Song of the Day #3,377: ‘Magic (Live)’ – Olivia Newton-John

We’re halfway through the 30 Day Music Challenge as we kick off week four, and Day 16 is a good one: ‘One Of Your Favorite Songs From a Movie.’

As with so many of these categories, this one can be interpreted in several ways. Should I pick a song that appears in a movie but wasn’t originally written for the film? Some of my favorite filmmakers have worked wonders with the “drop the needle” approach of using popular songs as score. Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese all come to mind among countless others.

Or should I go with songs written specifically for a movie, the same criteria the Academy Awards uses for its Best Song category? Something like Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Philadelphia,’ perhaps.

Going even further, I can pick a song written for and performed in a movie musical, the ultimate marriage of the forms.

I went with that approach, choosing the best song from the 1982 film Xanadu, and one of my favorite songs from that or any era: Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Magic.’

Like every other straight man born in the 60s or 70s, I had a raging crush on Newton-John that persists to this day. This song is one of the primary reasons.

As with most of my 30 Day Music Challenge selections, I’ve already featured this track on the blog, so I’m going with a live version here that includes a nifty, Pink Floyd-esque guitar intro.

Come take my hand
You should know me
I’ve always been in your mind
You know I will be kind
I’ll be guiding you
Building your dream has to start now
There’s no other road to take
You won’t make a mistake
I’ll be guiding you

You have to believe we are magic
Nothin’ can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don’t let your aim ever stray

And if all your hopes survive
Destiny will arrive
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you

From where I stand, you are home free
The planets align so rare
There’s promise in the air
And I’m guiding you

Through every turn I’ll be near you
I’ll come anytime you call
I’ll catch you when you fall
I’ll be guiding you

You have to believe we are magic
Nothin’ can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don’t let your aim ever stray

And if all your hopes survive
Destiny will arrive
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you

You have to believe we are magic
Nothin’ can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don’t let your aim ever stray

And if all your hopes survive
Destiny will arrive
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you

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17 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,377: ‘Magic (Live)’ – Olivia Newton-John

  1. Maddie says:

    So many different directions to take this one, but I have to stick to my roots and answer most genuinely with a song from a Disney movie. Specifically, one of the many Phil Collins’ masterpieces which brought these scenes to life for me:

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    There really are so many songs from which to choose. I’m going with one written for and central to the plot of the movie “Begin Again.” In the scene below, Adam Levine is performing the song in the more stripped down acoustic version as intended by the songwriter (played by Keira Knightley) after Levine’s character had coopted the song and recorded it in a far more pop commercialized fashion. This is a tune that stuck with me when I watched the movie and to which I continue to enjoy listening. https://youtu.be/XjP–sz8_dw

    • Amy says:

      From this lovely film, I’d opt for “A Step You Can’t Take Back,” simply because it is featured in what is by far my favorite scene in this film – and one of my favorite scenes that depicts how music can provide salvation, in this case for Mark Ruffalo’s down and out producer. The song starts at around the 1:37 mark (the second time it has been featured it the film, previously showing up from the perspective of Keira and her friend, the always charming James Corden). However, watch that first minute and 37 seconds to get a sense of just what an awful mood Ruffalo’s character is in when he first hears the quiet strains of the guitar.

  3. Rob says:

    Well, since I’ve already used “That’s The Way It Always Starts” from the great flick “Local Hero”, I won’t use it again. I will however pony up a gem of a track from “Sing Street”, called “Up”. It captures the feeling of falling in love perfectly. Great tune.

  4. Peg Clifton says:

    I am a big fan of opera in film, and one of the most powerful scenes using opera is in Philadelphia when Tom Hanks is describing an aria sung by the great Maria Callas “La Mamma Morta” if you are not chilled by that scene, check your pulse.

    • Amy says:


      Still not a fan of opera, but I certainly appreciate the performances, especially Denzel’s, as I feel it’s always even more challenging to be the less scene stealing actor on the screen.

      • Clay says:

        This scene really demonstrates what a great director Jonathan Demme was. He could take stock film genres (courtroom drama here, and horror in Silence of the Lambs, for example) and transform them into high art.

  5. Peg Clifton says:

    Oh and of course any time A Sinatra song is used in a movie like “Come Fly With Me ” in “Catch Me If You Can” 😊

  6. Peg Clifton says:

    Doug’s choice is Mrs Robinson from The Graduate

  7. Amy says:

    As is likely clear from my diligence in finding the scenes mentioned above, this is my favorite category yet. It reminds me of the very reason for this blog – a place to discuss films and music. When I teach film, I most enjoy having the students analyze songs that include music, as those scenes often are the ones where they best understand what the filmmaker is doing.

    I’m going to include three such scenes, one each for the criteria Clay set above.

    1. A scene that (brilliantly) uses a song we already know well. The fact that the characters in Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film “Almost Famous” also know the song so well is what makes the scene work. As one reviewer said when the movie came out, a filmmaker has to earn a scene like this in order to get away with it. Crowe does, and it’s one of my favorites:

    2. While I can’t say that “Post Mortem Blues” was written for “Longtime Companion,” I feel safe saying that for the grand majority of the half dozen or so people who saw that beautiful film it was the first and only time they’d ever heard it. Therefore, I am using it to represent that second category. This is one of the most powerful final scenes in any film I’ve ever watched, where the remaining friends imagine a reunion with the many, many loved ones they lost to AIDS:

    3. Finally, a movie musical. I’m going with a Pixar film here. So many great ones to choose, but I’m opting for the touching “Our Town,” performed by James Taylor in “Cars.” I defy you not to get a lump in your throat during this one!

  8. Peg says:

    Amy thanks for all the film posts ❤️

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