This Week In The 80’s: Olivia Newton-John Gets “Physical”.
It’s 1982. MTV had only been around for a short five months and was only available in a few markets because conservative cable operators refused to carry it. It wouldn’t be till closer to year end that the attention would pick up. The Top 40 charts are still littered with disco hold overs, country cross-overs and yacht rock. While MTV and the “80’s sound” wouldn’t pick up a full head of steam for another year, there were still glimpses of what was too come on this weeks Top 40 chart the first week of January, 1982.
At the lower end of the chart, we’ve got Loverboy with “Working For The Weekend” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” from The Police. In the middle of the pack, The Go-Go’s are already charting with “Our Lips Are Sealed” while a penultimate song of the 80’s, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, has already peaked at #9 a few weeks before and is making it’s way back down the chart (a widely held misconception is that this Journey song charted in the mid-80’s when, in fact, it debuted in 1981). The Top 10 is full of recognizable 80’s hits: “Centerfold” by The J. Geils Band, “Young Turks” from Rod Stewart and Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You”.
This week’s #1 song, however, is one of the most recognizable songs from the 80’s and one of the first staples on MTV. The video, while a bit comical, is also a little hard to watch. Regardless, it won the Grammy Award for Best Video in 1983 and the song stayed at the top of the charts for a whopping ten weeks. Olivia Newton-John’s outfit in the video sparked a fashion trend for a bit in the early 80’s (you’ll know it when you see it) that people still see as the quintessential look of the 80’s to this day.
This Week In The 80’s is a weekly look at the Top 40 charts with Eric Vardeman. His Twitter handle is @ericvardeman.