Saturday, September 4, 1982

Olivia Newton-John charted with “Heart Attack”

Heart Attack

Olivia Newton-John

Writer(s): Paul Bliss, Steve Kipner (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 4, 1982

Peak: 3 US, 2 CB, 5 RR, 46 UK, 2 CN, 22 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.36 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Olivia Newton-John had her first hit in 1971 with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “If Not for You.” The song was a top-10 in the UK (where she was born) and Australia (where she was raised). It also reached #25 in the United States, where she would experience crossover success on the pop, country, and adult contemporary charts throughout the decade.

Her career leapt into the stratosphere in 1978 when she starred opposite John Travolta in the blockbuster-movie version of Grease. After that, she moved farther away from country and fully embraced pop with #1 hits like “Magic” and “Physical.” The latter spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the biggest #1 hit of the decade.

So what does one do after reaching the pinnacle of her career? Olivia released a greatest-hits album – her second actually. The first celebrated her country/adult contemporary era up to the Grease soundtrack while the follow-up, Olivia’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, gathered her eight top-40 hits from 1978 to 1982 alongside a couple of new tracks.

One of the newbies was “Heart Attack.” It wouldn’t match the heights of “Physical,” but it did reach a respectable #3 on the pop charts and made it clear Olivia’s career wasn’t quite over yet. She logged four more top-40 hits through the mid-80s, including the top-5 hit “Twist of Fate.” “Heart Attack” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

On a personal note, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the same month as it appeared on my first personal chart (September 18, 1982). That first week, Olivia Newton-John ranked as my favorite artist and Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 would be my #1 album by month’s end. When I tallied the biggest hits of the year just a few months later, “Heart Attack” came in at #3.


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First posted 6/29/2022; last updated 8/6/2022.

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