On tour with a stop at the Taj, she has reunited with 'Grease' co-star John Travolta for a newly released Christmas album
Olivia Newton-John has been keeping busy with her current tour and a new project reuniting her with her co-star from the movie Grease, John Travolta, a holiday CD This Christmas, released Nov. 13. It was the first time they have teamed up for a music project in 30 years, with all the proceeds going to their respective charities, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre and the Jett Travolta Foundation.
The CD is the audio equivalent of those classic network TV specials hosted from the stars’ homes, an intimate, warm set of traditional holiday songs and features special guests Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra, James Taylor, Chick Corea, Kenny G and Sir Cliff Richard.
Newton-John is currently celebrating her 40th year in music with over 100 million albums sold, four Grammy Awards, an Emmy and numerous People’s Choice, Billboard, Country Music and American Music Awards.
A breast cancer survivor, she also has a new cookbook, LivWise: Easy Recipes for A Healthy, Happy Life.
When I talked with Newton-John via phone Oct. 26, she was in Florida just as Hurricane Sandy was dumping heavy rain and wind in the state. I told her I was concerned about the storm’s trip up the coast, but that the weather forecasters tend to be overly dramatic. Oops. Not this time.
In reading about and listening to your new album, it sounds like you and John Travolta have remained friends over the years. So how did this Christmas album idea begin?
I sent him an e-mail last year around Thanksgiving, saying ‘Congratulations. You’re The One That I Want just became the bestselling duet of all time.’ He was sitting with his family listening to Christmas music. He got the idea that we should do some Christmas music together because he absolutely loves Christmas music. Later we got together and he said, ‘We should do a whole Christmas CD and let’s do it for our charities.' The fact that it was for something important gave it a lot more meaning for us.
The album is being promoted with the line, “audio equivalent of a classic holiday TV special.” You usually have to take promotional materials with a grain of salt, but they nailed it this time. I liked that it was informal and it did evoke holiday specials with Andy Williams and Nat King Cole from way back in the day.
Oh good. That’s what we wanted, we wanted to make it comfortable. John was very hands-on with this record. We didn’t want it to be ostentatious but fun to listen to.
Did you record it together in the studio?
The stuff that we are singing together we were together. There were a few bits where our schedules didn’t work out, but mostly we were together.
As we continue our countdown of “Best Lists” at Atlantic City Weekly, here are the 10 best interviews we had in 2011, in alphabetical order.
“I love seeing new places, and I love going back to places I’ve been a hundred times,” he says. “I love staying in hotels. I know it sounds crazy, but I love the road.”
The New King of Comedy Long-time CNN TV personality and newsman Larry King brings his stand-up show to Borgata's Music Box May 14. By David J. Spatz Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 10, 2011 ATLANTIC CITY — Did you hear the one about Larry King doing stand-up comedy? It’s no joke. The man whose interview program anchored CNN’s prime-time lineup for a quarter-century says he’s very serious about making people laugh. “If I was starting [over] today, in spite of the terrific and wonderful career I’ve had in broadcasting, I’d have chosen comedy,” King says.
"But if you have a bad show, the audience doesn’t join in on that. They’re like, “YOU are bombing, You, buddy — by yourself. You get to where you can fake it sometimes and get through it. But every once in a while a show doesn’t get on the tracks and you spend an hour trying to scramble and keep it from going into the abyss."
"I wanted to sing with someone who could out-sing me," she said. "I wanted him to show the world that he could sing like Patti LaBelle, and I told him I was going to lay back. I told him that everything he thought I would do in the songs, he should do."
"I didn't want any part of that show," Mandel told Atlantic City Weekly. "The last thing I wanted to do was host a game show. Every time they called, I said 'no.' I didn't even want them to explain the show to me. I just said no, period, end of conversation."
"I copied all of that from Frank [Sinatra] and Dean [Martin] and Sammy [Davis, Jr.] and [Don] Rickles," he wistfully recalled. "Now, those guys really knew how to hang out."
Atlantic City is staring down the barrel of Labor Day weekend after experiencing the single most diverse array of live entertainment ever presented here during one summer. Not just during the last 34 summers of the casino era, either, but throughout its entire gaudy, bawdy and, occasionally tawdry 160-year-old past.
"So when we started [working on the record] right after the Grammys in January and set up my living room as a recording studio, [producer Dave Stewart], unbeknownst to me, had actually read all 50 of these poems [of mine]."
Way back in prehistory (OK, it was 1982) rock singer Linda Ronstadt astounded the music world and her fans by recording What's New, an album of standards with arranger Nelson Riddle, onetime musical ...
IT HAS BEEN NEARLY 25 YEARS since the release of Rod Stewart's Blondes Have More Fun album, a disco-draped collection of '70s-era pick-up lines on which the Brit rocker asked the notorious question: "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" The record proved to be a turning point -- some would say a "low point" -- for Stewart's music career, a move that officially ended his "Rod the Mod" era and put an exclamation point on his later "Rod the Bod" phase. Gone was the ragged, gritty fusion of folk, blues and rock which he perfected on early solo efforts like Gasoline Alley, Every Picture Tells a Story and Never a Dull Moment. Stewart had crossed over into the land of high-gloss production, uninspired lyrics and dance-oriented numbers on his way towards the synth-pop sound of his MTV-friendly '80s work. Some good songs, but not many good albums immediately followed Blondes. There were the timeless radio-friendly hits like "Young Turks," "Baby Jane," "Infatuation" and "Some Guys Have All the Luck," and embarrassing albums such as Foolish Behavior and Body Wishes. By the mid-'80s Stewart had bottomed out with the heartless mush collected on his 1986 self-titled album, a 10-track collection that many agree...
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