Xanadu: A Place Where Few Dared to Go

© 1980 Universal Pictures

© 1980 Universal Pictures

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph the sacred river ran, through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

On August 8, 1980 the musical fantasy Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and Michael Beck opened in theatres nationwide. All summer long, I was filled with anxious anticipation for Olivia Newton-John’s feature film follow-up to the mega-hit Grease. While I enjoyed a good movie, my attention was mostly focused on the musical soundtrack of the upcoming film, which I’d read was to feature an entire side of ONJ tunes, plus half an album’s worth of tracks by Electric Light Orchestra. By this time, I’d long been an Olivia fan, but now I was at the height of my fandom for ELO. Therefore, the Xanadu soundtrack was a highly coveted treasure chest of jewels by two of my favorite artists.

I remember watching an episode of the Midnight Special hosted by ONJ, that featured her performing her current hit single “Magic” (the lead-off track from the soundtrack), as well as a mesmerizing rendition of the yet to be released ballad “Suspended in Time” (now my all-time favorite ONJ track), as well as showing an enticing clip of Xanadu. After seeing that, I was totally captivated. [Read Full Feature]

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