Music | Olivia Newton-John

Hopelessly Devoted To You, Olivia

Thank you, Olivia Newton-John

Bert Verhoeff / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Isn’t it strange how some music artists seem like family, and when the news of their passing away reaches us, it feels like physical pain — and sometimes hurts more than a family member’s passing?

I’ve felt that way about many artists and today, waking up to the news of Olivia Newton-John’s death really hurt.

Just yesterday, I was listening to “Magic” with my son and reminiscing about the first song I ever heard by ONJ.

1980. I was between cities — as in, a dilemma over where I’d settle — in between my college admissions. My grandma had moved to Madras and wanted me to go with her. But I wanted to stay in the city where I’d done my high schooling. In any case, amidst the arguing at home and the unwillingness of those I relied on to support me, I was going around submitting applications. I walked a lot, just to stay away from home, occasionally visiting friends. Around that time, afriend of mine was excited about an artist and told me that her brother had gotten her an audiotape of a new song titled Magic.


Needless to say, I was mesmerized.

Those were the days of borrowed tapes because we could never afford them. The days when we relied on a weekly magazine — The Sun — that we could read at the library that included the lyrics to one song, among other music news. My family did not believe in pocket money except for an emergency, tucked away safely, hopefully never to be spent.

The tape also had a duet with the beloved Andy Gibb 💜 titled “Rest your love on me” What a gorgeous song!

Until then, my “western” pop music exposure had predominantly been the Bee Gees (thanks to Saturday Night Fever), ABBA, Boney M, Cliff Richard, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, The Beatles, and a few more artists — all on vinyl. (Yep, still have my vinyl record player and records!)


These two songs would play over and over in my head as I wandered, often aimlessly, even as I waited for the final decision on my college. I recall also being rather miserable over a puppy-love breakup. You know, the ones we think are The One and beat ourselves up, thinking we’re good for nothing because they rejected us, knowing pretty well that this won't be the last time and that we will be over it in a week, at most. Usually.

I think it was the mood of those songs; one, a love song. And the other, pure encouragement — yes, I believed I was magic, eventually.

She was my 3 am friend who kept me company through the nights as I caught up with my college work backlog, one hand sketching in my zoology and botany records and the other, holding the radio station, Radio Australia with Charles Darwin (Darling??!) as he played the top tens of the day.

I was excited to “meet” Olivia in 1982 when the movie Grease came to a theater near me. I was a second-year B.Sc. student. Had moved to Madras (Chennai was still Madras, then — and will always be, to me) and was excited when a group of us skipped class and went for the 3 pm show.

I wanted to include the original song from Grease, but this seemed so much more fun — lifelong friends jamming, decades later.


I remember coming out of the theater feeling as if I was walking on air. The music, the movie, (and John Travolta) — all of it felt fabulous. I was in love with Sandy, most of all. What a presence! What a smile!

I read that Olivia and John have remained friends and that makes me feel so happy.

From John Travolta’s Instagram feed

I had chills, they were multiplying’

A few months later, my cousin gifted me a Sony walkman (still have it) and the first thing I did was go to the sleazy part of the music aftermarket and buy her music.

I enjoyed the sound of her gorgeous voice and lyrics in my ears on my long 2-hour journeys to college, then later to work. I could recite them, I could sing them.


My playlist had Physical, Hopelessly devoted to you, Suddenly (with Cliff Richard), Twist of Fate, Summer nights, Rest your love on me and of course, Magic. These songs were a happy bunch of earworms constantly partying in my head.


Decades later, I still listen to these songs because they’re filled with fond memories.

I will miss you, Olivia. ❤ I admire you for facing life with all the challenges it threw at you. The 80s was a defining decade in my life and you had a major role in keeping me inspired with your lovely lyrics and voice. Thank you for leaving behind the immortal legacy of your music. You will always have a special place in my heart.

Enjoy this lovely post from The Guardian: Olivia Newton-John: a life and career in pictures ❤

The one that we want

Australian singer Olivia Newton-John had a brilliant career selling over 100 million albums. At 15, she won a local TV talent show and her first recording contract that took her to London.

The world became hopelessly devoted to her when she appeared in the blockbuster hit movie Grease in 1978.

In a cruel Twist of Fate, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She recovered, however, and went on to become an advocate for breast cancer research, setting up The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre in Melbourne.

Rest in peace, Olivia, you made a difference and we’re hopelessly devoted to you!



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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit: