Newton-John, Olivia - 1978 Totally Hot


ARTIST: Newton John, Olivia
ALBUM: Totally Hot
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1998, Festival (Australia), D 36771


LINEUP: Olivia Newton John - vocals * various guests

TRACK LISTING: 01 Please Don't Keep Me Waiting * 02 Dancing Round and Round * 03 Talk To Me * 04 Deeper Than The Night * 05 Borrowed Time * 06 A Little More Love * 07 Never Enough * 08 Totally Hot * 09 Boats Against The Current * 10 Gimme Some Lovin'



While many point to 'Physical' as Olivia shedding her wholesome image to sexy pop diva, the transformation really happened three years prior. By mid 1977 Olivia Newton John's success as an AC/Country songstress was beginning to grow tiresome.

The music industry had changed considerably with arena rock, disco and punk in full fledge stages. It was evident that it was only time that Olivia would change directions as well. 1978 was a big year for Australia's then girl-next-door. In July of that year Olivia played 'Sandy' in the screen adaptation of Grease.

The film became the biggest box office draw of 1978 and it's soundtrack still sells oodles to this day. Just as Olivia's 'Sandy' character transformed from a wholesome high school prude (she was 29 at the time!!) to a 'Totally Hot' spandex sexy at the end of the film, her musical transformation wasn't too far off as well.

'Totally Hot' released in November 1978 was Olivia's first foray into pop/rock.

'Hot' could be viewed as a continuation of the sexy 'Olivia' that was unveiled months earlier in Grease. Clad in tight black leather on the cover,
'Totally Hot' demonstrated a more aggressive sound from the twangy country/AC strains of her past.

While Olivia's career would go onto an even more obvious image and musical transformation well into the 80's, the John Farrar (The Shadows) produced 'Totally Hot' in my opinion is her best from this period.

The Songs

The album begins on a high note with the stunning 'Please Don't Keep Me Waiting'. Clocking in at almost 6-minutes, the melody and Olivia's vocals send shivers up the spine to this day.

Unfortunately momentum is lost with 'Dancing Round and Round' which harkens back to the light country fluff of her past.

The sassy Olivia penned 'Talk To Me' gets things back on track with help from the guitar of Steve Lukather and David Foster tickling the ivories.

'Deeper Than The Night' is very catchy and written by Thomas Righter Snow who has been responsible for a grip of hits from Leo Sayer to Selena among others.

The brilliant 'A Little More Love' is another highlight written by John Farrar. Farrar's work with Olivia is well documented and 'Hot' contains some of his best work.

In fact the Farrar penned 'Never Enough' may be the best song he has ever written IMO (with help of the dynamic duo of Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer) - this is a beautiful ballad that continues to make the ole 'guilty pleasure' category on my Zen (MP3) player. A tearjerker indeed.

'Totally Hot' includes two covers, The Eric Carmen penned 'Boats Against The Current' and Spencer Davis Group's 'Gimme Some Lovin'. The later sounds strained and is perhaps the album's weakest moment.

While not exactly AOR or even rock by any means, 'Totally Hot' should be an essential part of any collection.

In Summary

'Totally Hot' became her first solo Top 10 album since her 1975 hit 'Have You Never Been Mellow' (yuck!) and spawned three singles.

Olivia began the 80's by releasing a duet with Andy Gibb from his excellent 'After Dark' album, and by starring in the musical 'Xanadu'.

The movie may of been a critical failure, but its soundtrack went double platinum, boasting a slew of hit singles like 'Suddenly' with Cliff Richard and the title-track with ELO.

In 1981, Olivia became even more of a 'sex symbol' for what would become her most successful album 'Physical'. While the title track became one of the biggest songs of the 80's, the material lacked the substance that can be found here on 'Totally Hot'.

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