Olivia Newton-John‘s heartfelt mix of country and pop took the music industry by storm in the mid-1970s. The multi-talented artist died Monday (Aug. 8) at the age of 73, leaving behind an impressive list of hits that connected with fans of all ages.
Before she became a true pop sensation in the 1980s with hits like “Physical” and “Twist of Fate,” Newton-John released a string of tracks that helped her establish fame outside of the United Kingdom and Australia. The release of her 1973 track “Let Me Be There” sparked a new chapter for her career, thanks to a polished sound that appealed to both pop and country listeners. This era of success also earned pushback from some in the country music community who felt that artists like Newton-John, Glen Campbell and John Denver were straying too far from the genre’s earlier, more traditional-leaning sound.
Those doubters didn’t stop Newton-John from building her own fan-base and earning widespread critical acclaim — her rapid success quickly earned her the award for Most Promising Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards and a Grammy for Best Country Female, along with the title of Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1974 Country Music Association Awards.
The trajectory of her career shifted with the release of the hit movie musical Grease in 1978. The film’s soundtrack, which included hits like “You’re the One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” helped put her on the path to pop stardom. Let’s take a look back at the Olivia Newton-John’s pivotal early career and the 10 tracks that took country music by storm.