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: