Olivia Newton-John was born in England, raised in Australia, and debuted in the U.S. Top 40 in 1971 with her country version of Bob Dylan’s “If Not for You,” a song which was included on Dylan’s New Morning and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass albums late in the prior year. Newton-John’s country sound continued with her first two Top 10 gold singles “Let Me Be There” and “If You Love Me (Let Me Know).” Her next single broke from her country beginnings and became her first No. 1 hit, “I Honestly Love You,” which won a Grammy for Record of the Year. Its flip side, “Home Ain’t Home Anymore,” which originally appeared on her If You Love Me, Let Me Know album, was tender with a slight country touch.
Fabulous Flip Side: Home Ain’t Home Anymore
A side: I Honestly Love You
Hot 100 Singles chart debut: August 17, 1974
Peak position: No. 1
A pair of gold singles followed in 1975, “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “Please Mr. Please,” with its flip side “And in the Morning” showcasing Newton-John’s soft sophistication and range.
Fabulous Flip Side: And in the Morning
A side: Please Mr. Please
Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart debut: June 7, 1975
Peak position: No. 3
In 1978, Olivia Newton-John achieved huge film success as Sandy in the motion picture version of the musical Grease. John Farrar, who wrote “Have You Never Been Mellow” composed a pair of new songs for the movie and soundtrack including her first platinum single, “You’re the One That I Want,” a duet with her film co-star John Travolta, and the gold single “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” “Summer Nights” from the movie was her next gold single, joined by Travolta and other cast members.
After a successful summer of Grease, Newton-John’s Totally Hot album followed that fall, wearing her leather Grease jacket and similar slacks on the album cover, and containing her next gold single, “A Little More Love.” Two more charting singles from this successful album followed beginning with “Deeper Than the Night,” with the opening song from the album on the single’s flip side, “Please Don’t Keep Me Waiting,” a dance number where Newton-John vocally matched the high notes of the instruments.
Fabulous Flip Side: Please Don’t Keep Me Waiting
A side: Deeper Than the Night
Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart debut: April 14, 1979
Peak position: No. 11
The album’s title tune “Totally Hot” followed as the next single, with the beautifully melodic “Dancin’ ‘Round and ‘Round” as its flip side, written by Adam Mitchell.
Fabulous Flip Side: Dancin’ ‘Round and ‘Round
A side: Totally Hot
Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart debut: July 28, 1979
Flip side debut: September 22, 1979
Flip side peak position: No. 82
In 1980, Olivia Newton-John was in the film Xanadu and from the film, “Magic,” written by John Farrar, was her next gold single. The following year, she achieved her biggest hit with the platinum single “Physical” spending 10 weeks at No. 1 and becoming the biggest single of 1981.
In 1983, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were back together in the film Two of a Kind, featuring the up-tempo hit “Twist of Fate.” Newton-John was joined by Travolta on the flip side for the gentle duet “Take a Chance,” which she co-wrote with David Foster and Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather.
Fabulous Flip Side: Take a Chance
A side: Twist of Fate
Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart debut: November 5, 1983
Peak position: No. 5
“Take A Chance” was Olivia Newton-John’s final Top 10 single. After battling cancer for many years, Newton-John passed away August 8 at age 73.
Goldmine Fabulous Flip Sides now in its seventh year