Physical – Olivia Newton John – 1982

Recently named by Billboard as the sexiest song of all time, Olivia Newton John’s #1 hit Physical spent ten weeks at the top of the US singles chart in 1982.


Yes, I know this falls outside the boundaries of 70s music but I could not help but make a comment on the news this week that Billboard had released their list of The Ten Sexiest Songs of all Time. And this was #1!

What is wrong with people!?!

i asked around

So, I asked around, what did others think the sexiest song of all time should be? Most people had no idea! Of the women who did answer, at least half suggested Rod Stewart’s, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy! What is wrong with people?

surely, there can be only one answer

The sexiest song of all time must surely be Marvin Gaye’s, Let’s Get it On – at least it made Billboard’s list but only at number 5.


Here is Billboard’s list of The Top 10 Sexiest Songs:

1. Olivia Newton-John – Physical

2. Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night

3. Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love To You

4. Next – Too Close

5. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On

6. Donna Summer – Hot Stuff

7. Captain and Tennille – Do That To Me One More Time

8. Madonna – Like A Virgin

9. Exile – Kiss You All Over

10. Rod Stewart – Do Ya Think I’m Sexy

physical fax

  • Physical was released in September 1981.
  • Physical immediately sold two million copies in the US, was certified Platinum, and spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at #7 in the UK.
  • Physical was Olivia’s biggest American hit and was nominated for a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy. The winner was Lena Horne with Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Olivia was nominated the next year also, with Heart Attack, and missed out again.
  • Physical may have missed out on the Grammy but it was the most successful song the entire decade of the 1980s.
  • The well-known Physical guitar solo is performed by Toto guitarist Steve Lukather.
  • Olivia may have recorded the song but it was written with Rod Stewart in mind – Olivia grabbed it before the writers could offer it to him.
  • Physical is ranked at #1 on Billboard’s Sexiest songs of all time and #6 on their list of the greatest 100 songs of all time. It was also named at #39 on AOL’s list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever. AOL stated that,

An entire generation’s leg-warmered, pastel spandex shame is laid bare in just under four minutes.

  • Kylie Minogue recorded a cover of the song for the soundtrack to the 2001 film Moulin Rouge! but it was not used. Bill Murray gave an impromptu performance of the song on the pilot episode of Late Night with David Letterman and Steve Carell and Amy Ryan sang a parody of Physical in an episode of The Office.
  • Physical lyrics.

physical – olivia newton-john – 1982 – video

physical – olivia newton-john – 1982 – LIVE video

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10 Responses to Physical – Olivia Newton John – 1982

  1. Miki says:

    My sexiest is Natural Woman – I’m old enough to remember the Aretha version and recently heard it by Adele but my favourite still has to be Carole and it is her song after all!

    • Greg.K. says:

      Hadn’t thought of that one. I guess it’s a girl thing 🙂 Mind you, there is a guy who sings that song. I think it’s on a James Ingram album….

      • Miki says:

        Eeewww, Rod Stewart also sang the male version – sorry, but he’s another NOT sexy. The version by James Ingram is at least in tune but has too much extraneous stuff – instrumentals, strings and girls backing, but Rod’s old version is gross in every way. Both fail to express any inkling at all of what Carole was talking about and she and Aretha sing it with such soul – you’re right – definitely a (subtle) girl thing, thankfully!

        Thanks for the list – interesting and – takes all sorts of course!

      • Greg.K. says:

        Wow!! you’re a real fan of this song!

  2. Miki says:

    ONJ and Physical – NOT sexy whatsoever – think it’s that headband!

    • Greg.K. says:

      I often think it is not surprising our children look at photos from the 70s, with mullet hairdo’s and spandex tops etc. etc. and ask, “What were you thinking!?!?”

  3. finnattic says:

    The billboard list is abysmal. Guess it depends on how you define sexiest. What about Robert Plant belting out ‘Whole Lotta Love’ in his skin tight jeans (Sorry Miki it’s not too subtle) or Aerosmiths ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’. But go listen to ‘Justify My Love’ by Maddona. It’s gotta be up there. Yes ‘Natural Woman’ was a woman thing and subtle – Carol was writing about her first orgasam or so she claimed.

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