Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s not been the greatest 7 days in the world of celebrities surviving until the end of the week.

I have a nasty feeling that I’ve forgotten someone, but we lost actor Anne Heche (I’m not overly familiar with her work, but she’s bloody great in Donnie Brasco); one third of the legendary Holland/Dozier/Holland song-writing and production team, Lamont Dozier, and at least one other person I’m going to kick myself for forgetting shortly after I posted this.

And Olivia Newton-John.

For many, she will always be Sandy in the 1978 smasheroo movie Grease, a film which I have to begrudgingly admit has some popular tunes. But when it comes to the plot of the film, I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with an ex-Arsenal player:

He’s (w)right, of course. Olivia’s role in Grease is not a great role model in these times. Can you imagine Grease being made today? It simply wouldn’t happen, not in the same way as it did back in 1978. Now, Danny would have to learn to appreciate Sandy for who she is, rather than how she dresses. And I say that’s good progress.

None of which is Olivia’s fault, of course.

Grease spawned a whole load of hit singles, and monopolised the top of the charts for a good chunk of the late 70s. I was going to post Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker’s godawful version of You’re The One That I Want now, but it seems disrespectful.

But Olivia had a decent career either side of Grease, popping up in the early 80s collaborating with ELO on the theme tune to Xanadu, before cashing in on her sex-bomb, good-girl-turned-bad persona with Physical in 1981, the video for which probably had thousands of pubescent boys reaching for the tissues.

Pre-Grease, though, she was the sweet smiling innocent looking singer, and she carved a career out of releasing great pop singles and had seven Top Ten Billboard Hot Country singles, mostly cover versions, and such is this morning’s choice: a cover of a clean-living John Denver track by a clean-living Country gal, which she almost manages to infuse with a gospel sound at the start:

Olivia Newton-John – Take Me Home Country Roads

R.I.P. Lovely Livvy.

More soon.