot, and Olivia Newton-John)Newton-John was a mother and a big press She turned her attention to surviving her battle with breast cancer and becoming a vocal advocate for cancer charities. She was a resident at the Flamingo in Las Vegas from her April 2014 to her December 2016, but I couldn't save the money to make the timing. She remains in my imagination as a performer who is more important than anything else to our understanding of ourselves and the world.

Later in life, when her cancer recurred three times, she said in an interview that when she wanted cookies and glasses He shared how he dealt with the news because "the joys of life and everyday life must be part of the healing process." She only voiced the elements she brought to the screen in her too few appearances. She reminded me of possibilities. It reminded me of the explosive euphoria of first love and how these dream girls could also be your dream girls. She was the opposite of sarcasm. She could pull off her roller-skating muse as easily as a teenager in a poodle skirt, and the still-glamorous Gene Kelly with USO girls in WWII-era soft shoes. I was also able to duet with a nice dotage. She was a charter member of My Dream Life and her death is very unacceptable. Olivia Newton-John is the best endless summer day of our lives. She is some of my best childhood memories with my parents. I can never pull her away from it. she was great.

Walter Chaw wrote that thefilmfreakcentral. Senior film critic for net.His book on Walter Hill's films with an introduction by James Ellroy is available now. For pre-orderhis monograph on the 1988 film MIRACLE MILE is available now.