In 1978, we used to dance around the living room with our brother singing the songs from “Grease,” starring John Travolta and Miss Olivia Newton John. Strains of “You’re the One That I Want,” “Summer Lovin’” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” rang out from our house for months on end. While our somewhat thin singing voices were proof we would never be Olivia, we vowed one day to see her in concert.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago when a press invite showed up in our inbox with those three magic words “Olivia Newton John” in the subject. We were so excited, we hit send on the RSVP without thoroughly reading the email.
So, when we arrived in Malibu at the concert, we were not quite prepared for what was in store. Instead of pop hits like “Physical,” Have You Ever Been Mellow” and “Let Me Be There,” we were treated to gorgeous three-part harmonies, hauntingly sad melodies, heart-wrenching stories and inspiring songs about loss, grief and healing. Having just lost our dad several months ago, the evening was cathartic to say the least.
In 2016, Olivia teamed with songwriters and performers Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky. The three had each suffered significant losses and bonded over forging a path to moving forward with life while trying to fill that huge void. Together they wrote an album full of songs called “Liv On” to send out a message of compassion and hope for anyone grieving or recovering from a loss.
While we didn’t hear Olivia belt out any songs from “Grease” that night, we left the theater feeling much more fulfilled. But, don’t worry, our young preteen selves didn't leave the hall disappointed. At the very end of the evening, she did sing our favorite Olivia song “I Honestly Love You.”
Needless to say, we are still hopelessly devoted to Olivia.