Monday, August 8, 2022
– Pop singer Olivia Newton-John, who enjoyed great success on the country charts in the '70s, died today at 73.
Newton-John was known for her pop songs, but managed to make the country charts. She wracked up seven Top 10 hits on Billboard's Country chart. She first had success with "Let Me Be There," in 1973. The song was the title track of her album. She also had a hit with "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" in 1974.
She had two back-to-back chart toppers in 1974 and '75. "I Honestly Love You," a ballad penned by Peter Allen and Jeff Barry, was followed by "Have You Never Been Mellow," a light song written by the producer of many of her biggest albums, John Farrar.
"I Honestly Love You" also resulted in two Grammys for Newton-John - record of the year and best pop vocal performance, female.
Newton-John was also named the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 1974, defeating Nashville-based nominees Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker and Canadian artist Anne Murray.
Protests resulted leading to the formation of the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers. Newton-John was eventually supported by the country community. Stella Parton, Dolly's sister, recorded "Ode to Olivia." Newton-John recorded her 1976 album, Don't Stop Believin', in Nashville.
Newton-John also had top five country hits with "Please Mr. Please," "Come On Over" and "Let It Shine."
She was last on the country charts in 1989 with "Reach Out For Me."
Newton-John's husband, John Easterling, posted on Facebook, "Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family's privacy during this very difficult time."
"Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org)."
Newton-John also had an acting career with huge success as a lead role in "Grease," in which she starred with John Travolta. He posted on Instagram, "My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be
Your Danny, your John!"
Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England on Sept.26, 1948 and moved to Melbourne, Australia with her family when she was six. Newton-John played music as a youth and performed on Australian television. She later was part of a rock group Toomorrow that released a few singles. Newton-John eventually launched a solo career. Newton-John released her first solo album, "If Not for You," in 1971.
She also is survived by her daughter Chloe Lattanzi.