I thought it would be fun to start a column here. Every few weeks or so, I'll be taking a closer look at a different fantastic Olivia Newton-John song as our Song of the Week. "No Matter What You Do" from Gaia will be the first tune. It has been my favorite song since I was a teenager.
The History of the Song
Olivia wrote the music and lyrics to "No Matter What You Do" in December of 1993. She recorded it at The Music Farm in Byron Bay, Australia. She has long owned a home in the area. It's important to note that Olivia was recovering from breast cancer when she wrote and recorded this song as well as the rest of the songs on Gaia.
Olivia had several life tragedies happen at once. Her father passed away from cancer on the same day that she was diagnosed with cancer herself. A little over a year previous to this, Olivia's goddaughter and best friend's child, Colette, had passed away from cancer in early childhood. Also painful was the fact that Olivia had recently lost her beloved business Koala Blue.
According to the liner notes from Gaia, "No Matter What You Do" came to her as she was driving to the recording studio. Instead of returning the negativity that she was receiving in life, Olivia chose to send out very positive thoughts to the negative people and forces that she was encountering. Although she was in pain from the troubles that had come into her life, she chose to respond to that with a positive attitude and a fierce determination to heal. In the song, she wrote, "No matter what you do, I'll send you love anyway."
While Olivia's motivation and meaning behind the song is clear, listeners will inevitably understand the song in different ways. After all, although music in a universal language, it's not always interpreted the same way. For me, this song has always been about unconditional love and a celebration of the personal strength that one must have to love so fully.
Olivia calls herself a "thriver," rather than a survivor, because it's really important to thrive in life, making the absolute best of it! To me, this song captures that loving, optimistic idea better than any other.
The most powerful line of this song just may well be the triumphant conclusion in the song, "If I lose it all, I'll survive, and I'll show from the fall I can grow and go on, and I won't live in fear of the changes it makes, 'cause I've learned what it takes to be strong."
The Music Video
"No Matter What You Do" was the first single that was released from Gaia, and it was the only song from the album to get an official music video. The music video was filmed at Olivia's own home in Byron Bay in 1994. She wears a long floral dress with a jean jacket in the video.
Part of the "No Matter What You Do" music video shows her recording the song in the studio, and other parts show her laughing on a swing, spinning around in joy, and triumphantly raising her arms as she sings some of the joyful lyrics. Unfortunately, this video has yet to receive an official release on Olivia's music video DVD collections.
In addition to the different CD releases of the whole album Gaia in various countries, "No Matter What You Do" was released as a CD single a few times. More specifically, it was released as a Maxi-Single by CMC Records in Denmark as a three-track single that included the Smash Radio Edit, the Smash Extended Version, and the original version. It was also released as a CD single by Festival Records in Australia, Red Bullet in the UK, Bellaphon in Germany, Elap in Belgium, EastWest in France, and Red Bullet in the Netherlands.
There were also various promotional displays of the record album, Gaia, that some fans have collected.
Finding "No Matter What You Do"
You can find "No Matter What You Do" on Olivia Newton-John's album, Gaia, which was remastered and re-released in 2012 with a new cover. Her entire discography is available on Olivia's official website.
I hope you've enjoyed this closer look at an unforgettable Olivia song. If you have any particular song requests, feel free to leave them in the comments, and I'll do my best to cover them in the coming weeks.