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The surprising first song that Taylor Hawkins ever loved


Taylor Hawkins was the ultimate embodiment of a rock and roll God: the long hair, the massive pipes, the thunderous rhythms, the love of all things Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen. Along with his brother-in-arms Dave Grohl, no musician was a better ambassador for hard-hitting rock music than Hawkins was.

But when Hawkins sat down with NME in 2016 to share some of the most important songs from his life, the first song that he ever loved went to a very mellow track. So mellow, in fact, that it’s right in the title: ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ by Australian balladeer and future pop superstar Olivia Newton-John.

“I love her so much, oh my God,” Hawkins gushed. “My daughter loves her too – we took her to see Olivia about three or four months ago. She’s just got this angel voice and she was just so hot when we were kids. She was the most perfect woman when I was, like, seven.”

‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ might not have the same staying power as ‘Physical’ or any of the songs from the Grease soundtrack, but make no mistake: Newton-John was riding a major wave with it back before anybody ever called her Sandy. The song was actually Newton-John’s second consecutive number one hit in America after ‘I Honestly Love You’.

Both tracks are gigantic, weepy, schmaltzy ballads, but plenty of Hawkins’ favourite artists made those same kinds of songs when they weren’t messing around with power chords. Hawkins might have technically only been three years old when ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ went to number one, but it still seems to line up perfectly with an impressionable young Hawkins paying attention to music for the first time.

More important than Hawkins’ ability to say with a straight face that he loved Olivia Newton-John was the heartwarming revelation that he also enjoyed Newton-John’s music with his daughter. Music can cross-generational gaps as few other things can, and even a rock God needs to mellow out with his kids every once in a while.

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