Posts Tagged ‘Flamingo Hotel’

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

helen olivia.JPG

It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

Olivia 2

In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling.png

Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

sl onj.JPG

If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2019

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts over the past few weeks.  This is it for a while again.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts diplomatically if we disagree.

Have a great weekend!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN LATEST

I’ll start off with some sad news, but I know she’s a fighter!

Pop music icon Olivia Newton-John tells “60 Minutes Australia” she’s not giving up the fight as she battles stage four cancer.

Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer back in 1992.

She overcame the disease, but it returned in 2013.  Olivia won that battle, too, and it was never made public.

However, the cancer returned in May 2017 and metastasized into her lower back.

This month, we learned that the cancer has advanced to Stage IV, which means it has spread to other organs and the mortality rate is higher.

If you click on this, you can hear just how courageous she is!

I’ve loved Olivia since the early-1970s as a little kid when she dominated country radio before crossing over to pop music.

I was so lucky to catch her during her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2014.

Olivia 2014

Olivia, you beautiful woman, stay strong and keep fighting!

Here’s Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi on their #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “You Have To Believe”, from 2015, with Dave Aude!

MY TWO CONNECTIONS TO PRINCESS DIANA

We’re coming up on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lady Diana

Of course, I remember the fairy tale wedding back in 1981 and the tragic news of her death in Paris, France, in 1997.

I was working at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas, as the weekend news anchor.  We led our 10 p.m Saturday newscast with the news of the car crash.  At that point, she was still alive or it hadn’t cross the wires that she had died.

However, just minutes after we said goodnight, the Associated Press reported that the Princess was dead!  We waited for CBS to break into programming.  They didn’t!

Finally, my co-anchor, Ny Lynn Nichols, and I went back on the air with the sad news.  We reported all that we knew at the time, which wasn’t much.  We re-ran the story from the newscast about the crash and gave updates for a few minutes as information came into our newsroom.

That was my first connection to Princess Diana.  So, if anyone was watching CBS in Lubbock, Texas, after the 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday, August 30, 1997, they saw Ny Lynn and I relaying the tragic news.

SARAH, THE DUCHESS OF YORK

My second connection to Princess Diana came many years later.

sarah ferguson.jpg

In March 2010, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (and Princess Diana’s former sister-in-law), came to the Quad Cities for a benefit for Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people fighting cancer.

The Duchess spoke to a crowd of more than 600 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

They had a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book, “Little Red to the Rescue”, and I won.

Sarah Duchess of York

Needless to say, it was so pretty cool to get not only an autographed book from the Duchess, but also a package addressed from Windsor Castle!

“A ROYAL DUTY”

As the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approached, I decided to read the two books on my bookshelf about her life (and death).

The first was “A Royal Duty” by Paul Burrell.

Paul Burrell Diana.JPG

This 2003 best seller chronicles Burrell’s life of working his way up through the ranks in British Royal Household to become Queen Elizabeth II’s footman.

Burrell then worked for Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, before working for Diana exclusively after the Royal separation and divorce up until her untimely death.

While I believe Burrell’s stories about his commitment to Princess Diana, I do think he was overly dramatic at times!

GRADE:  B 

“THE DIANA CHRONICLES”

Tina Brown, who worked for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, released “The Diana Chronicles” in the summer of 2007, a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

Diana Tina Brown.JPG

While I believe Burrell’s stories in his book, I think that he hid away the naughty and nasty side of Princess Diana.  We all have one!

Brown’s book is very comprehensive and easy to read.  It’s much more journalistic, thorough and fair (i.e. honest).  However, she could be catty!  Meow!

Although the front and back cover featured the same collage of photos of Princess Diana’s life, I really wish the book featured photos inside!

One thing that Brown talked about that intrigued me was Diana and Charles’s divorce settlement: a lump sum of £17 million (roughly $20.5 million) and £400,000 annually for Diana’s office (nearly one-half million dollars).

Also, Diana would lose the HRH (Her Royal Highness) title, but retain the Diana, Princess of Wales title.

GRADE:  A

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

If you follow the Royal Family and checked out the first two seasons of “The Crown” on Netflix with the amazing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, the next season is getting closer.

Season 3 with Oscar winner Olivia Colman as a more mature Queen Elizabeth II premieres on November 17, 2019!

“IS IT JUST ME?”

As I mentioned back in February, I’m going through my movie collection and I’m watching older ones to either get rid of or save.

So far, I’ve only kept two:  the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”) and the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”.

Now, a third one is saved — the 2010 romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?” with the sexy Nicholas Downs (Blaine) and David Loren (Xander).

Blaine is looking for a nice guy, but doesn’t think that they exist until he meets Xander online.

After chatting, they talk for hours on the phone.

The problem is that Blaine realizes his roommate, Cameron, an actor and go-go dancer, was logged into his computer and it was his profile they were chatting under.

So, while Xander is talking to Blaine, he thinks Blaine looks like Cameron!

This scene between Blaine and his friend Michelle is one that made me laugh (and I watched it over and over!) The other is the last scene in the movie trailer below. 🙂

Michelle Blaine Sarcasm.JPG

GRADE:  B

LET’S GO TO VEGAS

I’m finally heading back to Vegas this weekend.  I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend since they’ve never been.

As you may know, Vegas experienced a grasshopper invasion earlier this summer.

Grasshopper Las Vegas.JPG

There were so many grasshoppers in the air that it was detected on Doppler radar!

Vegas Radar Grasshopper.jpg

This was the most creative response to the creepy infestation! 😉

Grasshopper

It’d be pretty neat to experience them if they’re still around when we get there! 🙂

VEGAS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG

Since 2012, I’ve tried to get to Vegas every year, but I failed last year since I was moving to Duluth, Minnesota.

However, I had a great time there on my last visit in December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s magical “All I Want For Christmas” show…

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

met Lionel Richie…

Capture2

and saw one of my childhood favorites, Tanya Tucker!

Tanya

“NEW” WHITNEY HOUSTON ON THE RADIO

It’s been more than seven-and-a-half years since Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills, California hotel.

whitney-houston

Now, Whitney and Norwegian record producer Kygo are poised to have a big hit at Top 40 radio with a rework of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love”, one of my all-time favorites.

Whitney originally recorded the song for the Japanese version of her third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The new version is incredible!

“Higher Love” is already at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and at #43 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio airplay chart!

Whitney’s last Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was in the fall of 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks when “The Star Spangled Banner”, her 1991 recording, was re-released.  This time around, it reached #6.

Before that, her last original song to hit the Top 40 was in 2000 when “I Learned from the Best”, the fifth and final release from the “My Love is Your Love” album, hit #27.

Kygo’s 2016 album, “Cloud Nine”, is fantastic.  Check it out!

“THE LOUDEST VOICE”

This Showtime series about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, who sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives, was great.

Okay, the acting was great.  Watching Ailes’ creepiness of preying on women and forcing sex on them was disgusting.

In the series, Ailes blamed the left for all of America’s problems and gloated, “I’ve given the Silent Majority a voice” and that “we worship a Christian God”.

Yes, womanizer and rapist, worship that Christian God!

But, I have to hand it to Ailes for seeing a wide opening in television “news” that wasn’t catering to Republicans and the “religious right” and seizing the opportunity.

Give Russell Crowe his 2020 Emmy now and Roger Ailes, may you rot in hell!

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony