Image © ONJ Production, Ltd. 2007
(09 February 2008) Renowned musical artist Olivia Newton-John has released her new CD, Olivia's Live Hits in conjunction with her new DVD, Olivia Newton-John And The Sydney Symphony (Live At The Sydney Opera House). The CD has a collection of ten songs from the live performance featuring some of her greatest hits that everyone is familiar with. After a career spanning more than four decades, these popular hit songs are sung with more maturity and a slightly different spin. Olivia's vocals are still superb and have, in fact, improved with age. The orchestral backing by the Sydney Symphony is certainly a highlight.
Although enjoyable, the CD is merely thirty-eight minutes long, excerpted from a two hour long concert. The DVD has twenty-seven tracks, and it would have been much more exciting to have many more of those songs added to this very brief CD. However, Olivia's Live Hits does succeed very well in presenting a smattering of Olivia's talented vocals. She performs each song with heartfelt emotion, and these classics are sung with renewed vitality and interest.
Olivia has sold more than fifty million albums worldwide, has had more than ten number one hit singles, received numerous Grammy, American Music, Billboard, Country Music and People's Choice Awards, and an Emmy Award for songwriting. She has also starred in numerous television shows, specials and motion pictures including Grease and Xanadu, both of which are currently experiencing a revival as hits on Broadway. Her co-starring role with John Travolta in Grease catapulted Olivia into superstardom. "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and You're The One That I Want" have new life breathed into them on this album.
She performs three tracks from Xanadu that has wonderful flair and a genuine quality. "Physical" is sung with a more seductive, mature tone than the original 1981 version. This once upbeat poppy melody is now evolved into a sultry and slow rendition. She has a moving duet, “Suddenly,” which features a qualified backup singer assuming Cliff Richard’s original vocal. Her signature concert encore, "I Honestly Love You," never sounded better or more sincere.
Adored by millions of fans around the globe, Olivia's ongoing philanthropic efforts have remained a major focus as she continues to give back to the community through a variety of organizations. Among them is the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre, which will provide a comprehensive range of services and facilities for cancer treatment, education training and research, including a wellness center for the mind, body and spirit.
Also, she remains extremely active in the recording studio. She received critical acclaim for her 2006 release, Grace and Gratitude, for which Billboard magazine said, "Newton-John is soulfully committed to every word she sings, and fans will be taken with the plush arrangements, melodic warmth and, of course, the artist's regal vocals."
Olivia's Live Hits is a condensed career restrospective of her hits. The brevity of the CD does not subtract from her beautiful musical talent as well as the charisma
and allure of her singing. Although her voice has aged, Olivia continues to draw in the audience with her genuine vocals and positive vibes.--Audrey Elliot in New York