My pal John pointed me in the direction of this post last night. It was a little write-up about Olivia Newton-John’s 1983 single “Heart Attack.” I’ve always liked “Heart Attack” enough, but I do vividly remember being a little bit underwhelmed by it at first, much preferring it’s B-side, the Physical album cut “Stranger’s Touch.” As one of two new songs on Olivia’s second greatest hits album, it was hanging with some pretty impressive songs.
But for me, I’ve always kind of liked “Tied Up” – the OTHER new song – a lot better.
I had this single too – I remember being a little bit scandalized by it because Olivia’s pants were kind of falling down on the front cover. Little did I know what was to come with Soul Kiss! Anyway, “Tied Up” is one of those generic 80s songs that could have been sung by just about anyone. Lord knows that Olivia’s version didn’t exactly light the world on fire, although it did slip into the top 40 for probably a week.
It also has an amazingly cheesy video. Really, I’ve said it before, but I stand by the assertion that Olivia made some of the cheesiest videos in the history of music video. And I just can’t quite forgive that mullet.
I’m pretty sure that this song is where I learned what “the nth degree” meant. I remember looking it up in the dictionary because I had no idea what she was talking about. Give me a break, I was 11.
What I did NOT know until probably 15 years later was that Stevie Nicks also recorded a version of this. Originally slated to go on the Rock A Little album, it was eventually scrapped and it became one of those zillion and a half Stevie Nicks demos that fans traded on cassette tapes on the days before mp3. Honestly, I love Stevie, but her voice sounds completely destroyed on this demo. As one of the commenters on the YouTube video said, Olivia’s version was sensual, whereas Stevie’s version sounds like cats fighting in a bag.
Perhaps if it had been as glossed up as the rest of the Rock A Little album was, it would be more listenable.
Or perhaps it was just a one time situation. What does it matter?