An entertaining hour in the company of the delightful Olivia Newton-John performing songs from her album _The Rumour_ against a backdrop of spectacular Australian scenery.

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An entertaining hour in the company of the delightful Olivia Newton-John performing songs from her album _The Rumour_ against a backdrop of spectacular Australian scenery.

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30 July 1988 (USA)  »

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Olivia Newton-John in Australia  »

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Man in Bar: Get them off!
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Love and Let Live
Written by Alan O'Day
Published by Copyright Control
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Newton-John salutes Australia's bicentennial in style
16 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1988, Olivia Newton-John recorded one of the most daring and outstanding albums of her now 40+ year career, entitled "THE RUMOUR". It also happened to be Australia's bicentennial that year. Olivia decided to showcase her new album and salute her adopted homeland simultaneously. The result is this hour-long show, which incorporates most of the songs from THE RUMOUR in video-type format. It plays as a sort of brief, basic historical document about Australia, and features several intriguing "Aussie" characters. But mostly, it's a chance for the English-born, Aussie-bred vocalist to present some of her strongest material in years, all with this wonderful Australian backdrop. Opening the show with a bubbly tune called "Tutta La Vita", Newton-John reminds us she's not one to take herself too seriously. And yet there's plenty of "meat" in the lyrics. The song deals with the subject of getting older, searching to find what's meaningful in one's life, and not fooling oneself. She candidly addresses the issue of AIDS in a richly-produced "Love And Let Live", which features gentle verses that explode into punky-pop choruses. Her gorgeous soprano has a bit of edgy grit in that tune. Long before it was "hip" to be an environmentalist, Olivia put her money where her heart was, even canceling a Japanese tour in the 1970's to protest fishing practices that were killing dolphins. "Let's Talk About Tomorrow" is a call to protect the Earth for our children's sake, if not our own. The subject of evolving roles of women in Aussie life is breached both in songs ("Get Out" & "Old-Fashioned Man") and interviews with local ladies. "Big And Strong" is played against a backdrop of Aboriginal lands and people. Listening to the songs featured in OLIVIA: DOWN UNDER reveals a much under-rated singer. She may not have the most technically studied voice, but I've never FELT more emotional connection to words in song than those coming from this woman's amazing heart-rooted pipes! When she sings the words "through fire" near the end of "Walk Through Fire" and punches a hi-A, it sounds like she literally put her finger in the flame. Why the album, with its Elton John-produced (and co-performed) title track, and some of her best work, was not a huge hit makes very little sense. Even the "filler" (like "Car Games") is good stuff. Perhaps being a fairly new mom (her daughter was only 2 years old) plays into that, as she was not very active promoting the album (beyond this special) and was not touring during those years. Yet happily, she did take the time to leave us with this amazing hour of fabulous music and a short documentary 'film'. Her love of Australia is clinched in the featured (non-album) song "It's Always Australia For Me". Malibu has not spoiled this "girl from Oz".


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