Olivia became a big hit not just in the U.S., but also Japan. She had already won over Japanese fans during her performance at the Tokyo Music Fair in 1971. She returned to the country in 1976 to promote her album, “Don’t Stop Believin.” Expectedly, she won legions of fans with her performance.
The 1976 concert was also released as a live album in Japan and called “Love Performance.” Olivia won a string of Grammys for her music.
In 1975, Olivia left the UK for America, where she immediately began working on her next album release, “Have You Never Been Mellow.” The album did exceedingly well and received acclaim from all quarters. The title track charted at No. 1, and the second single, “Please Mr. Please,” peaked at No. 3. She didn’t know it then, but this was the start of a career role in the United States.
Olivia would release several gold albums, effectively becoming America’s golden girl. She appeared regularly on shows such as “The Midnight Special” (1972 - 1981) and even had her own ABC TV special, “A Very Special Olivia Newton-John”(1976).
The Olivia Appeal
The British-Australian star captured hearts and popular culture in the United States. Olivia was your charming, quintessential girl next door. The word “angelic” was common whenever anyone described her. Olivia’s soft delivery of beautiful ballads and country songs won her millions of fans.
She released many more albums during this time: including “Clearly Love” (1975), “Come On Over” (1976), “Don’t Stop Believin” (1976), and “Making A Good Thing Better” (1977). She went on tour in the U.S. with the album “Clearly Love.”
Her Passion For Animals
Olivia eventually moved to a ranch in the mountains in Malibu for some much-needed downtime. One of her childhood dreams was to keep many dogs and horses – a dream she could now fulfill in her new home. The star was known for her passion for animal welfare. Her dedication to the cause often spilled over into her professional commitments.
Reports say she refused to tour Japan unless the country took steps to amend cruel tuna fishing practices. She advocated reducing the needless slaughter of other marine life caught in the fishing nets.
The Search For “Sandy”
Olivia seemed at the peak of her music career. Her albums and singles were consistent hits, and she raked in the awards with seemingly little effort. Around this time, a Los Angeles producer was looking for a female lead to star opposite John Travolta.
The role was for a film adaptation of the musical “Grease.” Olivia got the call to star in the movie. The first step was a screen test featuring the now-iconic drive-in scene. Olivia wowed the producers, and the rest is history.