For those who only know Olivia Newton-John as Sandy from Grease, or because of her successful pop career, it may be hard to believe that she was once one of country music’s biggest stars.
She edged out country legends Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton for the 1974 CMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year and was also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, and Single of the Year.
Newton-John had seven Top 10 singles in the country genre between 1973-1975 as well as major crossover success before permanently transitioning to pop in the late 1970s. Including these seven times she dominated the country charts, she often paid tribute to the greats that came before her including covers of “Ring of Fire” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” She also had one posthumous number one.
Let’s take a look at the eight times she dominated the country charts.
1. “I Honestly Love You”
Newton-John released “I Honestly Love You” off her 1974 country album If You Love Me, Let Me Know. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart as well as the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.
“I Honestly Love You” reached the No. 6 spot on the Hot Country Singles chart and won a Grammy for Record of the Year.
2. “Let Me Be There”
“Let Me Be There” became Newton-John’s very first Top 10 single in the United States, peaking at No. 6. It won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1973, and was later covered by The King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley.
3. “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)”
Newton-John peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Country Singles chart with the title track from her 1974 album If You Love Me, Let Me Know. Elvis Presley also covered this song in live shows up until his death.
4. “Have You Never Been Mellow”
The John Ferrar-penned song, which was the title track to Newton-John’s 1975 album, peaked at No. 3 on the country charts and hit No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary, Hot 100, and a few Canadian charts as well.
The song earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was her fourth straight single to be certified gold.
5. “Please Mr. Please”
Newton-John’s “Please Mr. Please” was released on the 1975 album Have You Ever Been Mellow and reached the Top 5 on the Billboard country charts, and Top 10 on two other charts.
6. “Let It Shine” & “He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother”
“He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother” was released on the B-side of Newton-John’s single “Let It Shine”, which peaked at No. 5 on the country charts. She often performed these songs back-to-back at live shows because of the success of the single.
7. “Come On Over”
Newton-John released her version of the Bee Gees hit song in 1976, and it served as the title track of her album that year. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard country charts. The Bee Gees originally released it a year prior off their very first live album, Here at Last…Bee Gees…Live.
8. “Hopelessly Devoted To You”
Newton-John sadly passed away from a years-long cancer battle recently. Her death was announced on August 8th by her husband, John Easterling. Since her death, tributes of people singing “Hopelessly Devoted To You” have surfaced and in turn, people have been playing (and buying) Newton-John’s version of the song. Because of this, the song has hit number one on the Country Digital Song Sales chart, according to Yahoo! Entertainment.
Not only did it go #1 on that chart, it was the 4th highest-selling song of the week!
This week's top-selling songs:
1. @ItsBennyBlanco, @BTS_twt & @SnoopDogg Bad Decisions
2. @Beyonce Break My Soul
3. @KateBushMusic Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
4. @olivianj Hopelessly Devoted To You
5. @djkhaled ft. @Drake & @lilbaby4PF Staying Alive
— billboard charts (@billboardcharts) August 15, 2022
In 1977, “Hopelessly Devoted To You” reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, number seven on the Adult Contemporary chart, and number 20 on the country chart, her fist Top 20 hit in over two years.
Which one of Olivia Newton-John’s country hits was your favorite?! Let us know in the comments!