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Olivia Newton-John - Physical (1981)

  • Video Views 2,545,597
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.32
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Physical" is a song recorded by English-born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John for her twelfth studio album Physical ...

"Physical" is a song recorded by English-born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John for her twelfth studio album Physical (1981). It was released as the lead single from the album on 28 September 1981, by MCA Records. The song was produced by John Farrar and written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, who had originally intended to offer it to Rod Stewart. The song had also been offered to Tina Turner by her manager Roger Davies, but when Turner declined, Davies gave the song to Newton-John, another of his clients.

"Physical" was an immediate smash hit, shipping two million copies in the United States, where it was certified Platinum and spent 10 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Physical" ultimately became Newton-John's biggest hit and cemented her legacy as a pop superstar, a journey that began when she crossed over from her earlier country pop roots. The song's suggestive lyrics, which even caused it to be banned in some markets, helped change Newton-John's longstanding clean-cut image, replacing it with a sexy, assertive persona that was strengthened with follow-up hits such as "Make a Move on Me", "Twist of Fate" and "Soul Kiss".

Music video

The controversial music video that was released to promote the single featured Newton-John in a gym with well-built men in the last half. Some of the scenes have sexual subtext, such as the shower scene or when Newton-John rubs herself on the men.

The accompanying music video for "Physical", directed by Brian Grant, features Newton-John in a tight leotard trying to make several overweight men lose weight. The men fail comically and Newton-John leaves the room to take a shower. When the men work out on their own, they suddenly transform into muscular, attractive men. A stylistic shot shows one muscular man glancing at his overweight self in a mirror. Newton-John is shocked when she returns and starts to flirt with them. Two of the men secretly go out, holding hands, implying they are gay. This surprises Newton-John, as does the sight of two more of the men leaving with their arms around each other. Finally, she finds that the last of the overweight men is straight and they go off to play tennis together.

Reception

The Olivia Physical music video collection, which contained "Physical", won a Grammy Award for Video of the Year in 1983. The video was featured on VH1's Pop-Up Video and was the first video to air on Beavis and Butt-head.

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