Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits

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Olivia Newton-John has had many greatest-hits compilations over the years. Since she is due for a renaissance, it will be valuable to distinguish between the ones available. Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits was first released in 1982 to capitalize on her newfound mainstream success. The album was released the same year as Olivia's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2. The first volume represented nine songs from Newton-John's early country material while the second can be described by the words Xanadu, Physical, and Grease. So in 1982 buyers had two choices, and obviously would pick the pop collection of songs they heard on the radio. The problem with Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits is that MCA had released a similar album called Greatest Hits in 1977 with four songs not on the 1982 version: "Let Me Be There," "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)," "Banks of the Ohio," and a cover of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." So to sensitive music critics (and Olivia Newton-John fans) Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits is a disappointing and poor album, not because the material is bad, but because of misguided judgment by the label. This is somewhat moot. On September 11, 2001, Universal released Magic: The Very Best of Olivia Newton-John which basically combines the two volumes into one double-CD package, making it perhaps the definitive collection. But Olivia's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 was the best of the bunch for a long time (including the years when Newton-John was most popular). And it remains the best choice for casual fans who only want the roller-rink hits. However, all of these compilations are in print (except the 1977 collection) and (budget notwithstanding) lacking -- if quantity of quality music is one's highest value. (With respect to the rating of this disc, how can one approve of a re-release of a compilation with four good songs removed?)

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