I saw Grease when it came out. I was no older than 7. I went with my sister. We were living in Elkins, WV at the time. That was the first time I saw Olivia Newton-John.
Now, Newton-John was never a celebrity crush of mine; I was slightly too young for that kind of thing. But come to that…Goldie Hawn and Foul Play were to come very soon thereafter, so…I dunno. Maybe I thrown off the scent by the fact that Newton-John was a teenager in the movie, and I wasn’t sophisticated enough to notice a bunch of people in their late-20s playing teenagers.
I also wasn’t sophisticated enough to get any of Grease‘s risque humor. Years later I would be dating The Girlfriend (now The Wife), and she would tell me that she wasn’t allowed to see Grease until she was in high school because of how dirty it was! Now, at that point I hadn’t watched Grease all the way through since grade school, so I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. We eventually did watch it–it’s become a favorite of ours–and yes, it’s loaded with some pretty risque (if still safely PG, as 1970s PG-material goes) stuff. But when I was seven? Lines like “I feel like a defective typewriter. I missed a period” went right over my head. All I saw was something that looked like kind of a Happy Days episode with songs in it.
But anyway, Olivia Newton-John…I always knew she had a killer voice which was an incredibly versatile instrument. She could do the “belter” thing, or she could be tender and plaintive…sometimes in the same song. And testimonials about Newton-John down through the years seem to have done nothing but bolster her image of being a genuinely nice person whom everyone loved.
I celebrate Olivia Newton-John, along with a few others, every year on September 26, because we share that as a birthday. I’m sad, though, that Olivia Newton-John is now gone, taken by the cancer she so ably battled.
Her movies and songs remain, though. We can return to them any time we wish. Maybe that makes us…hopefully devoted.
Here’s Olivia Newton-John.