Decades before Taylor Swift's crossover, the Australian parlayed success as a country singer into pop-culture stardom thanks to 'Grease.'
FOR CHILDREN OF THE LATE 1970s who danced around their bedroom to the Grease soundtrack, their awareness of Olivia Newton-John most likely began with her turn as Sandy Olsson, the prim love interest of greaser Danny Zuko (John Travolta). But years before that career-making crossover role, she had grabbed America's attention as the country girl next door who hailed from Melbourne, Australia.
On Oct. 12, 1974, Newton-John, then 26, scored the first of two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 with If You Love Me, Let Me Know, but that wasn't her first chart achievement that year. Earlier in 1974, the LP had peaked atop the country albums chart, as had her Grammy-winning debut, Let Me Be There.
She continued to make an indelible mark on the genre, landing seven top 10s on Hot Country Songs and edging out icons Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton as the Country Music Association's 1974 female vocalist of the year. Her hot streak continued with her 1975 LP, Have You Never Been Mellow, which also topped the Billboard 200, and her 1976 follow-up, Don't Stop Believin'.