Physical is a 1981 MCA Records studio album by Olivia Newton-John. It is her most successful studio album, being certified double Platinum in the US. The title track, written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, spent ten weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 matching the then record of most weeks at No. 1 held by Debby Boone's You Light Up My Life. The single was certified Platinum and it ultimately ranked as the biggest song of the decade. (In 2008, Billboard ranked the song No. 6 among all songs that charted in the 50-year history of the Hot 100.) The Physical album spawned two more singles, Make a Move on Me (No. 5 Pop, No. 6 AC) and Landslide (No. 52 Pop).
"Physical" earned Newton-John her only placements ever on the R&B Singles (No. 28) and Albums (No. 32) chart. Newton-John received her fifth Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female for the title track.
The provocative lyrics of the title track prompted two Utah radio stations to ban the single from their playlists. (In 2010, Billboard magazine ranked this as the most popular single ever about sex.) To counter its overtly suggestive tone, Newton-John filmed an exercise-themed video that turned the song into an aerobics anthem (and made headbands a fashion accessory outside the gym). Newton-John became a pioneer in the nascent music video industry by recording a video album for the Physical album featuring videos of all the album's tracks and three of her previous hits, A Little More Love, Hopelessly Deovted To You and Magic. The video album earned her a fourth Grammy and was aired as an ABC prime time special, Let's Get Physical, becoming a Top 10 Nielsen hit. The home video version, "Olivia Physical," reached No. 11 on the Billboard VHS Sales chart and No. 18 on the Billboard Video Rentals chart. (Although the video album is presently out of print, the videos are available on Newton-John's Video Gold 1 collection.)
The success of Physical prompted Newton-John to return to touring - her first since the release of her 1978 album Totally Hot. (Newton-John would not tour again until 1999.) In 2010, Universal Music Japan re-released the album with two additional tracks, Heart Attack and Tied Up, which were originally recorded for and released as singles from Newton-John's 1982 album, Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2.
The album was also certified Gold in the UK. Purchase the CD on Amazon.
1. Landslide (John Farrar) – 4:21
2. Stranger's Touch (Farrar, Steve Kipner) – 3:48
3. Make a Move on Me (Farrar, Tom Snow) – 3:15
4. Falling (Farrar) – 3:43
5. Love Make Me Strong (Terry Britten, Sue Shifrin) – 3:06
1. Physical (Steve Kipner, Terry Shaddick) – 3:44
2. Silvery Rain (Hank Marvin) – 3:38
3. Carried Away (Barry Gibb, Albhy Galuten) – 3:46
4. Recovery (Farrar, Tom Snow) – 4:17
5. The Promise (The Dolphin Song) (Olivia Newton-John) – 4:39
Olivia Newton-John: Vocals
Steve Lukather: Guitar on "Physical", Acoustic Guitar on "Carried Away"
John Hobbs: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Michael Boddicker: Polymoog
Bill Cuomo: Synthesizer
Tom Snow: Prophet Synthesizer on "Make a Move on Me" and "Recovery", Piano on "Carried Away"
John Farrar: Guitar, Vocoder, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Carlos Vega: Drums & Timpani
Lenny Castro, Victor Feldman: Percussion
Gary Herbig: Horns
Produced by John Farrar & Steve Kipner
Engineered by William Bowden
Recorded and Mixed by David J. Holman
Mastered by Doug Sax & Mike Reese
Photography by Herb Ritts
Album Charts Peak position
United States (Billboard 200) #6
Billboard Top R&B Albums #32
Australia (ARIA Charts) #3
United Kingdom (UK Album Charts) #11
Canada (Canadian Albums Chart) #3
New Zealand (RIANZ) #8
Japan (Oricon Charts) #5