Some clever person created the hashtag #TBT—Throw Back Thursday, which I’ve seen quite a bit on Twitter and would appear to be a cutesy way of describing my entire life in four characters. Naturally, at Stargayzing it’s pretty much #TBT every day, but today I have something for you that is especially throwbacky: a vintage performance of one of my favorite Olivia Newton-John songs, A Little More Love, from the 1978 album Totally Hot (and can we please make throwbacky a word?)
When Olivia-Newton John’s demure Sandy got all tarted up in the last scene in Randall Kleiser’s Grease back in 1978, pulses raced. Acting out the eternal madonna/whore dilemma in 70mm, this metamorphosis actually carried some real cultural heft that long ago summer. If the media had used cutesy branded lists like “trending topics”, “hot sheet”, “bullseye” and such in the summer of ’78, Olivia’s onscreen transformation into a slut—albeit a very PG-rated slut—would have been a bright pink post it note on its cover.
For Olivia the scrambling of her on-screen identity—and the world’s reaction to it—must have seemed doubly confusing, as it so clearly had corollary in her own public persona. After the international triumph of Grease which, in numbers not adjusted for inflation, had become the highest grossing film musical ever, fans wondered who was the real Olivia Newton-John, the sweet girl next door or the dangerous sex symbol? The answer was revealed later that year when the Aussie lark released her next studio album Totally Hot: she was both!
The Totally Hot visuals were bad girl Olivia but the John Farrar written and produced music was classic mainstream pop Olivia but with a slightly more aggressive edge. I loved Totally Hot and its first two singles, A Little More Love and Deeper Than the Night, still sound great all these years later.
Here is a great live performance of Livvy having it both ways with A Little More Love and dig that slow motion hair commercial effect, because you know as much as anything else, it always came down to Olivia’s flaxen locks!
You may also enjoy:
“Now That I’m Here, Now That You’re Near!” In Praise of Olivia Newton-John’s Wretched/Wonderful Xanadu
Captain & Tennille-a-palooza!: The Life Lesson I Learned from Toni Tennille, Plus a Recipe for Her Rice Creole Dish in Eating With the Stars
Get Reddy! A Stargayzing Tribute to Helen Reddy Illustrating the Theory of Celebrity Mental Stagnation at the Peak of Stardom!
ToniaJuly 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm
I was 10 that summer of Grease and I knew that when I grew up I was gonna get that bad Sandy outfit.No such luck. I did love A Little More Love also.
David MunkJuly 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm
HI Tonia! It’s really a great song and holds up extremely well, I think. Thanks for checking in. I hope you’ll stay in touch – there is a newsletter you can sign up for on the home page. Just a once a month update so you can read the latest. Thanks again! David
Billy CunninghamApril 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm
Great blog ,mate just love me some Olivia . loved her in grease ESP at the end .she looked like Marilyn Monroe in black leather . what a beautiful woman . just love her. A little more love is a fave of mine and still sounds current today
David MunkApril 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm
Hi Billy. I agree. I think there is something very current about “A Little More Love.” Someone should cover it (though it would be hard to better John Farrar’s production. Thanks for reading and weighing in. I hope you’ll stay in touch. David