Song of the Day #2,995: ‘Physical’ – Olivia Newton-John

physical_olivia_newton_johnWhile I’m on the subject of Olivia Newton-John, I kind of have to give a nod to ‘Physical,’ the 1981 single that spent ten weeks at #1.

This song, which signaled a distinct change of style for the wholesome Newton-John, spent more time at #1 than any other 1980s single.

In 1981, ‘Physical’ was considered racy enough to spark controversy and it was banned from certain radio stations because of its sexual references (apparently a reference to getting “horizontal” was just too suggestive back then). How far we’ve come.

My memory of this video is so different than the reality I unearthed in YouTube. I recall a much more suggestive outfit on Newton-John than this fashion nightmare of a leotard. I guess this is what passes for sexy to a 10-year-old brain.

I’m also struck by the utter whiteness of the cast. If a video like this was shot today, there’s no question you’d have a black guy, an Hispanic or two, maybe a Pacific Islander thrown in for kicks. But in the 80s, producers had no qualms about the complete lack of representation of minorities.

I’m ashamed to say I never noticed. When I watch movies I loved as a teen (the entire John Hughes filmography, for instance), I’m now stunned by the lack of non-white faces. Back then it didn’t phase me, even though I had plenty of non-white friends. That’s embarrassing. It’s also what I suspect Trump supporters are longing for when they hear the phrase “Make America great again.”

But enough socio-political discussion. Let’s enjoy Olivia Newton-John at her most scandalous!

[Verse 1]
I’m saying all the things that I know you’ll like
Making good conversation
I gotta handle you just right
You know what I mean
I took you to an intimate restaurant
Then to a suggestive movie
There’s nothing left to talk about
Unless it’s horizontally

[Chorus] (x2)
Let’s get physical, physical
I wanna get physical
Let’s get into physical
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

[Verse 2]
I’ve been patient, I’ve been good
Tried to keep my hands on the table
It’s gettin’ hard this holdin’ back
If you know what I mean
I’m sure you’ll understand my point of view
We know each other mentally
You gotta know that you’re bringin’ out
The animal in me

[Chorus] (x3)

Let’s get animal, animal
I wanna get animal
Let’s get into animal
Let me hear your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,995: ‘Physical’ – Olivia Newton-John

  1. Dana says:

    The scandalous part of this video is the scantily clothed out of shape men who then transform into gay bodybuilder leaving the room holding hands and arms wrapped around each other.😄 That was probably unintentionally progressive for the 80’s.

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