Olivia Newton-John is a musical icon and one of our all-time greatest allies. For more than forty years she’s been brightening our lives with her talent and positivity, and crossed genres from country and pop to disco and beyond.
Below, we shine a light on her musical oeuvre with a ranking of 70 of Olivia Newton-John’s best songs.
70. EVERY FACE TELLS A STORY (1976)
Let’s start things off with a nod to ONJ’s country origins. The album Don’t Stop Believing was her first to be recorded in Nashville and peaked at Number 7 on the U.S. Country charts. “Every Face Tells a Story” ended her streak of seven consecutive Number One hits on the Adult Contemporary chart (which started with 1974’s “I Honestly Love You”) it still cracked the Top 10.
Originally written by Michael Allison and Peter Sills for Newton-John’s friend Cliff Richard, the song originally had lyrics about Jesus and religious. Don Black rewrote the lyrics completely for a more secular appeal.
69. JOLENE (1976)
This cover of Dolly Parton’s woman-scorned anthem appeared on Come on Over, and was performed by Olivia frequently in concert. It was only released as a single in Japan, where it peaked at Number 11 on the Oricon Singles Chart.
68. HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS (1980)
The opening song to Olivia’s 1980 TV special brings a disco spin to Bob Seger’s “Hollywood Nights.” She looks fantastic in a pink fringe bodysuit (no easy feat), surrounded by glitter, lame’, spandex, and flamboyant dancers.
67. I HONESTLY LOVE YOU (1998)
For her first studio album in years, Olivia came Back With A Heart, and with producing (and vocal) help from Babyface, released this remake of one of her iconic hits. It peaked at #67 on the chart, becoming her highest charting song in a decade.
66. PHYSICAL (2010)
Speaking of remakes, in 2010 Olivia teamed up with Sue Sylvester and some hot guys for an autotuned tongue-in-cheek hot mess. But it brought Olivia back to the Hot 100 for the first time in 12 years, peaking at #89.
65. RECOVERY (1981)
An overlooked gem from Physical, the biggest selling studio album of her career.
64. SLOW BURN (2008)
Olivia played the unjustly incarcerated lesbian Bitsy Mae in Sordid Lives and the prequel TV series. Here she sings a love song to Glyndora (the fab Dale Dickey)
63. BANKS OF THE OHIO (1971)
ONJ’s second single was a remake of a classic murder ballad. It flopped on the U.S. pop charts, but was a huge hit in the UK, where it reached Number 6.
62. TOTALLY HOT (1979)
The title track from Olivia’s first post-Grease album, “Hot” showed off her new definitely non-country sound and look.
61. NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO (1994)
Olivia’s self-penned album Gaia: One Woman’s Journey was one of the most critically acclaimed of her career, and featured this snappy single.
60. THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (2000)
Olivia’s first holiday album, Tis The Season, featured duets with Vince Gill, and the opener was a warm and affectionate classic cover.
59. RIGHT HERE WITH YOU (2008)
ONJ released her second album of duets, A Celebration In Song, in 2008. It featured this stirring duet with fellow cancer survivor Delta Goodrem.
58. CULTURE SHOCK (1985)
em>Soul Kiss was Olivia’s most critically maligned album, but it’s also my favorite. Slick, sexy, and campy at times, it shouldn’t be dismissed. The gloriously schlocky “Culture Shock” is a medium-tempo track about a polyamorous relationship. “I know it’s unconventional, radical but practical/Why can’t the three of us live together?”
What would Sandy say?
57. STRONGER THAN BEFORE (2005)
The title track from Olivia’s album of songs of inspiration for survivors of breast cancer, “Stronger” is a powerful testament to the power of positivity.
56. LET IT SHINE (1975)
Olivia had another huge hit with “Shine” on the country and AC charts, but it didn’t perform as well on the pop chart.
55. BROKEN WINGS (2014)
In 2014, Olivia released the five-song EP The Hotel Sessions, recorded over nine years in hotel rooms she stayed in while on tour. Included is this finely crafted remake of the Mr. Mister hit from 1985.
54. SOMETHING BETTER TO DO (1975)
After five consecutive Top Ten hits on the pop and country charts, Olivia missed the cut with this chipper number. But it was another Number One smash on the Adult Contemporary scene.
53. IT’S ALWAYS AUSTRALIA FOR ME (1988)
Released for the Australian Bicentenary in 1988, “Always Australia” was featured on the Australian version of her 1988 album The Rumour
52. EMOTIONAL TANGLE (1985)
This fragile ballad is another unfairly overlooked release from Soul Kiss.
51. YOU LOOK LIKE A DICK TO ME (2008)
Olivia reprised her role as Bitsy Mae in Sordid Lives: The Series, and one of the highlights was this ode to, ahem, a man named Richard.
50. HOW INSENSITIVE (2004)
Indigo: Women Of Song is a collection of covers of songs written by or made famous by women, and the opening track is ONJ’s version of the bossa nova standard.
49. REACH OUT FOR ME (1989)
Warm and Tender from 1989 was an album of standards reimagined as children’s lullabies. Maybe we’d be more into kids if we could play them reworked Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs like this.
48. TOUGHEN UP (1985)
Terry Britten and Graham Lyle wrote this for Tina Turner (they previously penned “What’s Love Got To Do With It”), but when she turned it down, Olivia grabbed it.
47. DEEPER THAN A RIVER (1992)
Written by Diane Warren for Back To Basics, this song reached the Top 20 on the AC chart. With lines like “Just like a tree that stands tall/Darling I’ll stand by you through it all,” it’s pure pop perfection/
46. THE PROMISE (THE DOLPHIN SONG) (1981)
The final track on Physical was a big switch from the title song’s raw sensuality, and a hint of the eco-aware Olivia to come.
45. TAKE A CHANCE (1983)
From ONJ and John Travolta’s second cinematic pairing, Two Of A Kind, this duet reached Number 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart—the last time Travolta charted until the soundtrack to 2007’s Hairspray.
44. FALLING (1998)
Olivia went back to her country roots for this duet with The Raybon Brothers.
43. I NEED LOVE (1992)
This was the single released from ONJ’s collectionBack To Basics, and while it failed to make much of an impression, it presented a new sleek sound,.
42. HEARTACHE TONIGHT (1980)
On her Hollywood Nights TV special, Olivia took on The Eagles classic with help from Toni Tennille, Tina Turner, Peaches & Herb’s Linda Greene, Karen Carpenter, Elton John, Andy Gibb, Cliff Richard, and a biker gang.
41. SHAKING YOU (1983)
Written by Olivia for the Two Of A Kind soundtrack.
40. LIFT ME UP (2002)
ONJ’s 2002 duets album (2) included this collaboration with Darren Hayes.
39. FACE TO FACE
From Barry Gibb’s solo album Now Voyager>, Olivia has always matched up wonderfully with the Gibb Brothers (U.S. #80 UK N/A)
38. LONG LIVE LOVE (1974)
This super-cheezy 1974 track was Australia’s entry in Eurovision and helped make ONJ a household name (at least Down Under). Listening to it makes you wonder what it’d be like if Olivia was the fifth member of ABBA.
37. CAN’T WE TALK IT OVER IN BED (1988)
The second single from The Rumour failed to chart anywhere, but Grayson Hugh would record his own version and take it to the top 20.
36. LOVE IS A GIFT (1998)
Do you know Olivia Newton-John has a Daytime Emmy? It was for this track off Back With A Heart>, which took home the trophy for Outstanding Original Song in 1999 after being featured on As the World Turns.
35. WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR (1989)
Another masterful retelling of a classic children’s song from Warm And Tender.
34. LANDSLIDE (1982)
The opening track to Physical, it the second greatest song titled “Landslide.” And the new-wave video directed by longtime collaborator Brian Grant gave us a good look at Olivia’s hot hubby, Matt Lattanzi. It stalled at Number 52 in the U.S. but hit Number 18 in the UK.
33. DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ (1976)
Olivia had another No. 1 AC smash and Top 15 country hit with this song, which should not but confused with Journey’s earworm of the same name.
32. I CAN’T HELP IT (1980)
Written by Barry Gibb, this classic Adult Contemporary duet gave Olivia and Andy Gibb a chance to shine—and to hit Number 12 on the U.S. chart.
31. TIED UP (1983)
The second single ONJ’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, this slinky pop nugget should have been a much bigger hit.
30. IF NOT FOR YOU (1971)
Olivia notched her very first Top 40 hit with this Bob Dylan cover.
29. Carried Away
Originally written by Barry Gibb for Barbra Streisand’s Guilty album, but Streisand rejected it, and Olivia ended up recording it for Physical. An underrated deep-cut, and it is RuPaul’s favorite ONJ song.
28. DON’T CUT ME DOWN (1994)
Gaia: One Woman’s Journey was Olivia’s first album of self-penned songs, and was written after her breast-cancer diagnosis. Ostensibly about environmental conservation, it took on an entirely new meaning as the closing song in It’s My Party.
27. LIVIN’ IN DESPERATE TIMES (1984)
The second single from the Two Of A Kind soundtrack, “Desperate Times” was Olivia’s second-to-last top 40 hit.
26. SUSPENDED IN TIME (1980)
This gorgeous ballad from Xanadu wasn’t a single, but should have been.
25. SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW (1989)
Another gem off Warm and Tender. It’s hard to beat Olivia giving us Judy. (Imagine the lucky gayby rocked to sleep by this number.)
24. COME ON OVER (1976)
Written by The Bee-Gees, “Come on Over” would be Olivia’s last Top Ten country hit to date.
23. IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW) (1974)
Her second Top Ten hit on the pop charts, “If You Love Me” is probably the most “country” of all her pop hits. It hit Number 5 in the U.S.
22. DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT (1979)
The follow-up to “A Little More Love” showed off Olivia’s new look and sound perfectly. And it hit Number 11 in the U.S.
21. THE BEST OF ME (1986)
This duet with uber-producer David Foster proved two things: Olivia Newton-John can make anything sound great, and as a singer, David Foster is a great producer.
20. MAKE A MOVE ON ME (1982)
The follow-up to “Physical” was another smash hit—reaching Number Five in America—and was ONJ’s 12th and final single certified gold.
19. SAM (1977)
This gorgeous ballad was the highest charting single from her album Don’t Stop Believin’, hitting Number 6 in the U.K. and Number 20 in the U.S.
18. SUDDENLY (1980)
This beautiful duet with Olivia’s dear friend Cliff Richard was another winner from the stellar Xanadu soundtrack.
17. PLEASE MR. PLEASE (1975)
Her fifth consecutive Top Ten hit on the pop and country charts, “Please Mr. Please” would also be ONJ’s final time there until the Grease soundtrack.
16. LOVE AND LET LIVE (1988)
Olivia was one of the first mainstream artists to address the AIDS crisis, with this powerful entry from The Rumour. It was written by the late Alan O’Day, who gave us “Undercover Angel,” Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” and the Righteous Brothers’ “Rock and Roll Heaven.
15. HEART ATTACK (1982)
Olivia released her Greatest Hits Volume 2 in 1982, and the first single became another major hit, and earned her another Grammy nod.(U.S #3 UK: #46)
14. SUMMER NIGHTS (1973)
The third Top Five hit from a little movie musical called Grease, “Summer Nights” has been covered by every middle school theater group for the past 40 years. Wella-wella-wella UH!
13. LET ME BE THERE (1973)
It all began with “Let Me Be There,” Olivia’s first Top Ten hit on the pop and country charts. It also won her the Grammy for Female Country Vocalist in 1973.
12. THE RUMOUR (1988)
ONJ came back after a three year absence with the album The Rumour. And while this Elton John-penned title single flopped on the charts, its a vastly underrated jewel.
11. PHYSICAL (1981)
Spending ten weeks at Number One, this title track played up the 80s exercise fad and presented a new more sexual Olivia to the world. Billboard ranked it the Number One Pop Single Of The ’80s—who are we to argue?
10. SOUL KISS (1985)
Speaking of title tracks, Soul Kiss’ is a gorgeous, shimmering delight. Fun fact: Olivia was pregnant during the filming of the video, so she was draped in pink fabric and trenchcoats. (That’s then-hubby Matt Latanzi she kisses on the airport runway.)
9. A LITTLE MORE LOVE (1979)
The perfect bridge between Olivia’s country-pop and “Physical” years, “Little More Love” was Olivia at her coquettish best, and displayed a confidence and strength we hadn’t seen before.
8. TWIST OF FATE (1983)
Two Of A Kind was an even bigger box office disaster than Xanadu, but also like Xanadu, it gave us a great soundtrack—and Olivia’s final Top Ten hit.
7. XANADU (1980)
Now that we’re here, we can exalt this epic collaboration with ELO, Olivia’s second Top Ten smash off the Xanadu soundtrack.
6. HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU (1978)
Written specifically for Olivia when Grease was brought to the big screen, “Hopelessly Devoted” was nominated for Best Original Song Oscar in 1978. It also spawned a kickass dance remix in the 1990s.
5. YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT (1978)
Hitting the Number One spot in 14 countries, this Grease barnburner is one of the biggest selling singles of all time.
4. HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW (1975)
Olivia’s second consecutive Number One on the Hot 100, “Mellow” is the epitome of AM Gold, and was featured in the Broadway production of Xanadu
3. THE RIGHT MOMENT (1985)
The closing track on Soul Kiss is IMHO one of Olivia’s finest, and demonstrates her impressive vocal range.
2. MAGIC (1980)
ONJ’s second-biggest hit after “Physical,” “Magic” spent four weeks at Number One, and took a lot of the sting out of the box office failure of Xanadu.
1. I HONESTLY LOVE YOU (1974)
Co-written by the Boy from Down Under, Peter Allen, this is one of the all-time most iconic soft-rock ballads. Not coincidentally, it was also Olivia’s first Number One in the U.S., and won the Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Okay, your turn! What’s on your Essential Olivia Newton-John playlist?