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SoundTRAX: "Xanadu"

The album cover for the "Xanadu" soundtrack.
Geffen Records
/
Universal Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

There are two types of people. The ones who think today's film is absolutely ridiculous, and those who adore it as a campy delight.

And really, they're both right.

I'm talking about the movie musical, Xanadu, which was released 43 years ago today.

There are a few fundamental truths in life and one is that it was absolutely impossible to not like the late Olivia Newton-John. She was gorgeous, she was immensely likeable, and I don't know a single man who didn't have a crush on her at one time or another.

She plays Kira, one of the nine muses of Ancient Greece, who is sent to earth to inspire a struggling artist named Sonny (Michael Beck) and also an entrepreneur and former Big Band musician, played by the legendary Gene Kelly in his final film role.

I know that description sounds a little lofty, but it's really just a handy excuse for singing, dancing, and yes, roller skating.

I won't even call the film's music a guilty pleasure, because I wholeheartedly admit to loving it.

You get five Olivia Newton-John tunes, both solo and with Cliff Richard, as well as The Tubes— the latter of whom also appear in the movie— plus the title song with Electric Light Orchestra. ELO also contribute four other songs.

But for today's SoundTRAX selection it's got to be Livvy, because in a sad coincidence the 43rd anniversary of the film happens to fall on the one-year anniversary of her untimely passing.

From Xanadu, it's Olivia Newton-John with "Magic."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.