Like millions around the world, I was very sad to learn the news of the passing of Olivia Newton-John yesterday. Olivia fought a courageous battle with breast cancer for 30 years. Through it all she remained positive and optimistic and never took on a “why me” attitude. She passed away peacefully at age 73 surrounded by friends and family.
Sadly, there have been so many celebrity deaths recently. We in the media are tasked with informing the public. We create programming and content to let listeners, readers and viewers know of the passing, and perhaps, help them morn.
Yesterday, Olivia’s passing hit me like a ton of bricks. When I first started seeing stories pop up on the internet, I did not want to believe it. Before I made any announcement on the air, I was sure to check multiple sources. Far too many times -in an attempt to be the first – the media gets it wrong by prematurely reporting a death.
TMZ has become a reliable source for news of this sort. Once they ran the story, I informed our WJBR listeners of Olivia’s passing.
It took a while for it to set in, because for me, since I was 11 years old in 1973, she was always there. At the same time of Olivia coming on the pop music scene, I had discovered radio and knew from that age, that’s what I wanted to do. I listened to the radio constantly from that age. I preferred the presentation of Top 40 radio.
While most of my friends loved listening to Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd, I also enjoyed the pop sounds of the time like the Bee Gees and Olivia Newton-John. Top 40 radio offered the variety of music and the presentation I found appealing. So needless to say in the mid to late 70’s, I listened to plenty of Olivia Newton-John. I was also coming of age during that time. Truth be told, she was my first crush!
So, losing her yesterday brought back a flood of childhood memories, including those of loved ones like my parents, who are no longer with us.
To pay tribute to Olivia during my show yesterday, I wanted to play a song from her era, that fit in with our mix from the 80’s to now. The song I chose was “Magic” from 1980. While I was playing the song, Olivia’s haunting vocals in that song took on new meaning knowing she had passed.
“Don’t let your aim ever stray-And if all your hopes survive-Destiny will arrive-I’ll bring all your dreams alive-For you!”
Many of my dreams have come alive. Thanks for being there along the way Olivia! It was a privilege to play your music on the radio!
Here are some of my favorite Olivia Newton-John videos.