It’s been a few weeks since the sad passing of Olivia Newton-John, but the music world is still paying tribute to the Australian icon.
The latest example saw the very indie trio of Sleater-Kinney, Courtney Barnett, and Saturday Night Live and Portlandia star Fred Armisen team up to honour the late star. On Monday, August 21st, they performed Newton-John’s 1981 hit ‘Physical’ at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington.
In terms of tributes, their cover fell on the lighter side: everyone donned classic 80s workout headbands, with the typically animated Armisen performing comical aerobics. You can watch the whole thing below.
‘Physical’ featured on Newton-John’s 11th studio album of the same name, released in 1981. Interestingly, the song was initially offered to both Tina Turner and Rod Stewart before the Grease star fully made it her own.
It was an instant classic, spending 10 weeks atop the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to its highly suggestive lyrics and notable music video (it won the Grammy Award for Video of the Year), ‘Physical’ helped cement Newton-John as a pop superstar at the time.
Last week, Imbruglia joined Coldplay onstage at Wembley Stadium to also pay tribute to Newton-John. She surprised the London audience by joining Chris Martin and co. to perform ‘Summer Nights’, sung so memorably by Newton-John in Grease. Imbruglia took on the role of Newton-John’s Sandy, with Martin handling John Travolta’s part of Danny.
Barnett, meanwhile, is currently in the middle of a huge tour of the U.S., set to culminate on September 18th in New Jersey. After a brief sojourn to Europe and the U.K., the singer-songwriter will then return to Australia in November for three special shows with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at Hanging Rock, Victoria (see full dates here).
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