Olivia Newton-John 26.9.48 – 8.8.22


Olivia Newton-John has died:

Born in Cambridge in 1948, Newton-John and her two siblings – the grandchildren of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born – moved to Australia with their parents when she was just 5. It was there that she won a trip to London on television talent contest. The appearance would lead to numerous spots on local Australian programs before she redeemed her prize and traveled back to the U.K.

In London, Newton-John began touring as one-half of Pat & Olivia – her act with Pat Farrar. By 1971 though, Newton-John’s solo career had kicked off. Two albums – If Not For You and Olivia – followed in quick succession, before 1973’s Let Me Be There certified her star status in the U.K. and the U.S. The title track won Newton-John her first Grammy, for best female country vocal performance.

The next year, Newton-John collected two more Grammys, this time record of the year and best post vocal performance, female – both for her timeless hit “I Honestly Love You.” In total, Newton-John was nominated for 12 Grammys throughout her career, winning once more for video of the year with “Physical” in 1982.

Newton-John was also recognized with multiple Country Music and American Music Awards, as well as four People’s Choice Awards.

In 1978, Newton-John’s acting career took off with Grease, in which she starred opposite Travolta as innocent high schooler Sandy. The role earned Newton-John a Golden Globe nomination. 

Two years later, she lead another movie musical, Xanadu, before later appearing with Travolta again in 1983’s Two of a Kind. Despite a few other film and television roles, Newton-John’s focus returned to music.

Newton-John — who received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal in 1979 — wed actor Matt Lattanzi in 1984, with whom she welcomed her only child, daughter Chloe Lattanzi, in 1986. The couple divorced in 1995.

One of the first stars to publicly share their health crisis’, Newton-John revealed in 1992 her first diagnosis with breast cancer. Her battle – which included a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction – ultimately lead to the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne. In the decades since, Newton-John become an advocate for cancer awareness and research.

In addition, Newton-John began as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, and once served as the national spokesperson for the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition. She and Easterling – whom she wed in 2008 – also worked closely with the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research.

Eight years before her death, Newton-John was honored with the Medal of the Order of Australia. . . 

Judith Durham – 3.7.43 – 5.8.22


The Seekers’ lead singer, Judith Durham has died:

. . . Born in Essendon in Victoria, Durham recorded her first EP at 19 and went on to worldwide fame with The Seekers, selling more than 50 million records.

Durham is believed to have died in hospital on Friday night from an undisclosed illness.

As part of The Seekers, Durham was one of the first Australian artists to achieve international success, with songs like Georgy Girl, I’ll Never Find Another You, A World Of Our Own, Morningtown Ride, I Am Australian and The Carnival Is Over. . . 


John Grenell 19.7.44 – 26.7.22


Country music singer John Grenell (formerly Hore) has died.

. . . Grenell, who was born in Ranfurly, had a number one hit single in the 1990s with the Jim Reeves song, Welcome To Our World.

The song was heavily featured nationally in a Toyota vehicle TV advertising campaign.

He also had a big hit with the song I’ve been everywhere which was adapted to feature many place names in Aotearoa.

He performed in several countries and won multiple country music awards. . .

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling


This seemed appropriate in light of Ireland’s first series win against the All Blacks – and having done it in New Zealand to boot.

St John Passion


But what can I do?


Robert Fulghum wonders what he can do about Ukraine and starts with the story of the cellist of  Sarajevo:

To make a long and very complicated story short, the breakup of the state of Yugoslavia resulted in a bitter conflict that became known as the Bosnian War. This was 1992.
A horrible time – many war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape.
At the heart of the conflict was the siege of Sarajevo, which was the longest siege of a major city in modern history.

Enter Vedran Smailovic into the history of that place and time.

Here’s what I wrote about him in my book of essays, Maybe, Maybe Not published in 1993:

“Middle-aged, longish hair, great bushy mustache. He is pictured in formal evening clothes. Sitting in a café chair in the middle of a street. In front of a bakery where mortar fire struck a breadline in late May, killing twenty-two people waiting for food.

He is playing his cello. As a member of the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra, there is nothing he can do about hate and war. Even so, every day for twenty-two days he has braved sniper and artillery fire to sit and play Albinoni’s profoundly moving Adagio in G Minor.
Every day. For 22 days. . . .

You’ll find the rest of the story and Fulghum’s answer to but what can I do by clicking on the link above.

The journal posts stay up for a limited time.

Prayer of St Francis – Make Me A Channel of Your Peace


The woman for whose funeral I was celebrant last week was a founding member of Homemakers and the family wanted the Homemakers’ song to play as they came into the chapel.

I knew nothing about the organisation but as soon as the music started I recognised it – The Prayer of St Francis, also known as Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

It was appropriate for the woman whose life we were celebrating and for these troubled times.


One Voice


Let’s Go and Live in the Country


Meat Loaf 27.9.47 – 20.1.22


Meat Loaf  has died:

Meat Loaf, the hardworking singer and actor whose Bat Out of Hell is one of the best-selling albums ever and who played Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, has died. He was 74.

The Grammy winner born Marvin Lee Aday died Thursday night with his wife Deborah by his side, Meat Loaf’s longtime agent Michael Greene told Deadline on behalf of the family. He added that the singer’s daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends also had a chance to spend time with him and say their goodbyes during the last 24 hours. A cause of death is not being released.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” Meat Loaf’s family said in a statement. “From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!” . . 

Written and produced by Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell is among the best-selling albums in U.S. history, racking up 14 million units sold, per the RIAA. Its singles “Two of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” — which peaked at No. 11 and No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively — both were certified platinum in 2018.

“Paradise by the Dashboard Light” — a duet with Ellen Foley, who went on to star in Season 1 of Night Court — famously features longtime New York Yankees announcer “calling the action” as the teenage narrator makes a move on his girlfriend.  . . 

O Holy Night


Kiri Te Kanawa At Christmas


When a Child is Born


Te Harinui


O Holy Night – O Helga Natt


Away In A Manger


Mary’s Boy Child,


Don Everly 1.2.37 – 21.8.21


Don Everly of the Everly Brothers has died:

Everly and his brother, Phil, had hits worldwide in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Bye Bye Love and All I Have To Do Is Dream.

They were known for their close harmonies, and influenced groups like The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. . .

Te Aroha



ED Musos:Tēnā koutou. Te Aroha is a waiata/song composed in 1983 by Morvin Te Anatipa Simon (Te Ātihanui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Apa, Tūwharetoa).

Here you see it performed by health care workers from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia in June 2020.

We send our love and support to everyone who has felt the impact of COVID-19.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Lyrics: Te aroha Te whakapono Me te rangimārie Tātou tātou

Te Aroha – Love

Te whakapono – Faith

Me te rangimārie – And peace

Tātou tātou e – Be amongst us all

Gerry Marsden 24.9.42 – 3.1.21


The world has lost another great musician:

Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You’ll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of 78.

His family said he died on Sunday after a short illness not linked to Covid-19.

Marsden’s band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in 1963 became the first to have their first three songs top the chart.

But the band’s other best known hit was Ferry Cross The Mersey came in 1964.

It was written by Marsden himself as a tribute to his city, and reached number eight.

Marsden was made an MBE in 2003 for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster. . .

Gerry and the Pacemakers worked the same Liverpool club circuit as The Beatles in the 1960s and were signed by the Fab Four’s manager Brian Epstein.

Epstein gave Marsden’s group the song How Do You Do It, which had been turned down by The Beatles and Adam Faith, for their debut single. . .

While Marsden was a songwriter as well as a singer, his most enduring hit was actually a cover of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number from 1945, that he had to convince his bandmates to record as their third single.

In many interviews over the years, he explained how fate played a part in his band ever recording the song. He was watching a Laurel and Hardy movie at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema in the early 1960s and, only because it was raining, he decided to stay for the second part of a double feature.

That turned out to be the film Carousel – which featured that song on its soundtrack – and Marsden was so moved by the lyrics that he became determined that it should become part of his band’s repertoire. . .

That song topped the charts in 1963. It was often on the radio when I was driving to and from Dunedin Hospital with our baby son in 1987 and listening to it it helped me with those difficult journeys.

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