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Xanadu (Olivia Newton John and Electric Light Orchestra song)

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Format  7-inch single
Studio  Musicland, Munich
Recorded  1980
Genre  Disco, pop
B-side  "Fool Country" [Olivia Newton-John] (UK) "Whenever You're Away from Me" [Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly] (US),
Released  June 6, 1980 (UK) July 1980 (US)

"Xanadu" is the title song from the soundtrack album Xanadu, and is the title song from the 1980 film of the same name. The song is performed by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John. Newton-John sings the primary vocals, with ELO lead singer Jeff Lynne adding "parenthetic" vocals in the style of their other songs on the Xanadu soundtrack, along with providing the instrumentation.


The single reached number one in several countries, and was the band's only UK number one single, when it peaked there for two weeks in July 1980. It was certified as "silver" by the British Phonographic Industry. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.


  • Olivia Newton-John - lead vocals
  • Jeff Lynne - Guitar, Keyboards, backing vocals
  • Bev Bevan - drums, percussion
  • Richard Tandy - keyboards
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Louis Clark - strings
  • Kirsty K. version

    In early 1996, two Australian dance performers released versions of the song. Sydney singer Olivia Featuring Paula (on the MDS label) released a dance version first, followed by Kirsty K. (on Central Station Records). Both versions charted on the ARIA Singles and Dance Charts in the first half of 1996.

    New Electric Light Orchestra version

    In 2000, ELO's Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song, with his own vocals, for the box set Flashback and the All Over the World compilation. Though it was billed as an ELO selection, the song was recorded by Lynne with Marc Mann on keyboards, but with no input from his former bandmates.

    Sharleen Spiteri version

    In 2009, Scottish singer-songwriter Sharleen Spiteri recorded the song for a second studio album titled The Movie Songbook which was released on March 1, 2010 worldwide. Xanadu was released as the lead single from the album in February 2010 and has so far made the BBC Radio 2 C-List.

    Music video

    A Music video for the song was added to Spiteri's official YouTube channel in February 2010. The video shows the Capitol Records Building and Spiteri performing the song with an acoustic guitar and one male and two female back up singers.

    Other cover versions

    Karin Glenmark recorded the song in Swedish, with lyrics by Ingela "Pling" Forsman, and released it as a single in 1980. Her version chartered at Svensktoppen for 10 weeks between October 26-December 21, 1980. 1980 also saw the release of Swedish language-recordings by Ingmar Nordströms., Flamingokvintetten and Wizex.

    British indie artist Dev Hynes, under his alias, Lightspeed Champion, did his own rendition of "Xanadu" as a b-side to his single "Tell Me What It's Worth".

    The song appeared on the first episode of the fourth season of the American adult animated sitcom American Dad! "The Vacation Goo" wherein the alien character Roger performed "Xanadu on a cruise ship as he is impersonating Olivia Newton-John.

    Dannii Minogue also covered "Xanadu" for her 2007 album Club Disco.


    Xanadu (Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra song) Wikipedia