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Olivia Newton-John, Journey & More: Celebrating the Week That ‘Physical’ Topped the Hot 100

The Nov. 21, 1981-dated Hot 100 features numerous enduring classics.

Olivia Newton-John‘s classic “Physical” outperformed imposing competition to rank as the No. 1 hit on Billboard‘s Greatest of All Time Songs of the ’80s chart.

It leads over, literally, every other song from the ’80s, with over 4,200 titles having hit the Billboard Hot 100 during the decade.

But even during its run on the weekly Hot 100, the song by the late legend faced off against fellow singles that have since becoming enduring hits.

“Physical” ascended to No. 1 on the Hot 100 dated Nov. 21, 1981, for its first of 10 weeks at the summit. Its reign was record-tying, equaling the rule of Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” in 1977. The songs share the mark for the longest Hot 100 command of the chart’s first 34 years, until Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” dominated for 13 weeks beginning in August 1992. (Lil Nas X made an even more impressive chart “road” trip: his “Old Town Road,” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, currently holds the record for the most time on top: 19 weeks, in 2019.)

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Here’s a look at the legacy – as measured by to-date radio airplay audience, on-demand official streams and digital sales in the U.S., according to Luminate – of “Physical” and other songs on the noticeably hit-packed Hot 100 dated Nov. 21, 1981.

No. 1, “Physical,” Olivia Newton-John
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 1.8 billion / 50 million / 285,000
In the latest tracking week (Aug. 5-11), the song drew 901,000 official streams (up 595%) and 1.9 million in radio audience and sold 3,000 (the latter two totals up from negligible sums), among gains for multiple songs in Newton-John’s catalog.

No. 2, “Private Eyes,” Daryl Hall & John Oates
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 1.7 billion / 55 million / 404,000
The song became the pair’s third of six Hot 100 No. 1s – the most among duos in the chart’s history – before giving way to the reign of “Physical.”

No. 3, “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” Foreigner
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 2.2 billion / 235.2 million / 793,000
The ballad spent 10 weeks peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100 – the most for a song that didn’t reach No. 1, later tied by Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s “Work It” in 2002-03. “Physical” blocked “Waiting” for the latter’s first nine weeks at No. 2 and then Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes” follow-up “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” prevented it from hitting the top spot in its 10th frame as the runner-up. Foreigner ultimately hit No. 1 with “I Want to Know What Love Is” in 1985.

No. 4, “Start Me Up,” The Rolling Stones
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 4.7 billion / 291.7 million / 1.1 million
The No. 2-peaking classic became the band’s 20th of 23 Hot 100 top 10s.

No. 5, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” The Police
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 7 billion / 162.3 million / 798,000
The song reached No. 3, becoming the trio’s third of six top 10 Hot 100 hits.

Plus, here are 10 other hits in the chart’s top half that week that remain staples of classic and adult hits radio and/or ’80s-based streaming playlists.

No. 15, “Young Turks,” Rod Stewart
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 3 billion / 58.3 million / 322,000
The song rose to No. 5, marking one of Stewart’s 16 Hot 100 top 10s.

No. 18, “Let’s Groove,” Earth, Wind & Fire
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 4 billion / 367.1 million / 1 million
The group landed six Hot 100 top 10s in the ’70s and one more in the ’80s, as this hit shimmied to No. 3.

No. 21, “Leather and Lace,” Stevie Nicks with Don Henley
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 2.5 billion / 151.6 million / 914,000
The high-profile team-up by members of Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, respectively, reached No. 6 on the Hot 100.

No. 22, “Harden My Heart,” Quarterflash
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 2.8 billion / 29.8 million / 360,000
The band’s debut hit climbed to No. 3 on the Hot 100.

No. 24, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Journey
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 11.3 billion / 1.3 billion / 7.4 million
Of all songs from the ’80s in the latest tracking week (Aug. 5-11), Journey’s anthem fared the best (per the Hot 100’s weekly methodology blending streaming, airplay and sales data), with 6.2 million streams, 4.7 million in radio audience and 1,000 sold.

No. 26, “Our Lips Are Sealed,” Go-Go’s
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 2 billion / 75.3 million / 560,000
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ first Hot 100 hit went on to peak at No. 20. It was released from their breakthrough LP Beauty and the Beat, to-date the only Billboard 200 No. 1 by an all-female rock band.

No. 30, “No Reply at All,” Genesis
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 493 million / 9.7 million / 138,000
Many were listening (to answer Phil Collins’ question), as the track hit No. 29, marking the third of the band’s 17 top 40 Hot 100 entries.

No. 38, “Endless Love,” Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 61 million / 132.7 million / 693,000
The classic joined “Leather and Lace” as another collab between solo stars. The former Supreme and Commodore, respectively, spent nine weeks at No. 1 – the Hot 100’s second-longest reign of the ’80s, tied with Kim Carnes’ fellow 1981 smash “Bette Davis Eyes,” after “Physical.”

No. 39, “Turn Your Love Around,” George Benson
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 1.8 billion / 37.3 million / 183,000
The song reached No. 5 on the Hot 100, becoming the most recent of his four top 10s.

No. 48, “Super Freak,” Rick James
To-date airplay, streams, digital sales: 3.2 billion / 235 million / 1.1 million
Notably, James’ No. 16-peaking Hot 100 hit, which became the basis of M.C. Hammer’s No. 8-peaking “U Can’t Touch This” in 1990, has received its latest reimagination via Nicki Minaj’s new single, “Super Freaky Girl.”

Meanwhile, the lasting appeal of “Physical” was reinforced on the Hot 100 just last year, thanks to Doja Cat’s smash “Kiss Me More” (featuring SZA), which hit No. 3, as well as No. 1 on the Pop Airplay chart. The latter credits Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick among its nine writers, as it interpolates “Physical,” which the pair co-wrote.