Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, November 21st

On this day in 1980: Don Henley was arrested after a naked 16-year old girl was found at his home in Los Angeles suffering from a drug over-dose. He was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of marijuana, cocaine, and Quaaludes. He received a $2,000 fine with two years probation. This incident would inspire the writing of the song “Dirty Laundry” which appeared on his 1982 debut solo album “Can’t Stand Still.”

On this day in 1981: Olivia Newton John started a TEN week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Physical’, the singer’s 4th U.S. #1 went on to sell over 2 million copies, a became a #7 hit in the U.K.

It was released as the lead single from the album “Physical” on September 28, 1981, by MCA Records. The song was produced by John Farrar and written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, who had originally intended to offer it to Rod Stewart. The song had also been offered to Tina Turner by her manager Roger Davies, but when Turner declined, Davies gave the song to Newton-John, another one of his clients.

“Physical” was an immediate smash hit, selling two million copies in the United States, where it was certified Platinum and spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Physical” ultimately became Newton-John’s biggest hit and cemented her legacy as a pop superstar, a journey that began when she crossed over from her earlier country pop roots. The song’s suggestive lyrics, which even caused it to be banned in some markets, helped change Newton-John’s longstanding clean-cut image, replacing it with a sexy, assertive persona that was strengthened with follow-up hits such as “Make A Move On Me”, “Twist of Fate”, and “Soul Kiss”.

Let’s take a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1981:

1 3 PHYSICAL –•– Olivia Newton-John (MCA)-8 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 PRIVATE EYES –•– Daryl Hall and John Oates (RCA)-13 (1)
3 4 WAITING FOR A GIRL LIKE YOU –•– Foreigner (Atlantic)-7 (3)
4 2 START ME UP –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-14 (2)
5 7 HERE I AM (Just When I Thought I Was Over You) –•– Air Supply (Arista)-9 (5)
6 5 TRYIN’ TO LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT YOU –•– Bob Seger (Capitol)-11 (5)
7 6 THE NIGHT OWLS –•– Little River Band (Capitol)-14 (6)
8 12 EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC –•– The Police (A&M)-9 (8)
9 9 ARTHUR’S THEME (Best That You Can Do) –•– Christopher Cross (Warner Brothers)-15 (1)
10 10 THE THEME FROM “HILL STREET BLUES” –•– Mike Post (Featuring Larry Carlton) (Elektra)-14 (10)

11 13 OH NO –•– The Commodores (Motown)-9 (11)
12 14 WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE –•– Diana Ross (RCA)-6 (12)
13 8 I’VE DONE EVERYTHING FOR YOU –•– Rick Springfield (RCA)-14 (8)
14 11 WHEN SHE WAS MY GIRL –•– The Four Tops (Casablanca)-15 (11)
15 19 YOUNG TURKS –•– Rod Stewart (Warner Brothers)-6 (15)
16 18 THE OLD SONGS –•– Barry Manilow (Arista)-7 (16)
17 17 JUST ONCE –•– Quincy Jones Featuring James Ingram (A&M)-15 (17)
18 23 LET’S GROOVE –•– Earth, Wind and Fire (ARC)-8 (18)
19 24 TROUBLE –•– Lindsey Buckingham (Asylum)-5 (19)
20 15 WE’RE IN THIS LOVE TOGETHER Al Jarreau (Warner Brothers)-17 (15)

On this day in 1984: Michael Jackson’s 14-minute video for ‘Thriller’ was premiered in Los Angeles. Directed by John Landis and co-starring former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray. The video (like the song) contains a spoken word performance by horror film veteran Vincent Price. The video was filmed at the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, the zombie dance sequence at the junction of Union Pacific Avenue and South Calzona Street in East Los Angeles and the final house scene in the Angeleno Heights neighborhood at 1345 Carroll Avenue.