olivia
In 1974, on the day of my taking over as head of Irving-Almo music, A&M records publishing arm, Olivia Newton-John called me from London looking for material. I knew very little about the catalog, so I held a song casting meeting to take suggestions from everyone on the publishing staff. After listening to quite a few songs, one caught my attention, “I Honestly Love You” by Jeff Barry and the Late Peter Allen. I was late for an appointment so I had only a chance to hear one verse and barely scan the lyric. We shipped it to London as quickly as we could along along with an idea I had, Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows”.

About a month later, Olivia calls me from Beverly Hills, to say she’s in town and she wants to come over and play me her recording of the two songs I sent, “God Only Knows” and “I Honestly Love You”. I put her on hold and ran through the offce yelling, ” What’s “I Honestly Love You”? Things at the publishing company had been moving so quickly, that I didn’t remember the song! When Olivia came over to my office with her producer John Farrar and played a dub for me…I was almost in tears. The first thing I said to them was, “This should the Record of the Year!” You can imagine my surprise when MCA records didn’t even want to put it out as a single because, “It was too slow!” That’s when Jerry Moss (the M in A&M) let me use his top record promotion staff to break it out of the album. Btw, it did become the Record of the Year!

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