Hero or Villain? John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John


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The Independent Online

You got chills, they're multiplyin'. Course they are. Because you've just heard about the latest plans from John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John to release a, ahem, "heartwarming" Christmas album. And it's enough to send a shiver down the spine.

No one who saw Grease, that great monument to twentysomethings playing schoolkids, can have failed to find the toothsome duo's greatest moment electrifyin'. Together, they could have lit up the National Grid, Travolta with his smooth slick of hair and snake-hipped moves; the Neutron Bomb with her sewn-on satin trousers and bubble perm. But these days?

Neither's exactly past it – the Italian stallion is still going strong at 58 and the Aussie minx looks barely older than she did at Rydell High, despite her 64 years – but trying to recreate that magic almost 35 years on would require rather more creative va-va-voom than a single original song from the man who wrote "You're the One That I Want" and guest schmaltz from Kenny G and Cliff Richard. OK, the album will also feature Barbra Streisand, Chick Corea, Tony Bennett, and the Count Basie Orchestra, but if we've got Danny and Sandy, we want Rizzo and Frenchy on this comeback, too, but where are they?

What can we expect from this delight? "My desire was to make This Christmas an intimate album," says Travolta. Ooh, get the candles …. "Nothing too ostentatious or showy." Oh. Shame.

"With our busy schedules [really?], I don't know how we got it done," reveals Olivia, probably giggling. "When we're together we have a good laugh and feel bonded to one another." Well, that's nice. As, obviously, is the fact that all proceeds go to charity. But did we ever expect anything else of perfect little Sandra Dee?

"It's a project we're hoping turns into a perennial," she adds. Agh! No! How many versions of "Silent Night" could we need? Were they to do a summer-lovin' album, of course, well-a, well-a, well-a, tell me more ….