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From the archives: Remembering when Olivia Newton-John played the Allentown Fair

The Morning Call
The Morning Call
 2022-08-09
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Olivia Newton-John played the Allentown Fair in 1974. The Morning Call/TNS

Many big names have played the Allentown Fair over the years, and Olivia Newton-John was among them.

The actress and singer died Monday after a decades-long battle with breast cancer. She was 73.

Newton-John played the Fair back-to-back years in 1974 and 1975. During her first appearance Aug. 4, 1974, she backed country singer Charlie Rich.

A review of the show published in the next day’s Morning Call described her performance as “a real bonus to the show, and in the opinion of some, the best part.” The concert took place in torrential rains, and Newton-John later said she “almost drowned to death.”

One year later, a crowd of more than 14,000 people — split between two shows — gave the singer standing ovations when she returned for the fair’s preview night, according to The Morning Call. That show took place in dry but much warmer weather.

The newspaper’s review of the show said the singer, “considered the best female country music vocalist in the nation,” had “improved her style considerably” since her last appearance. Her two grandstand shows that year set a record at the time for turnout for a performance on a single night.

Newton-John would later return to the Lehigh Valley for performances at the State Theatre in Easton.

You can view newspaper clippings of her Allentown Fair performances below:

1974

1975

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