Olivia Newton-John Physical Poll. Pick Your Favourites & Discuss.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bobby Morrow, Apr 14, 2018.

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  1. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I never liked the haircut either. I think it was partly 'inspired' by Princess Diana, who was heavily in the news at the time, and also a bit of a re-branding after Xanadu. Although the music of the latter had done well, the film had flopped and she wanted to put that 'look' out of people's minds. It worked too.

    Initially when she first had her hair cut short, she stopped dyeing it blonde too. However by mid 1982 she'd gone back to the bleach.:)
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  2. David G.

    David G. Forum Resident

    Austin, TX
    One of my favorite albums of all time. I have to say that I love the entire album, although I'd be OK if I never heard the song "Physical" again -- overexposure more than dislike.

    For me, the real overlooked gem from this album is "Recovery." It has a bit more of a 1970s vibe than much of the rest of the album, which I like, but I also like the interplay between Olivia's densely layered vocals and John Farrar's backing vocals.
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  3. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I think there is a little filler on Physical... It’s not wall to wall hits. However, the album hangs together really well. There’s nothing obviously bad on it.
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  4. antonkk

    antonkk Senior Member

    Have you heard the John Farrar original. Wonderful song and I love the guitar work.

  5. antonkk

    antonkk Senior Member

    Silvery Rain original. It's interesting how ONJ version is much more Beatles inspired.

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  6. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

    Unless you count the screeches in "Landslide." :p
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  7. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Landslide was always my favourite song, so I never minded the screeches. I realise the song isn’t for everyone, though. It’s quite shrill overall, isn’t it?

    I only ever saw her perform it live once. That was when she hosted Saturday Night Live in the summer of 1982.
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  8. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

    The bridge though is to die for.
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  9. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

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  10. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

  11. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here’s my take on Physical from the albums thread in January 2014.

    Physical October 1981

    'Physical' was undoubtedly the most well-known and successful album of Olivia's career. It was also the best contemporary pop/rock LP she ever made. I prefer the song selection on 'Totally Hot', but 'Physical' was a much slicker affair that sat in the US top 10 for many weeks alongside such acts as Hall & Oates, The Police and Journey. It belonged there too, for although 'Grease' was the highlight of her career, it was an ensemble piece. 'Physical' was her first real 'superstar' album and she held that position with confidence becoming the top selling female vocalist in the world at this point.

    The whole 'Physical' juggernaut was perfectly executed. Almost with military precision. Never had an Olivia album been treated with such reverence. From the smash lead single with it's 'controversial' video, through to the album's release and the TV special and best selling video that followed, everything went according to plan. The preceding 'Totally Hot' album was rush-released at the end of 1978 to cash-in on Olivia's 'Grease' fame, and certainly didn't get the fanfare that 'Physical' did...

    I've decided to do another track-by-track review as this is the last of Olivia's 'big three' albums and I feel it warrants such scrutiny. Whether you like it or not!

    LANDSLIDE- When I first heard this track, I was just as blown away as I was upon hearing 'Please Don't Keep Me Waiting' on TH 3 years previously. At this time, the 'Physical' single was making it's way up the charts and I couldn't believe this hadn't been lead single instead! I still say, in my usual overly-dramatic style, that this was the last truly great song John Farrar ever gave her. It's an opening classic that the album never matches. A fantastic vocal from Olivia. Lord know how she does it... There doesn't seem to be much room to breathe to me! The construction and production of the song is superb and it remains one of my favourite Olivia moments 30-odd years on. I do see now that it's not hit single material... It's a bit too 'full on' and shrill to really become a radio smash, but it's a wonderful accomplishment for Olivia and Farrar. Good video, too. The best one on the show/video album. Doesn't make a bit of sense, but neither did 'Xanadu'!

    STRANGER'S TOUCH- Another superb atmospheric song. I do think this should have been given a single release... A lovely sultry vocal from Olivia and nice BV's from Farrar. Always enjoyed the video as well. Olivia does film noir!

    MAKE A MOVE ON ME- The obvious second single. It's almost Farrar by numbers, though. Even down to referencing (almost) the famous 'Grease' duet in the first line of the chorus. Again, another sexy, breathy vocal from Olivia. The tune is very catchy and the riff excellent. However, it's one of those songs that for all the above points, just doesn't really move me (no pun intended). It feels cookie-cutter-ish and doesn't have Farrar's usual allure and mystique. Huge hit for Olivia, though. I liked that!

    FALLING- I always believe Olivia is at her happiest when singing a good ballad. This song comes as a nice breather after the first 3 tracks. It's a perfect number for Olivia's voice and of course she does it full justice. For some reason the tune has always put me in mind of the sea...

    LOVE MAKE ME STRONG- Well, this has unfortunately become known as the 'weakest' song on side one! Only by the company it keeps, however. The song is actually quite strident and features a nice earthy vocal from ONJ. After 'Landslide', it's probably the most aggressive song on the album. The video featured the nightclub setting that was slightly overused. Olivia really works the song well, though, in this clip.

    PHYSICAL- The song everybody bought but no one seemed to like that much! I admit that when I first heard it I wasn't overly impressed. If it hadn't been by Olivia I doubt I would have bought it... The single was reviewed by notorious Olivia-hater, Sunie, in the UK mag Record Mirror is September. She had this to say: 'The Julie Andrews of pop metaphorically bares her breasts. From the expression in her voice however, she could be singing about Rice Krispies rather than overwhelming passions!' She does have a point with the latter, I think. Olivia's sweet delivery is at odds with the lyrics of the song. Having said that, I think that's what makes it work.. I've heard many artists cover this song and they always growl, smoulder and snarl their way through it. It's a song that doesn't need to be overdone. The lyrics do their job without the singer having to fake an orgasm to prove it! In this, Olivia's version is the definitive one. The song is hugely over-familiar now, but is a cracking pop tune, it has to be said. Makes me smile now when I hear it and think of happier times!

    SILVERY RAIN- Another track that works superbly and the first song Olivia was to sing about world pollution. Very effective it is too. Love the sweet, 'perfect' verses followed by the threatening, aggressive chorus. Even better when she did it in concert on her 1982 tour. It was nice to have a break from the sexier stuff and get something that's 'real'. Great video for it's time, too.

    CARRIED AWAY- Olivia does Gibb! Allegedly rejected from the 'Guilty' sessions, this song is a treat in Olivia's hands. I always thought she had the perfect female Bee Gee voice. It's such a shame there are only a handful of recordings where Olivia sings their songs... Anyway, 'Carried Away' breaks up side two like 'Falling' did side one.
    I can see why it wasn't featured on 'Guilty'... It's a bit similar to the likes of 'Run Wild' and 'Woman In Love', but is a lovely song, perfectly rendered by Olivia. Nice video with O getting physical with a roll of carpet!

    RECOVERY- Another superb song. Another surreal video! This is a highlight for me as I'm a massive fan of multi-tracked Olivia. Perhaps a bit unconventional for a single, but probably the best song on side 2. I think this was the first album where Olivia and John Farrar did all the vocals themselves. No other backing singers are listed anyway. It's shows Farrar's brilliance as a songwriter and producer that he can put something like this together. A triumph, no less. Nice vid. Olivia looks hot when she's getting counseled!

    THE PROMISE (THE DOLPIN SONG)- In one of the few reviews of this album in the UK, it was noted that after all the glossy, calculated pop, it was nice to get something of the 'real' Olivia with this song. On that level, this works, as this and 'Silvery Rain' tied in with what would become her passion a few years down the line. For ages I didn't really like it, and even now a part of me wishes she'd ended the album with a 'Gimme Some Lovin' type blast. But 'The Promise' absolutely deserves it's place on 'Physical' and it's certainly one of Olivia's more affecting songs. And a reminder that the girl who recorded the 'Come On Over' and 'Don't Stop Believin' albums hadn't totally left us...

    The album artwork is obviously outstanding. One of her best ever sleeves. This was a much more natural and less airbrushed Olivia, that fitted the theme of the album and helped wipe the image of Kira from 'Xanadu' from people's minds. Whether they wanted it to or not! The US edition of the LP featured the famous 'sweaty vest' poster which I always thought was quite ugly! That doesn't mean I wasn't miffed when the UK version didn't include said poster, though! Thanks, EMI!

    So, 'Physical'. Great album, beautifully produced and sung. Olivia was never more 'on' than with this album. It was like she was tuned into what the world wanted. I think after this she realised there wasn't much else she could do in this realm and the effort to secure good songs became harder. But at least we have this. Olivia's strongest overall pop album.
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  12. JeffMo

    JeffMo Format Agnostic

    New England
    Screeches are tame compared to Totally Hot. :)
  13. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    I think I only know Physical. Classic song and video, though.
  14. Yost

    Yost “It’s only impossible until it’s not”

    It’s my favourite track of the album, because of those cheesy synths imitating violin stabs. :shh:
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  15. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Landslide was set to be the lead single from the album until they found Physical. Would have been interesting to see how that panned out.. Given the fact that Landslide peaked at #52 in the US when it was released as a single, I’m guessing not very well!

    Landslide did get to #18 in the UK. Her last (non Grease) Top 20 single here. Landslide came out around the time the Let’s Get Physical TV special aired so got a boost from that.
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  16. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

  17. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    One of the best songs/videos on the album.

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  18. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    How about a picture from this era?

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  19. Rosewater

    Rosewater Forum Resident

    I love Physical, it's my second favorite Olivia album that i listen very often, I just love the whole album and cover artwork and there wasn't any bad songs on it, but it took me years to discover that "Silvery Rain" was an original song recorded by Cliff Richard in 1971, but I must honestly say that I think Olivia's version is much better

    Olivia's short haircut has never really bothered me, it was a new way to move Olivia in a new direction and to broaden her style of music, and she hit the jackpot by that. ;)

  20. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. I thought this thread was dead.

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  21. colinu

    colinu I'm not lazy, I'm energy saving!

    Just reading this thread. A lot of comments about her hair. It is my understanding that her hair was in very poor condition after "Xanadu" (there's a scene in the actual song where to my mind her hair looks as dry as straw), that is why she went with the shorter 'do. She may have also not been coloring it to give it and her scalp time to recover.
  22. Mezepokaj

    Mezepokaj Forum Resident

    To me the factor that makes Olivia's version of Silvery Rain better than the Cliff and MWF ones (both good) is that awesome bridge added. :agree:

    And her Physical era haircut might look bad in retrospect (just like the whole video album, actually), but I also agree it was a great move at the time.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  23. WalterHale3

    WalterHale3 Well-Known Member

    Green River

    Good one Bobby,

    This is my first post here and i voted for Love Made me Strong, Landslide, Make a Move on Me, Silvery Rain tracks.
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  24. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    There was an interview in Record Mirror in 1981 on the set of her video album filming. I believe it was Stranger’s Touch they were shooting. When asked about her hair, Olivia said that she “just decided to cut it all off” and added, “filming (Xanadu) had ruined it anyway”.

    It looks particularly bad in Hollywood Nights. Far too blonde and like it was going to snap off in her hands! After that she had it cut a little and spent the rest of 1980 with what looked like a shaggy perm. It looked a bit better but you could see it wasn’t in great condition.
  25. Scopitone

    Scopitone Buys an instant cake and burns a frozen steak

    Denver, CO
    I like all of them but the Dolphin Song and Silvery Rain.

    But mostly, I remember how badly I misinterpreted "Silvery Rain" in the ABA thread. It never occurred to me that it was literally about rain. :laugh:
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