Posts Tagged ‘Sordid Lives’

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

Celebrating Valentine’s Weekend With A Quick Snow Update

UPDATE POST:  SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2014, 6:08 p.m.

Officially, 1.4″ of snow has fallen in the Quad Cities through 6 p.m.

This is now one of the ten snowiest winters on record!  (See the updated graphic below.)

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2014, 9:09 a.m.

It’s the weekend and I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day with my family today, so I wish you a nice weekend, too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This picture is actually from two years ago, but we’re having another one of those heart-shaped ice cream cakes (strawberry) and Papa Murphy’s pizza (one Mediterranean with chicken and the other sausage).

I’m also going to show my sister, Tammy, the movie, “Sordid Lives” and have a few laughs.  It’s a “black comedy about white trash”!  (And, no, Gretel will not be watching it!  That’s your cue that it’s not PG-13 when you watch the trailer!)

1-1-2

With that being said, here’s your simple “no questions asked, no questions answered” weather update.

A six-hour window of snow this afternoon and evening will accumulate about 1-3″ with isolated 4″ far north.

Snow Today

This is now the 15th snowiest winter on record in the Quad Cities even before today’s snow arrives!

Snow Update 021414

An inch of snow today will make this the 10th snowiest winter on record!

A very messy situation is likely after bedtime Sunday night into Monday.  I’ll have a full blog tomorrow morning with all of the information on that.

This system could bring accumulating snow or ice before we finally warm up into the 40s next week with rain by the end of the week!

Enjoy your weekend and check back in tomorrow for more on Sunday night and Monday’s ice and snow potential.

Anthony

I’m Still Hopelessly Devoted To Olivia

As winter drags on, I’m definitely thinking of “Summer Nights”, but I’m not waiting until June, July, and August to experience them!

After 28 below zero mornings (-22° was the coldest) and 45.8″ of snow in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa, I’m making plans to head to the desert.

Las Vegas

In late May, in Las Vegas, the average high temperature is 94° and the record highs are between 104°-109°.  And, who better to spend “Summer Nights” with (other than Ray), but the international superstar that sang that song in “Grease” with John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John.

Last week, Olivia announced that she would be playing 45 shows between April and August of this year at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip.

Olivia 2

The second I heard that, I started planning.  Two weeks before the announcement, I had blogged that I wanted to see Olivia in concert this year, “if she tours”.  Well, she may not be taking the show on the road, but there are planes that fly to Vegas, so we’re on our way!

After the last Riverfront Pops concert, I recommended to the Quad City Symphony Orchestra to get Olivia for the 2014 fall show since she has performed beautifully with the Sydney (Australia) Symphony.

Olivia

I came close to seeing Olivia when she performed at the Northalsted Market Days in Chicago in 2012, but I had a previous engagement on the other side of Iowa, and couldn’t make it.  But, that’s history because I’ll be seeing Olivia on May 30th.

I’ve been a huge fan from the first time I heard “Let Me Be There” in 1973, as an 8-year-old listening to my country music on WNGO, AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

While that was the first time I had heard of Olivia, she scored her first pop hit, “If Not For You” in 1971.  It reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

From that first hit in 1971 to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), Olivia charted with 27 Top 40 hits.  Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten (she’s tied for seventh place amongst female singers with the most Top Ten hits on the Hot 100).

Olivia 1

Olivia had five of those smashes to 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 becoming her biggest hit.

In today’s blog, my tribute to the stunningly gorgeous Olivia, I’m sharing some of my favorite songs and a couple of anecdotes to take you down memory lane.

PleaseMr_Please

“Please Mr. Please” became Olivia’s fifth consecutive Top Ten hit on both the country and pop charts.  It reached #5 country and #3 pop (following her first two #1 hits).

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $395 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted, 13-year-old 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 a cigarette!  I’m no longer naive! 🙂

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.

Not too long ago, I watched “Xanadu” again and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like yourself was very isolating.  While there was never a thought of falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things back then, the release of “Physical” and its erotic (and homoerotic) video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope.

Another feel good song that stops me when I come across it is “Make A Move On Me”.

Sordid Lives

In 2000, Olivia starred in Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives” as Bitsy Mae Harling, a bar singer with a “reputation”!  She reprised her role in the 2008 miniseries for Logo.

If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash comedy”, 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 ending credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

I’ll close with a live performance of Olivia with her first Top Ten hit from 1973, “Let Me Be There”.

I have a confession to make.  As an 8-year-old, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John!

Now, by chance, if I got to meet Olivia that night, I won’t share that story!

Anthony