A Look Back at Olivia Newton-John's Most Memorable Songs

In honor of her iconic career spanning over five decades, take a look back at Newton-John's biggest music hits, including "Physical" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You"

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Olivia Newton-John's voice will forever live on.

The four-time Grammy winner and beloved star of the movie musical Grease died of breast cancer on Aug. 8 at the age of 73.

The British-Australian singer and actress' critically acclaimed career spanned across the stage and the screen, topping charts and nabbing awards for her work since the release of her first solo album in 1971.

Named If Not for You, her debut record's title track was Newton-John's first international hit. It was written by Bob Dylan and previously recorded by The Beatles' George Harrison for his album All Things Must Pass in 1970.

In 1973, Newton-John earned her first Grammy Award for her hit "Let Me Be There" in the best country vocal performance, female category.

For more on Olivia Newton-John, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

While the singer and actress saw much success in her solo musical career with chart toppers such as "Physical" and "I Honestly Love You," she also left a lasting impression on the world with her on-screen performances, including 1978's Grease and 1980's Xanadu.

In honor of her iconic career spanning over five decades, take a look back at Newton-John's most memorable songs.


Newton-John's chart-topping single "Physical" off her album of the same was released on Oct. 13, 1981 by MCA Records. Despite it being one of the most controversial and sexual records of her career, it was simultaneously her most successful.

She earned a Grammy nomination in the pop vocal performance category at the 24th annual award ceremony in 1982. The following year, the visual for the hit snagged the win in the video of the year category at the 25th annual Grammy Awards.

The "Physical" music video was released in 1981, the same year MTV aired its first-ever music video for the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." The same year, Newton-John began her 10-week run at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Furthermore, Billboard ranked it the top single of 1982.

"Hopelessly Devoted to You"

The Grease soundtrack was nominated for album of the year at the 21st annual Grammy Awards in 1979, while Newton-John's memorable vocals in "Hopelessly Devoted" snagged a nomination for best pop vocal performance.

The year prior, "Hopelessly Devoted to You" earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Her longtime musical collaborator, John Farrar, penned the track while Newton-John sang the vocals.

"I Honestly Love You"

Released in 1974, "I Honestly Love You" was Newton-John's first recorded single to hit No. 1 on the charts in the United States and Canada in 1974. The ballad, which was recognized as the singer's signature solo until the release of "Physical" in 1981, topped charts upon its release.

The following year, Newton-John was critically recognized for her work on the track. She earned multiple Grammy Award nominations, winning record of the year and best pop vocal performance.

"You're the One That I Want" with John Travolta

A fan-favorite on the Grease soundtrack, "You're the One That I Want" earned a nomination for best original song in a motion picture at the 35th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 1978. Farrar wrote the song, while Newton-John famously sang the duet with her costar John Travolta.

That same year, Newton-John was recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press for her unforgettable work in the musical film, receiving a nod for best performance by an actress in a motion picture comedy or musical.

"Let Me Be There"

Released in September 1973, "Let Me Be There" served as the second single from her studio album of the same name. The country song was Newton-John's first Top 10 single in the U.S., peaking at No. 6. It later gave her first Grammy Award as she took home best female country vocalist.

"If You Love Me Let Me Know"

"If You Love Me Let Me Know" was honored by the Country Music Association at the CMA Awards in 1974. The title track earned a nod for song of the year, while the album of the same name earned a nomination for album of the year.

Written by English songwriter John Rostill, the single was Newton-John's second release to hit the Top 10 in the United States. The track also climbed to the top of the Billboard chart the year of its release, remaining there the week of Oct. 12 in 1974.

"Have You Never Been Mellow"

"Have You Never Been Mellow" was featured on Newton-John's fifth studio album of the same name in 1975. The following year, she earned a Grammy nomination for her work on the track and was recognized in the best pop vocal performance category.

"Summer Nights" with John Travolta

"Summer Nights," written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is one of the many iconic songs featured on the Grease soundtrack. Newton-John and Travolta's were a perfect combination for what became 1978's song of the summer and a massive hit worldwide.

"Xanadu" with ELO

"Xanadu" is the title track from the 1980 film of the same name and was recorded by Newton-John in collaboration with English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

Written by the band's very own Jeff Lynne, the song peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard chart and hit the top spot in the UK, a milestone achievement for the band, as it was their only UK No. 1 single.


"Magic" was the lead single from the 1980 Xanadu soundtrack, recorded by Newton-John and written by Farrar. It spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart beginning in August 1980.

In addition to gracing charts, it earned critical acclaim as well. It was honored with a Grammy nomination for best pop vocal performance at the 23rd annual award ceremony in 1981.

Related Articles