The first thing that went through my head when I woke up this morning, well the second after how on earth am I going to piss with this hard on?, was the overwhelming compulsion to play some Olivia Newton-John. I'd like to think that other people are haunted by gay icons in their sleep but I suspect this kind of shit only happens to me. As usual, my first inclination was to give 1978's "Totally Hot" a spin (probably my favourite album of all time) but I decided to go with an 80s theme instead - starting with "Xanadu" and working my way through her 80s discography all the way to "The Rumour" (I like to pretend that "Warm And Tender" never happened). Almost four hours later my thirst for ONJ was finally quenched but I haven't been able to get one song out of my mind.
1983's "Twist Of Fate" is something of a forgotten classic largely due to the fact that it had the misfortune of featuring on the "Two Of A Kind" soundtrack. That film was supposed to revive Olivia's movie career in the aftermath of "Xanadu" but it turned out to be an even bigger box office flop despite her much anticipated screen reunion with John Travolta. I'll write more about "Two Of A Kind" and its poorly neglected soundtrack another time (the latter really is quite amazing) but it's suffice to say that the project's only saving grace was the success of "Twist Of Fate". Written by Peter Beckett and Steve Kipner (the man behind "Physical", "Heart Attack" and "I Need Love"), the track became Olivia's 15th and final US top 10 hit. No surprise really given the insanely catchy chorus and perky melody. However, much of the credit must go to producer David Foster, who surrounds Livvy's lovely voice with layered synthesizers, driving percussion and crunchy guitars. Olivia thrives on the new edgy sound and brings an unexpected aggression to her vocal delivery. The song is very much of its time but given the current synth revival, "Twist Of Fate" still sounds astoundingly fresh. 80s pop music doesn't get much better.
Make sure you check out the wonderful video clip (below) in which Olivia dubiously teams black leather gloves with a pearl necklace while singing on some kind of floating pontoon. If only "Two Of A Kind" were half as entertaining! There is also plenty of footage from the film which mercifully saves you from sitting through it. As a final bonus, a very fine looking John Travolta (mullet and all) makes a cameo towards the end. Watching this gem, I can't help but hope that Olivia gives up on her new age chanting and makes a completely age inappropriate pop album. As Kylie once sang, it's never too late to change your mind!