Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John

Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John stand next to each other in this black and white photograph. Kylie looks at Olivia adoringly.
Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John
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This historic photograph from the Royal Bicentennial Concert in 1988 features two of Australia’s most successful musical artists, Olivia Newton-John (1948–2022) and Kylie Minogue.

Today Kylie is the highest selling Australian-born artist of all time, but this image, taken over 30 years ago, depicts her early in her career. It was just one year after the release of ‘Locomotion’ (1987), which became the highest selling single of the 1980s in Australia.

In this posed and yet delightfully candid photograph, the uncredited photographer has beautifully captured a starstruck Kylie standing next to Olivia.

Kylie talks about growing up watching Grease (Randal Kleiser, USA, 1978) and idolising Olivia, and it’s obvious from the photo this is a huge moment for her.

The music video for ‘Kids’ (2000), Kylie’s duet with Robbie Williams, arguably references Grease, as does the promotional poster for her movie debut The Delinquents (1989).

When this image was taken Kylie’s career was still taking shape but today there are many parallels between the two women. Each began their careers with an innocent, girl-next-door image which they went on to counter, building a massive fan base despite not being taken seriously by critics for their pop and disco leanings.

Each has excelled in both their acting and singing careers, demonstrating business acumen. Both women also fought cancer and become gay icons.

Notes by Beth Taylor