Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne has often said that of all the songs he has written,'Xanadu' is one of his favourites, and one of his best. It's probably safe to say that most ELO fans don't share that view, notwithstanding the fact that it was the band's only UK number one hit.
'Xanadu' was recorded in Germany by ELO and Olivia Newton-John for the soundtrack of the film of the same name. ELO drummer Bev Bevan recalls that it was a 'nightmare' to record as Lynne had originally sent an (out of time) demo of the song to the film's producers and they shot a dance sequence to that demo.
'So when we came to record it for real, we had to keep in time with the demo. It was a very frustrating experience, what should have taken a couple of hours took about three or four days.'
Prior to 'Xanadu', ELO had failed to reach the UK chart summit, but Olivia Newton-John already had two number ones under her belt - both from the 'Grease' soundtrack in 1978.
'Xanadu', the movie, which starred Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly (in his final film role) and Michael Beck, was panned by critics and a box office flop. However, the soundtrack album was a huge hit. It went double platinum in the US and Gold in the UK and spawned five top-20 singles, including the title track which reached No 1 not only in the UK but also in several other countries, including Ireland.
The 'Xanadu' single also hit number eight in the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of seven US top ten hits for ELO, and one of 15 top ten entries there for Olivia Newton-John.
1 Xanadu Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
2 Use It Up and Wear It Out Odyssey
3 Jump To The Beat Stacy Lattisaw
4 Crying Don McLean
5 Cupid/I've Loved You For A Long Time Detroit Spinners
6 Funkytown Lipps Inc
7 My Way Of Thinking/I Think It's Going To Rain UB40
8 Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime The Korgis
9 Could You Be Loved Bob Marley and The Wailers
10 Simon Templar/Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please Splodgenessabounds