Thursday, April 07, 2005

Dare You Go There?

Who among you in the audience is old enough to remember this song?

*play music*

A place / where nobody dared to go…!

*stop music*

Yes folks, that was ONJ with ELO singing the title track from a movie made in the early 80s. ONJ? That’s Olivia Newton-John. ELO? That’s Electric Light Orchestra. The movie and the title track? Xanadu.


For me, that song has such happy memories attached to it. It was the number one song in my personal music charts for quite a long time back in high school. It featured two of my favorite acts then (nowadays I’ve outgrown Olivia but I still like ELO). There was even a Xanadu dance contest in one of the noontime shows (either Eat Bulaga or Student Canteen). The movie really sucked, but I liked the opening credits: to the tune of ELO’s “I’m Alive,” the seven(?) muses in Greek mythology scattered all over Earth in a (then) dazzling display of movie special effects—a long, comet-like stardust tail trailing behind each Muse.

And who can forget the climactic, bombastic ending of the song? Xanadooo-hoooo-hooooooooooooooooo! It doesn’t sound as if ONJ’s pipes were augmented electronically in the studio, so that makes her ascending ending even more impressive. What a grandiose, pompous flourish in the end! In the dance contest, the competitors had no choice but to end their dance with a lift. I mean, what else can one do, right? The song mandated the lifting in the end.

I bought the cassette back then, but it eventually disappeared like most old cassette tapes do. For the longest time I couldn’t find the soundtrack anywhere. When CDs came out I thought maybe one day I’ll be able to find a copy. For years I kept my eyes peeled for it every time I visited the record store, but to no avail. It was only 3 years ago that I found a copy of the soundtrack on CD—and it wasn’t even brand new. No matter. I grabbed it immediately before it disappeared again. (I remember there were two other copies on-shelf, but I didn’t want to take a chance.)

Nowadays the song is in my iTunes. So now whenever I want to go to “a place where nobody dared to go,” it’s just a click away.