#TBT: All-Star Charity Single ‘Spirit Of The Forest’ With Olivia Newton-John, Debbie Harry, Donna Summer & More

Cover image for 1989's 'Spirit of the Forest'

Throwing it back to 1989…

From my buddy Kenneth-in-the-212:

Honest to god, if you had bet me everything I own — plus my husband and cat — that Debbie Harry, Olivia Newton-John, Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Kate Pierson, Holly Beth Vincent and a host of other (212) favorites had done a charity single in the late ’80s I would be living on the street with a broken heart right now, because that’s exactly what happened.

While digging through Getty Images to try to figure out the date and photographer of a photo of Deb I posted yesterday I stumbled upon a folder labeled “Rainforest Alliance Recording Session” — huh? — which led me to the video of “Spirit of the Forest” by Spirit of the Forest, a single benefiting the Earth Love Fund, “to make people aware of the need for conservation of the rainforest.”

Also taking part were Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Donna Summer, Kate Bush, Thomas Dolby, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Taylor Dayne, Big Country, L.L. Cool J, Lisa Bonet, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Marc Jordan, Mick Fleetwood, Billy Burnett, Rita Coolidge, Michael Des Barres, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Sky, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Ringo Starr, representatives of 10 Native American tribes and many, many more.

The record was launched on June 5, 1989 by Richard Branson and Earth Love Fund (ELF) Rainforest Appeal in conjunction with the U.N.E.P. at the United Nations. The single was double “A”-sided with star artists performing on both sides. All proceeds from the project were donated to the programs dedicated to saving the Rainforests of the world.

I have to admit I’ve never heard of the project, but I was traipsing around the country in a national touring company of A Chorus Line at the time, so I wasn’t quite up-to-date on all the music being released.

Kenneth surmises “benefit fatigue” might have had something to do with the song fading amid so many other high profile charity music events like Band Aid, USA for Africa, Farm Aid and so many more in that period of time.

He also thinks – as do I – the song itself is something of a dud. It was apparently written by Kenny Young of “Under the Boardwalk.” At the time, we had major earworms like “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” “We Are the World” and “Sun City” scoring big on the Billboard 100.

Sadly, the message is still on point today.

p.s. Why was Olivia Newton-John relegated to the side of wide shots and not given a solo??? Longtime ONJ fans will recognize Livvy’s future collaborators Amy Sky and her husband Marc Jordan in the mix.

Podcast: Olivia Newton-John & Chloe Lattanzi Chat On New Single “Window In The Wall”

Olivia Newton-John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi
Chloe Lattanzi said in a recent interview she wouldn't get the coronavirus vaccine which led some to wonder if she's an anti-vaxxer and Trump supporter
Olivia Newton-John with daughter Chloe Lattanzi (photo: Michelle Day)

In this podcast episode, I’m speaking with four-time Grammy Award-winner Olivia Newton-John and her daughter, singer/songwriter Chloe Lattanzi who recently released their new duet, “Window in the Wall.” Continue reading “Podcast: Olivia Newton-John & Chloe Lattanzi Chat On New Single “Window In The Wall””

Olivia Newton-John Sings “Valentine” With Jim Brickman

Olivia Newton-John sings Jim Brickman's hit song "Valentine"
Olivia Newton-John sings Jim Brickman's hit song "Valentine"
Olivia Newton-John sings Jim Brickman’s hit song “Valentine”

Back in 2000, my hubby, Michael was repping both pop-crossover pianist Jim Brickman and international pop star Olivia Newton-John.

When Jim started making plans for his TV special, My Romance: An Evening with Jim Brickman, Michael suggested Olivia would be a great guest. Jim flipped over the idea.

Michael introduced the two, and musical magic was made.

Not only did Olivia perform this gorgeous take on Jim’s hit song “Valentine” but they liked working with each other so much they wrote a song (“Change of Heart”) which Olivia also sang on the special.

Country artist Martina McBride originally recorded ‘Valentine’ with Jim, but watching this video it’s hard to imagine the song wasn’t written for Olivia’s special gifts.  Jim calls this one of his favorite performances of the #1 hit song.

Enjoy the clip below as Olivia Newton-John sings “Valentine.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! I’m off to spend some time with hot hubby Michael 🙂

 

Olivia Newton-John On GREASE Criticism: ‘We Need To Relax A Bit, Enjoy Things For What They Are’

International pop star Olivia Newton-John
International pop star Olivia Newton-John
International pop star Olivia Newton-John (photo: Michelle Day)

With the coronavirus pandemic impacting lives around the world and social issues like LGBTQ rights and the Black Lives Matter movement, do we really need to ‘cancel’ a 42-year-old movie musical?

The mega-successful 1978 movie musical Grease was aired over the holidays on one of the BBC channels in the U.K. and some folks took to social media to decry the film as homophobic, racist, sexist, and even ‘rapey.’

In a recent interview, international pop-star Olivia Newton-John, who played ‘Sandy’ in the film, was asked about the kerfuffle.

“I think in this particular instance, it’s kind of silly because the movie was made in the ’70s about the ’50s,” the Aussie shared with the podcast ‘A Life of Greatness.’ ”It’s fun. It’s a fun movie musical and not to be taken so seriously.”

“I think everyone is taking everything so seriously,” added the 4-time Grammy Award winner. “We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are.”

Newton-John has previously addressed criticism that the finale of the movie is sexist when ‘Sandy’ becomes a ‘bad girl’ to get her man played by John Travolta.

“Everyone forgets that, at the end, he changes for her, too,” notes the 72-year-old.

Olivia Newton-John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi
Olivia Newton-John with daughter Chloe Lattanzi (photo: Michelle Day)

For her part, Newton-John prefers to take a more positive view of life.

In 2018, the “Physical” singer shared with the world she was battling stage four breast cancer for the third time.

But today Newton-John says she’s feeling strong thanks to treatments ranging from western medicine to ‘kinder, gentler’ plant-based medicine.

“I think every day is a blessing,” she told The Guardian in an interview. “You never know when your time is over. We all have a finite amount of time on this planet, and we just need to be grateful for that.”

That said, Newton-John isn’t ready to spend her time sitting still.

She recently released a new pop single, “Window in the Wall,” with her daughter Chloe Lattanzi that looks to connect folks, not cancel them.

The music video for the single quickly hit #1 on the iTunes Music Video chart and stayed at the top spot for over a week. Newton-John says the new track will be part of a soon-to-be released collection of duets.

New Music: Olivia Newton-John & Chloe Lattanzi ‘Window In The Wall’

Window in the Wall is the new single from four-time Grammy Award winner Olivia Newton-John
Chloe Lattanzi & Olivia Newton-John (photo: Michelle Day)

Four-time Grammy Award winner and international pop star Dame Olivia Newton-John released her latest single and music video, “Window in the Wall,” today.

The track, a duet with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, is an uplifting piano-driven ballad. The optimistic lyrics address the distance and divides felt by many in these turbulent times:

Looking for a window in the wall / Maybe we can see the other side
And find we’re not so different after all  / Looking for a window in the wall

The new ballad opens with Lattanzi’s pensive, sensitive vocals. She’s quickly joined by Newton-John whose rich artistry underscores (again) her rightful place in the pantheon of great pop singers.

Check out the music video below.

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Produced by six-time Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, “Window in the Wall” is a breath of fresh air in these stormy, unsettled times.

The music video clearly resonated with fans as it quickly hit #1 on the iTunes Music Video chart and stayed at the top spot for hours.

You can follow Dame Olivia Newton-John on Facebook here, and follow Chloe Lattanzi on Instagram here.

“Window in the Wall” is available now on Amazon and other digital download sites.

This marks the second musical collaboration for the mother/daughter duo. In 2015, the two singers hit number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club chart with “You Have To Believe,” their reworking of Newton-John’s 1980 single “Magic” from the soundtrack to the film Xanadu.

At the time, I interviewed Chloe about the collaboration and the achievement. Hit the play button below to hear our chat.

News Round-Up: November 13, 2020

‘Map daddy’ Steve Kornacki (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

LA Times: MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki – dubbed ‘map daddy’ or ‘chart-throb’ due to his 2020 election count performance – has so inspired millions his regular go-to khakis have surged 90 percent in sales at the GAP.

Pink News: Poland’s ugly war against LGBTQ people continues with a horrifying new bill that would ban Pride parades throughout the country. The proposed law, entitled “Stop LGBT”, would ban Pride parades as well as any other public gatherings that “promote” queer identities. #StopTheHate

New York Daily News: Donald Trump’s favorite rapper, Lil’ Pump, shared a campaign rally stage with the Donald just before the election to show his support. But it turns out the 20-year-old (who posted a video on Instagram to his 17-million followers declaring “All I gotta say is Trump 2020, b-tch!”) didn’t bother to even register to vote. The video is no longer online.

Christmas Music: Australian pop star Delta Goodrem surprised fans with a new Christmas album titled Santa Only Knows complete with a gorgeous guitar-driven duet with international superstar Olivia Newton-John, “Merry Christmas to You.”

Axios: Donald Trump has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network, sources tell me. Some Trump advisers say Fox News enraged Trump by making an early call (seconded by AP) of a Joe Biden win in Arizona. “He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it” said a source..

The Hill: Prosecutors in the case over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery earlier this year presented the court on Thursday with racist text messages and social media posts from one of the two white men who fatally shot him while he was jogging in Brunswick, Ga.

KDKA: A federal appeals court in Philadelphia on Friday rejected an effort to block about 9,300 ballots that arrived after Election Day. The three-judge panel, led by Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Brooks Smith, ruled “that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count.” The ruling involves the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to accept mail-in ballots that arrived by Friday, Nov. 6, three days after the close of polling places.