Deep Cuts From 1971: ‘Banks Of The Ohio”- Olivia Newton-John. This 19th century murder ballad- was recorded by Olivia Newton -John for her second album-If Not For You. While it was a hit single in the UK reaching #6- it was a #1 hit in Australia- the single was a flop on the US Billboard Hot 100 only reaching #94. The author of the song is unknown. The song had been recorded numerous times before Olivia Newton-John covered it, by The Monroe Brothers and Joan Baez among many others. It was a popular song during the folk music revival of the late 1950’s-early 1960’s. In the song Willie- invites his young lover for a walk. He asks her to marry him but she rejects him. When they are alone on the river bank he kills the young woman. Growing up I spent a lot of time on the banks of the Ohio- my grandparents lived on the banks of the Ohio.