'The Grease Soundtrack'

October 31, 2019

I have seen some impressive “Grease” costumes during past Halloweens.

Sometimes it’s the main characters in the 1978 musical film, Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson. Other times, it’s Frenchy or Betty Rizzo of the Pink Ladies. The movie is based on the 1971 musical of the same name.

While this isn’t a Halloween movie, I love the idea of featuring the soundtrack before people channel their inner “Grease” characters in costume Halloween night. I scored this record from FWB Vintage Records while picking up a gift certificate. When I saw it, I couldn’t help myself. Now I’m so glad to have it in my collection.

It could really pep up cleaning your house or just provide a fun singalong with friends. I should know because I sang every track to my boyfriend. Poor guy.

It’not spooky, but I still plan to watch the movie on Halloween — along with “Hocus Pocus,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and a few other cute classics if I’m not too tired.

“Grease” is probably one of the first films I ever saw, and I’ve adored it since then. Sandy and Danny are a classic love story — the good girl-bad boy archetype we all know and dig. But their romance would be nothing without the genius songs behind it.

This soundtrack has 24 songs, so I won’t go through them all. Here is a pocket of my thoughts.

 

 

MUSIC

“Grease” is the super ‘70s disco theme song.

Frankie Valli, the frontman of The Four Seasons, is responsible for the funky rhythm indicative of the era.

“Summer Nights” is sung primarily by lead actors John Travolta as Danny and Olivia Newton-John as Sandy with a backing chorus. It’s super catchy and, while it’s not the theme song, it sets in motion the story of the movie. It’s often the first song that comes to mind when I think of the soundtrack.

 

Summer loving had me a blast

Summer loving happened so fast

I met a girl crazy for me

Met a boy cute as can be

—“Summer Nights”

 

The two of them also sing the upbeat pop number, “You’re the One that I Want.” Now this is a fun one to sing. This pair was so charismatic together on screen. I think that’s part of what makes this soundtrack so engaging.

“Hopelessly Devoted to You” is a personal favorite. Don’t tell anyone, but I sang this for a musical audition once. The casting director told me I sounded like a country singer, which makes sense, because I think this ballad still sounds natural with a twang.

Newton-John has such a wonderfully soft, sweet voice that was perfect for this role’s girl-next-door persona.

Travolta did a great job with his character’s ballad “Sandy,” too. I love his sappy “Oh, Sandy” remark at the end of the song.

This is the end of Side 1 of disc one.

Frankie Avalon’s “Beauty School Drop-Out” is my personal favorite, likely because Frenchy was my favorite character. The warmhearted member of the Pink Ladies considers dropping out of high school to pursue cosmetology.

She later accidentally dyes her hair pink and decides to return to school.

 

Your future’s so unclear now,

What’s left of your career now?

Can’t even get a trade in on your smile.

Beauty school dropout,

No graduation day for you.

—“Beauty School Drop-Out”

 

A perfect complement to that dreamy number is the character Rizzo’s crude, mean solo, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee.” Stockard Channing nailed this role, too. The movie’s cast, again, is what gives the soundtrack its “it” factor.

“Greased Lightin’” is a cool, dance-y song that brings to mind the blue-collar lyrics of Billy Joel or Elvis Costello. Other songs on Side 2 are Cindy Bullens’ “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” the instrumental “Alone at the Drive-in Movie” and Sha-Na-Na’s “Blue Moon.”

Nearly all the songs on Side 3 are by the doo-wop group Sha-Na-Na. The movie is set in the summer of 1958, so the harmonic style illustrates the setting fabulously. My favorite of these is “Hound Dog” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. I listened to Elvis Presley’s version often as a child.

The doo wop is fun and has a cool historical context, but I enjoy the character-sung songs more.

Side 4 features Cindy Bullens’ “Freddy My Love,” Louis St. Louis’ fun jive “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Queen,” Stockard Channing’s “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (Reprise),” the “Grease (Reprise),” and the instrumental “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”

A recognizable track on Side 4 is the cast’s “We Go Together.” It’s such an iconic scene in the movie. All the major cast couples have reunited, and everyone celebrates at the fair. I could watch that dance sequence a thousand times.

 

DESIGN

This album packaging is as cute as the movie. I love how the tracks are listed on the back on notebook paper inside a three-ring binder. The vintage photos perfectly capture the film’s aesthetic.

 

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