It was September 28, 1981, when Olivia Newton-John released "Physical." The high-energy song soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, holding onto the #1 spot for an impressive ten weeks straight. THe chart run makes "Physical" the biggest biggest single of the entire Totally '80s decade.
Visionary music video director Brian Grant explained the inspiration and creative process behind the song's wildly popular music video in a 2018 interview: "When it came to coming up with the idea, my partner Scott Millaney put me together with a writer, Marcelo Anciano, on a plane to Los Angeles. He put us up in a famous hotel on Sunset Boulevard called the Chateau Marmont, and told us we'd be her for two weeks, and that we wouldn't come out until we had written a concept for every single one of the ten tracks on the Physical album. This was a big task in that amount of time, so Marcelo and I threw them all up in the air, flipped a coin and split them all in half."
Grant ended up with the responsibility for brainstorming a video concept for the album's title track. He thought it might be interesting to put a comedic spin on the song's overt sexuality: "I do remember going to Capitol Records with this as the concept, and having a whole pile of executives in this meeting room. Despite everybody else kind of thinking it was a terrible idea, Olivia Newton-John said it was a good idea."
With the singer's support they made the video. Much to Grant's delight, it went on to become everything he'd dreamed and more: "Lo and behold, 'Physical' became her biggest hit. It spent ten weeks at #1, the video went all over the place and she gained a whole new audience, including gay men. I won the first music video Grammy ever awarded to a director. All due to throwing cares to the wind, a bit of luck and serendipity."