Known In The '70s For: Playing Sandy Olsson in Grease (1978)
Throughout the '70s, Olivia Newton John was a massive force on the pop, adult contemporary, and country chartsâ€”that last one much to the chagrin of many country artists, who disliked the idea of an Australian singer born in England competing with such pure country queens as Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. Yet compete she did, and in 1973 her country-pop stylings won her the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal and the Academy of Country Music's Most Promising Female Vocalist award.
In a way, though, she was just getting warmed up, because her most enduring achievement of the 70s was her co-starring role, opposite John Travolta, in the film version of Grease, which was the top performing film of 1978.
Emboldened by her character's transformation in the final scene of the film, Newton John gave herself a makeover and went all sexy for her 1978 album Totally Hot. That album's success drove her to further objectify herself on the synth-heavy, double-platinum, chart-topping, did-people-really-listen-to-this release Physical. But that was 1980, and her cult hit film Xanadu beckoned.