Two Of A Kind

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

MCA, 1983

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/25/2007

By 1977, Olivia Newton-John found that she needed a change. Her fortunes in the country music market well had run dry, though country music purists hadn’t exactly welcomed her with open arms. Even when she won Female Vocalist of the year and Record Of The Year for “I Honestly Love You,” Olivia would continue to struggle in proving the naysayers wrong. 

And so, when the time came for Olivia to switch musical genres and basically put her entire career on overdrive, she was offered the prime lead role of Sandy in the film Grease. Like her character, Olivia would be turned from a sweet girl from the sticks of Australia into a leather clad, sexed-up pop goddess literally overnight. Olivia’s success on the big screen would be short-lived, however, when her next two films, Xanadu and Two Of A Kind, tanked at the box-office. Personally, I liked those two films better than Grease, but then again, I’m used to being in the minority.

What was supposed to be an on-screen reunion between Newton-John and her leading man from Grease, John Travolta, turned out to be a dud when it came to public response to Two Of A Kind. The two stars will forever be linked as Danny and Sandy, and that is that. Under any other name or as different characters, it just won’t be the same. nbtc__dv_250

Say what you will about both Xanadu and Two Of A Kind, but Olivia never looked or sounded better than at that point of time in her career. There was even something called Physical in between the two film projects. When the title track of that album went on to become the longest running number one hit of the '80s, Olivia’s place in pop music history was perfectly cemented. The transition out of country music turned out to be worth it and it was Olivia Newton-John who would help pave the way for even more daring females like Madonna to break through and become successful in their own right.

Speaking of Madonna, many comparisons can be found between her and Olivia. Both have had less than stellar results in being taken seriously as legitimate actresses. Both have been through rocky marriages and messy divorces. And both knew how to market themselves. Perfect case in point are the soundtracks to Who’s That Girl and Two Of A Kind. Since they are both films in which they starred in, it came to no one’s surprise that each soundtrack would be dominated by their own music. Unlike the films, the music was what became the real deal.

Olivia may not have been able to return to the top of the charts, but her awesome single “Twist Of Fate” came pretty darn close. She would also make a dent on the Adult Contemporary chart with the John Travolta duet, “Take A Chance.”  My personal favorite, “Livin’ In Desperate Times” would also become a single, as did Patti Austin’s festive contribution, “It’s Gonna Be Special.” The other Olivia Newton-John track, “Shakin’ You” is one of her most moving ballads and was even made into a music video.

Elsewhere on Two Of A Kind, you can find strong entries by the likes of Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Journey and Steve Kipner, as well as an instrumental piece by Olivia’s close personal friend, David Foster. An interesting note of trivia is that Journey would also be a featured artist on the soundtrack to Madonna’s first film, Vision Quest.

After Two Of A Kind, Olivia would put her film career on the back burner and her album releases would be fewer and farther between. Hard as she may have tried, she no longer had the youthful star quality or mega-watt voltage that Madonna brought onto the scene.  Needless to say, the torch would be passed and the MTV generation would be forced to carry on without Olivia Newton-John. But before video killed the radio star, it was Olivia who truly reigned supreme.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA, and is used for informational purposes only.