Magic (Olivia Newton-John song)

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Magic Front.jpg
Picture sleeve of the US and Australasian releases
Single by Olivia Newton-John
from the album Xanadu
  • "Fool Country" (US)
  • "Whenever You're Away from Me" (UK)
ReleasedMay 1980
Songwriter(s)John Farrar
Producer(s)John Farrar
Olivia Newton-John singles chronology
"I Can't Help It"

"Magic" is a song recorded by British-Australian singer Olivia Newton-John for the soundtrack to the 1980 musical fantasy film, Xanadu. Written and produced by John Farrar, the song was released as the lead single from the album in May 1980 and topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks beginning on August 2.[4] On August 30, it was displaced from the top by Christopher Cross's "Sailing".

In Canada, "Magic" spent two weeks at number one on the RPM Top Singles chart. The single also reached number four in Australia and number 32 on the UK Singles Chart. It also became Newton-John's biggest Billboard Adult Contemporary hit, spending five weeks at the top of the chart, and also topped the RPM Adult Contemporary chart for a week.[5] Billboard ranked "Magic" as the third most popular single of 1980, behind only "Call Me" by Blondie and "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd.

John Lennon named "Magic" and "All Over the World" by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) as two recent songs he liked in a Newsweek interview in September 1980, shortly before his assassination.[6]

Record World called it an "infectious pop ballad [that] has a big beat production treatment".[1]

In a lawsuit involving the use of "Magic" in a high school musical performance, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit described the song as follows:

"Magic" was an original song in the 1980 musical movie fantasy Xanadu. Olivia Newton-John played Kira, a muse descended from Mount Olympus, who encourages and inspires the male protagonist, Sonny, to pursue his dream of opening a fantastical nightclub, Xanadu. "Magic" plays during their first encounter, reprises first when Kira must return to Olympus, and then again when Kira seemingly reappears as a Xanadu waitress. It is thus used as a vehicle of inspiration for pursuit of one's dreams and love.[7]

Both US and UK B-sides also appear in Xanadu:

  • US: "Fool Country" is one of three single B-sides to appear in the film but not on the soundtrack. This is featured in the nightclub grand opening segment following the film's title track and before its reprise.
  • UK: "Whenever You're Away from Me" (a duet with Gene Kelly), also appears as the B-side of the US "Xanadu" single.

Track listing and formats[edit]

All tracks written and produced by John Farrar.

A1. "Magic" – 4:25
B1. "Fool Country" – 2:29
A1. "Magic" – 4:25
B1. "Whenever You're Away from Me" – 4:22


Additional personnel


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[24] Platinum 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

2011 version[edit]

"Magic (Peach & DJ Dan Murphy remix)"
Single by Olivia Newton-John featuring Wacci
Released22 May 2011
GenreElectropop, dance-pop
Songwriter(s)John Farrar
Producer(s)DJ Dan Murphy, Steve Peach
Olivia Newton-John featuring Wacci singles chronology
"Help Me to Heal"
"Magic (Peach & DJ Dan Murphy remix)"
"When You Wish upon a Star"
Music video
"Magic (Peach & DJ Dan Murphy remix)" on YouTube

"Magic (Peach & DJ Dan Murphy remix)" is a remix of the song. In May 2011, it was remixed by two Australians, DJ Dan Murphy and Steve Peach, to create a dance version. Newton-John went back to the studio to re-sing the vocals. The version was sponsored by WACCI, a humanitarian group.

Everybody who worked on the project volunteered their time, with all proceeds being donated to Newton-John's charity, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.

Newton-John was presented the world premiere of the song on the Australian edition of Dancing with the Stars on Sunday May 22, 2011. The song was released exclusively on Australian iTunes that same day.

Music video[edit]

A video was shot for the new remix in Sydney in an attempt to break the Guinness Book World Record for largest cast in a music video by featuring 350 people. Newton-John does not appear in the video, which was directed by DJ Dan Murphy.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[25] 79
Australia Dance (ARIA) 19

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. 24 May 1980. p. 1. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  2. ^ Smith, Troy L. (13 May 2021). "Every No. 1 song of the 1980s ranked from worst to best". Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  3. ^ Sendejas Jr., Jesse (7 August 2014). "The '70s' Seven Sexiest Soft-Rock Songs". Houston Press.
  4. ^ "The 15 best Olivia Newton-John songs" Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2023-03-29.
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Did John Lennon love the soundtrack to Xanadu ? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums". 1 September 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Tresóna Multimedia, LLC v. Burbank High School Vocal Music Association et al" (PDF). 24 March 2020. p. 20. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 217. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada" (PDF). 26 July 1980. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  12. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  13. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 182.
  15. ^ "Top 100 1980-08-16". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  16. ^ "Canadian Digital Song Sales: Week of August 20, 2022". Billboard. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  17. ^ "CU.S Digital Song Sales: Week of August 20, 2022". Billboard. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  18. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1980". Kent Music Report. 5 January 1981. Retrieved 17 January 2022 – via Imgur.
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  20. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1980 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 31 December 1980. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 20, 1980: TIA-10
  23. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Billboard Vol. 94, No. 23: Majors Flight Economics with Quirky Rock Originals". Billboard. 6 December 1982. p. A-NZ 8. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Trove - Archived webpage" (PDF). Trove. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  26. ^ Stimulator signs deal with Macy's for their "Find Your Magic" campaign
  27. ^ "Hot Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  28. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External links[edit]