Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (#6)

Virginal to Vamp. Such was the transformation of Olivia Newton-John. Some are quick to note that her metamorphosis was a case of life imitating art. After all, she portrayed the same change in her reel role of Sandy in the 1978 film, GREASE.

So audiences could not help but smile, when after such saccharine hits as I HONESTLY LOVE YOU, SAM, and HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW, the Aussie artist suddenly dished out PHYSICAL, which was loaded with sexual innuendo (consider the line: There's nothing left to talk about unless it's horizontally).  Listeners loved the new sound and helped catapult the song to No. 1 for 10 weeks in Billboard's Hot 100 beginning in November of 1981.

If that was not enough, Grammy voters chose PHYSICAL as video of the year, ushering in the aerobics movement all over the globe.  Heck, here in the Philippines, did we not witness June Keithley sporting the same headband as Olivia's as a result?

Here's a live performance of PHYSICAL on the show SOLID GOLD:

Watch out for the continuation of our countdown.  No. 5 belongs to another non-American act, and was named by VH1 as the greatest one-hit wonder of all time....


George G said...

I don't know what it is, there seems to be something in the air because so many people have been talking about this period in Olivia's career (myself included). Can it be the popularity of Xanadu & Grease, The Musicals?

On another note, I love the conceit of making the song Physical, an obviously sexual song, get re-envisioned with a fitness visual because of the parallel connotations. It's kinda genius, actually!

George G said...

(I dressed up as Olivia for a costume ball once. Scary spandex jeans, headbands and everything. Yes, be afraid.)

Norman Agatep said...

Oh, you might be right! I so want to watch Xanadu, The Musical. The movie was campy enough. I bet the stage version is a riot! But yes, somehow the early 80s are much talked about. And yes, the lack of subtlety of the metaphors in PHYSICAL are sheer genius.

You as Olivia? I guess that's better than you as June Keithley! : )