Olivia Newton John, Let Me Be There, MCA 389, 1973
For a superstar, Olivia Newton John had a long strange path to the top. A household name in Australia from the mid 60s, by the early 70s, she found some middling success in the UK, and one minor hit in the US, If Not For You. It was this album that was her first real US breakthrough.
But because she had several albums released in other countries, MCA cobbled together 10 songs from three albums and used 2 year old photography (from the 1972 album Olivia). On one hand, it’s kind of an early greatest hits collection from a brand new singer, but really, it feels kind of like a Beatles album released by VJ Records. There’s no coherent theme, and the songs swing wildly from adult contemporary to rock to country.
Which is why I was able to pick up this neat mint copy for $1.50 at a clearance sale. Olivia Newton John’s pre-Grease records have very little value these days. They’re really not terrible though, and I’m old enough to remember these songs on the radio, so it’s a nice addition to my shelf.
Cost: $2, $239 Remaining
Petula Clark, My Love, Warner Brothers W-1630, 1966
Petula Clark was on a roll. Mostly because her producer kept writing and recording some really great pop tunes that only she got to record. Tony Hatch was to her what Brian Wilson was to The Beach Boys and the hits only dried up when they went their creative ways.
Ms. Clark sometimes gets tagged as being a part of the British Invasion, but she really transcended that label. Her music was much more popular on the Adult Contemporary charts than the Pop charts in the USA, even though she was hugely successful pop-wise. In fact, the title track of this album made her the first British female to have two number one hits in the USA. The follow up single, A Sign Of The Times, barely missed the the top 10, peaking at number 11.
Beyond the hits, though, this isn’t much of an album to listen to. It’s all pretty much a collection of material not strong enough to be released as a single, instead of anything done to advance Petula Clark’s career or music. It’s kind of a shame, because she really can sing, but 50 years on, it is what it is.
Cost: $2, $686 Remaining