12
Aug 08

JOHN TRAVOLTA AND OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – “Summer Nights”

FT + Popular41 comments • 3,739 views

#427, 30th September 1978

“Summer Nights” brings into focus the differences between pop on stage and pop on single: its structure, building and building and getting more cacophonous and then peaking into a languid fade, is a really unusual one for a pop single, but immediately recognisable as a musical ensemble number. That’s what it was bought as, anyhow – another massive Grease hit, from the other end of the story, and this one a survivor of the original stage version. As such it’s trying to channel the 50s more directly than “You’re The One That I Want”, nodding especially to the call-and-response minidramas of classic Shangri-La’s.

The comparison doesn’t really help “Summer Nights” – the gender comedy here (guys be exaggeratin’!) is pretty crude compared to the wit and spark of, say, “Give Him A Great Big Kiss”: there’s a whole world of heat implicit in that song’s “close…very, very close”  which Danny and Sandy’s knockabout contrasts can’t get near. But it’s not like 90% of the songs we’ll meet are in that league, and if “Summer Nights” doesn’t really get beyond sexual panto, it delivers that with real aplomb. It’s not just the constant build-up that’s odd for a pop single: the structure is cleverer than most, two separate conflicting narrators making for a curious duet-that-isn’t. (This structure was borrowed last year for Teenagers’ “Homecoming”, which manages to make “Summer Nights” seem as delicate and finely observed as Jane Austen.)

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Comments

  1. 1
    SteveM on 12 Aug 2008 #

    One mark below my prediction once again. I thought the big lift and breakdown at the end might give this a n edge over YTOTIW somehow.

    “Louis St. Louis…oh no, we gotta go…”

  2. 2
    Tom on 12 Aug 2008 #

    I think of the two I like YTOTIW more.

  3. 3
    DJ Punctum on 12 Aug 2008 #

    Apart from “Greased Lightning,” “Summer Nights” was the only hit single from the Grease soundtrack to be taken directly from the original stage show. There is a logic to this, in that songs like “Look At Me (I’m Sandra Dee)” or “Freddy My Love” were never likely to go platinum on their own. However, “Summer Nights” is far more audibly in the tradition of the Broadway musical than “You’re The One That I Want” and therefore represents a step backwards – literally, since it appears near the beginning of the film.

    If American Graffiti reinterpreted The Fifties as pre-Vietnam rite of passage, and Happy Days converted that into Ozzie and Harriet Nelson with Attitude, then Grease represents The Fifties (though I think 1960 or 1961 to be a more realistic setting, given the show’s general Frankie Avalonism) as filtered through Rocky Horror camp; in the movie, the likes of Eve Arden and Avalon himself make no pretence to taking it at all seriously, but the likelihood that intentional camp is an oxymoron (pace Sontag) confines natural enjoyment to a certain degree.

    “Summer Nights” is, nonetheless, a fine pop single in itself – a double ensemble piece which derives directly in mode and practice from West Side Story (the long “Tonight” sequence in particular, which cuts between the various factions involved). Danny and Sandy have had some kind of a summer, and it may have come to something; but now they are back at school – at this stage, unbeknownst to either, the same school – and are describing their experience; Olivia, demure and bright-eyed, to a group of slightly cynical girls (“’Cause he sounds like a drag”), and Travolta to a veritable Boystown Gang of leather-clad chaps. The song cuts between each perspective and perhaps could even qualify as Baudrillardian pop, with stories and subtexts true only in the eye of the narrator and their audience – Travolta leerily boasts “I saved her life – she nearly drowned!” while Olivia smiles, “He showed off – splashing around” (a venerable device in musicals and this won’t be the last that we see it on Popular).

    As the song progresses and escalates – key changes, more intense choral harmonies and counterpoints – we end up listening to two different stories entirely; Travolta says he “took her bowling in the arcade,” Olivia counters “We went strolling, drank lemonade”; Travolta giddily swoons, “We made out under the dock,” Olivia claims “We stayed out ‘til ten o’clock.” The responses also differ; the girls ask “Was it love at first sight?” while the boys query “Did she put up a fight?”

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter since they are individually so happy; Sandy’s story is obviously far more credible, but her remark of “He was sweet – just turned eighteen” tells us that even Danny’s fake braggadocio is endearing – those eyes, that smile of Travolta’s, encapsulate super-innocence, as in “not guilty your honour.” The song slows down to its climax as the summer ends and they separately harmonise “Summer dreams, ripped at the seams” – the inverse of “Sealed With A Kiss”’s doom – but there is not much room for grieving as they simultaneously breathe a post-coital “Ah” before the falsetto “NI-HIGHTS!” ending, sung with a sense of awe that is triumphantly virginal. The single stayed at number one for seven weeks – the sixteen weeks which Travolta and Newton-John spent together at the top in 1978 was the longest spell spent by a single act at number one in any given year since the Beatles in 1963 – and little wonder; this was essentially Donny and Marie with a tinge of carnal punctum.

  4. 4
    Erithian on 12 Aug 2008 #

    This is one that never really palls – at least now, when it’s not been number one for seven weeks and the pair of them haven’t been at the top for 16 weeks out of the last 22 so that you just want some gobby urchin to rip their photo up on TOTP and… (muffled by sounds of thunderous hopping)

    Ahem. Yes, a great song and so much to relish in both song and video. The juxtaposition of the two singers’ stories, the expressions of those asking the questions (you can visualise Didi Conn and Stockard Channing even now, can’t you?) the odd dance steps on the bleachers, the “doink” of the steel comb on the nose of the guy who asks “can she get me a friend?”, the gloriously daft choruses of “wella wella wella uh” and “shoo-bop-bop, shoo-bop-bop”. It’s joyous and life-affirming stuff, and no surprise “Grease” was voted the best musical ever. Then you get to understand the context once you see the film, that end-of-summer poignancy reflected in the fact that it was the end-of-summer and well-into-the-autumn number one. Good times.

  5. 5
    DJ Punctum on 12 Aug 2008 #

    Number Two Watch: Rose Royce’s divine “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” (2 weeks), Boney M’s hellish “Ra-Ra-Rasputin” (2 weeks) and Travolta keeping himself off number one with “Sandy” (1 week).

  6. 6
    wichita lineman on 12 Aug 2008 #

    My main problem with the song, at least its interpretation as a pop single, is the stagey delivery of the “tell me more” crew – shouting through your nose is so unappealing. Mary Weiss sang through her nose, but she wasn’t trying to project her voice from Cambria Heights to Brooklyn. The vocal ticks (“she was gooood, you know what I mean?”, “those summer….. naaaa-haaaats”) at every turn, like so many swannee whistles and whoopee cushions, are presumably the reason it is so well loved, but I’m sure that even the staunchest defender of show tunes can understand how they could have the opposite effect.

    Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, as discussed before, is a deathless classic. Rasputin, for its revved-up Cossack Burundi beat, also deserved a stint at the top. Not to mention its very of-the-moment pay-off line.

  7. 7
    rosie on 12 Aug 2008 #

    A good old-fashioned show-tune. Oddly enough, both of its time and an anachronism; by this time I don’t think young audiences would have been rushing to the stage show. This is another one that I like but can’t get excited about.

    What a shame Rose Royce never made number one. Both Love Don’t Live Here Any More and especially (for me) Wishing On A Star (which is one of my real toe-curlers) would have graced Popular. Forget the Commodores; that’s soft soul!

  8. 8
    Billy Smart on 12 Aug 2008 #

    “It’s no surprise that ‘Grease’ was voted the best musical ever”.

    Well, it’s certainly no surprise when you consider that it was voted by the same Channel 4 viewers who voted ‘Star Wars’ the best film ever.

  9. 9
    mike on 12 Aug 2008 #

    Wow, did this really not top the charts until late September? A strange realisation, as this is forever linked in my mind with the summer of 1978: for me, a brief window of connection to kids of my own age (and slightly below) in the North Notts village where I spent most of the school holidays. My younger step-sisters, still quite new to the place, availed themselves of me as a social conduit for as long as it took for them to nab a) boyfriends and b) a social life, after which the power structures shifted and I returned to the safety of bedroom-bound solitude.

    But for those couple of months of temporary social integration (shooting the breeze in the adventure playground, singing “Jilted John” with the village metal band down the youth club), when I almost felt like a normal teenager, doing normal teenage things, Grease loomed large (I drew the line at Kiss and sodding “Doctor Doctor” by sodding UFO), and that “Summer Nights” video on the telly felt like a proper, participative event. (Hell, we even laughed at the Little and Large parody.)

    As such, I vastly prefer it over “You’re The One That I Want”, for all the reasons listed above. A clever, witty succession of Good Bits piled upon Good Bits, with a delightfully ridiculous ending: Travolta’s campy “aoh”, and the massed nose-pinching which accompanied the almost Gibb-like “naaa-haaaats”.

    The first half of 1978 was horrible, the last quarter of 1978 was worse, and my timing is obviously totally skew-whiff (late September, really?), but this gets a cheerful 8, for jollying me up just when it was needed.

  10. 10
    Mark G on 12 Aug 2008 #

    First time I heard this, I thought it was from the Muppet Show!

    It was at least a month before it was a hit, I’m sure.

  11. 11
    Pete Baran on 12 Aug 2008 #

    I’m very torn over Summer Nights cos whilst I like it a fair bit as a record, the sequence in the film is so crudely done that revisiting it quite recently made me really turn against the film (a classic where stage choreography is just too much for a film). Its not Danny or Sandy’s fault, indeed the track manages to encapsulate Danny’s bravado and Sandy’s lovesick naivety perfectly. But the two backup gangs over-act their stereotypes so much for comedy that does not need to be there, the song is already nicely witty. And so what had been a favourite I was turned off of.

    Whenever I think of the song now I always think of the T-Birds as Chuck Jones cartoon wolves, eyzapoppin’ and jaws-a-droppin’ just to hear if Danny, you know, kissed her. But as mentioned on the YTOTIW thread, this Sandy is much more attractive than late doors leather Sandy.

    Also from a singalong perspective, whenever you hear a singalong of the “oh – those Suh-hum-mer…” you know you are about to hear the worst note ever song at full tilt at your ears. NIIIIIIIIIIIGHHH-HHHIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTTTSSSS! Its kind of evil. So a 5 for me.

  12. 12
    Andrew F on 12 Aug 2008 #

    Re: the last line – If they’re going to start making songs out of Onion articles, they could at least start with “Mothership accidentally descends on Hootie concert”

  13. 13
    Andrew F on 12 Aug 2008 #

    (last line of the post, rather than the last line of the song, which I think Pete nails in exactly they way they didn’t)

  14. 14
    vinylscot on 12 Aug 2008 #

    Much better than YTOTIW, this at least had some of the period feel, although not as much as the only other John/John duet (with backing from “The Cast”), “We Go Together” which I seem to remember got quite a lot of airplay at the time, and seemed set to be the next single, which never came.

    By the time this hit the top many of us had seen the movie, which came out over here (UK) on the 14th September, and the soundtrack album had been in the charts since early July (although it didn’t hit #1 until October, when it stayed there for 13 weeks!), so I’m guessing people really did like this track!

    Personally I can see it as a bit of fun, and it does have the feel of a true show tune, unlike YTOTIW. My main memory, which still rings true today, is that whenever it is played where there are many groups of people (usually in a pub), someone in every group will always make the “TWANG” noise at the point where the comb is flicked near the end of the song. Sometimes they will even get their comb out to do it. Almost always they will get the timing wrong, and their “twang” never sounds quite as good as the movie’s sound affect “TWANG”.

  15. 15
    thevisitor on 12 Aug 2008 #

    It’s a testament to the tune and the performance that it can shovel so much backstory into your brain without making it feel like hard work. Not a word is wasted. Plus, as DJP has indicated, by making it a duet, you immediately apprehend the disparity of innocence between Danny Zuko and Sandra Dee: “We made out under the dock/We stayed out ’till ten o’clock.” I love it when lyrics cover a lot of ground without breaking into a sweat. The best for that surely has to be The Hollies’ Bus Stop: “Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say/Please share my umbrella/Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows/Under my umbrella.” God, just typing in those words elicits a tingle. Shame it only got to number two, but anyway, I’m digressing…

  16. 16
    wwolfe on 12 Aug 2008 #

    I’m not a fan of “Grease,” as stage musical, as movie, as an idea of the Fifties, or as an example of Camp. The last being defined largely as a way to diminish the humanity of those who had the temerity to exist in the past by portraying them as ludicrous cartoons, and by extension to leech meaning and importance out of history in general. This song is a painful, all-too-typical example of Camp. The only tolerable version is one delivered by the two morning drive-time DJs I listen to on my way to work, who performed as a duet between Bob Dylan and Pavarotti. That had the benefit of delivering a good, loud guffaw, whereas the attitude of the original conveys nothing but condescension and patronizing contempt to my ears. I really dislike this record and what it stands for.

  17. 17
    Erithian on 13 Aug 2008 #

    DJP #3 – it can’t be any later than 1960 because of the gag at the end where the Principal is giving her farewell speech and saying “among you young men there may be a Joe DiMaggio, a President Eisenhower, or even a Vice-President Nixon”. Which character did they cut to when she said “Nixon”?

    With you on Rose Royce, Rosie (that’s easier to type than say…)

    thevisitor #15 – one couplet that covers a lot of ground, from around this time – The Jam’s “Billy Hunt”: “No-one pushes Billy Hunt around / Well they do, but not for long”.

  18. 18
    The Intl on 13 Aug 2008 #

    revisionist history is really something…this blows.

  19. 19
    Dan R on 13 Aug 2008 #

    I think Grease is more palatable as its singles than as a musical. Its ascent to the top (I’d forgotten than C4 poll…) is depressing, when you think that the 1970s was an era where the musical – in the hands of Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Michael Bennett, and many others – was at its richest, most innovative, most artistically complex. It was the era after the ‘golden age’ where the musical-as-pleasure-machine was perfected and before the era of the megamusical or musical-as-money-machine; for a brief moment, the musical became one of the most creatively exciting arenas to work, and all the usual criticisms of the musical (that it is formally banal, sexually repressive, socially conservative, structurally predictable and so on) were being disproved every week on Broadway. And plum in the middle of all that experimentation came Grease: starting life as an overblown am dram production, it went off-Broadway in a revised version, and thence to Broadway where it ran for almost eight years. There are affectionately satirical elements and in the book (more than in the numbers) there’s some witty pastiche of the late 50s era, at least through its many mediations on TV. It bought into a moment of 50s nostalgia which included American Graffitti and of course Happy Days.

    But it’s terribly thin. Most of the songs miss their genre very badly, or do that unctuous thing of mixing rock with showtunes and so ending up with bastardized versions of both. Most of all, though, in its historical place, it’s thumbing its nose, intentionally or not, to everything else happening in musical theatre. In place of intelligently integrated music, we get dangling loose ends like Freddy My Love. In place of plot, we get winking cliché. In place of characterisation, we have off-the-peg familiars. It’s the BritPop of musical theatre.

    The film is better loved than the stage show, not only because it has two hits that aren’t in the theatre piece, but also because it is pretty much the only satisfyingly realized musical film that Hollywood managed to produce between Hello Dolly! – which pretty much ended the classic run of golden age film musicals in 1969 – and, well take your pick… Chicago? 23 years later? The performances hit that level of unreality and archness quite well; has John Travolta ever done anything more roguishly camp – on screen, anyway – than the Greased Lightning sequence from the movie? But I think the film occupies a beloved place because it was defiantly un-smart at a time when the musical was getting the smarts bigtime. There was never a movie of Company, or Follies, alas, and if they’d pulled either of those off, things might have been different. But then, it’s hard to compete with cliché: as Sondheim once said, if the audience walks out whistling the tunes, they could have walked in whistling the tunes. Everything about Grease is predictable; that’s its charm, but that’s why I find it very hard to love.

    Compare it with its British near-contemporary, the Rocky Horror Show, which is superficially doing some of the same things as Grease: but it does so with so much more wit, daring, bravado, and does genuinely clever and witty things with the music that makes anything from Grease seem lumpen and heavy-handed by comparison.

    I’m aware that this sounds very snooty and mealy-mouthed, and I actually like this and the last single from the movie, but as a whole the Grease phenomenon seems to me to stand for defiant uninventiveness.

  20. 20
    Pete Baran on 13 Aug 2008 #

    Dan I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, but not with the way you’ve said it. You’ve identified why I no longer like Grease, its poorly structured, its pastiches aren’t all that good and instead of real plot development it relies on knowing cliches. I think the Britpop reference though misses the point to just kick Britpop (which sometimes, but not always suffered from the similar problems). However I can appreciate Grease as a gateway drug to musicals, and the problem with the seventies era is that whilst there are some genuinely terrific musicals knocking around their relative sophistication made them difficult to sell to what was now a teenage audience. The 1978 film of Hair possibly had a chance to cross over (it has got a number of great, pre-sold tunes after all), but the partial nudity, theme and perceived datedness of its music stopped it. As for movies, the X movie which the spoiler bunny will not let us talk about nailed the coffin shut well and truly.

    The musical didn’t die however, and was kept alive partially by Disney of all people, with its animated films from The Little Mermaid onwards, whilst dance movies took the musicas place (and most of their plots). Moulin Rouge (which I abhor) resurrected them, and Chicago made them critcally respectable, though musicals are still on shaky grounds.

    I think you are also a little unfair about the 1980’s megamusical. Whilst I don’t care for most of them, I think their arrival was a direct response to the musical spectacle no longer being on screen, and perhaps a step back from the over-serious nature of much of the 1970’s musicals. Just because a musical can deal with the rise of Nazism, doesn’t mean it should. (That said I think Cabaret is the last great musical of this period).

    You’re right about Rocky Horror too being a spiritual bedfellow, the problem with many of these films is that they forget that primarily the audience for musicals is a female led family one (something that Mamma Mia! absolutely knows).

  21. 21
    Dan R on 13 Aug 2008 #

    Thanks Pete, you make realy interesting points. You’re right, of course, that Grease is one of the few gateway musicals (it’s the free wrap of heroin at the school gates) and yes, if it encourages people to explore the range of the musical, well why not? And, of course, Sondheim is certainly not to everyone’s taste (at least, after Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which cleverly manages to be clever and dumb at the same time). You wouldn’t inspire a lifetime of theatregoing by taking an eight-year-old to Pacific Overtures, I fancy.

    But it’s a teen-gateway musical partly because musicals never really sought that teenage audience before. There were attempts at rock/musical crossovers in the sixties, and Hair’s the most famous example, but also somewhat worthy efforts like Ooh My Soul (Othello – the soul musical anyone?). Before that the industry didn’t care about or notice teenagers, because well almost no one did. So the way of getting the kids into theatres is through safe rock-lite musicals. I suppose I still think that Grease is largely liked by people who never cared very much for rock ‘n’ roll. It’s somewhat like the recent-ish wave of Hip Hop musicals (The Bomb-Itty of Errors, Seven, etc.) which I find abhorrent, mainly because they seem to be aimed at an audience who thinks hip hop would be much nicer if only it were performed by well spoken musical theatre graduates.

    And then I wonder, is it much of a gateway musical? Its position, as Billy has reminded us, at the top of C4’s 100 Greatest Musicals suggests it isn’t the gateway but the end of the road for most people.

    You’re quite right to pick me up on the BritPop aside. I liked an awful lot of BritPop (more than I’m prepared, now, to admit) but I do also see that there’s a blokeish element that said, all this clever-clever ambient dance music shit is for women and poofs, let’s get guitars back in. And, without perhaps the same overt sexual politics, something of the same is at work in Grease. Historically, only, of course, and I don’t mean to say it currently functions in the same way. When did Sondheim last write a musical? Okay, I’ve just checked and it’s 2003.

    Disney, of course, that’s where the musical went, though it killed its musicals with bad animation (Robin Hood is shocking to watch now) and only had its proper creative rebirth late into the eighties.

    There are at least six number ones deriving from musicals to come in the next ten years but, ouch, bunny, that really hurt!

  22. 22
    Dan R on 13 Aug 2008 #

    Oh and on the megamusicals, it’s not the stupid subject matter that bothers me, it’s the horrible self-important tunes. As if sounding a bit like Puccini meant you were doing something so much more worthy than writing ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’.

  23. 23
    DJ Punctum on 13 Aug 2008 #

    Re. Othello The Musical: I think you meant Catch My Soul. It was filmed in ’73 with Richie Havens, Tony Joe White and others and directed by – of all people – Patrick McGoohan, although he’s subsequently disowned it since he says Jack Good took the film out of his hands and “mucked” (sic) it up. I’d still like to see it though.

  24. 24
    Dan R on 13 Aug 2008 #

    You’re right of course. My bad. I saw it once, in a student production. Ouch.

  25. 25
    Martin Skidmore on 13 Aug 2008 #

    I haven’t listened to songs from Grease for ages, but is this the one where Travolta makes a very camp sound somewhere between ‘ooh’ and ‘ew’ towards the end? That always amused me, but I can’t place it in the context of a song now.

    I never cared much for this for some reasons Pete outlines -the overegged pudding of the contrasts and the backing accents, and that horribly sung last word.

  26. 26
    Dan R on 13 Aug 2008 #

    Yes, the extremely fey ‘oh’ which comes just before the final ‘those su-hummer naaa-haaaaats’. We found that funny when I was 10 and it still amuses me now.

  27. 27
    mike on 13 Aug 2008 #

    *cough*
    See #9 above, para 3!
    *cough*

    (Wanders off, muttering… tsk, don’t know why I bother…)

  28. 28
    Waldo on 13 Aug 2008 #

    I refer Honourable Members to the reply I gave in respect of “You’re The One That I Want”.

  29. 29
    wichita lineman on 13 Aug 2008 #

    “Grease is largely liked by people who never cared very much for rock ‘n’ roll” – thanks Dan, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. At least, this is why I couldn’t ever stomach it. Same as Austin Powers: camp and ill-informed under the guise of loving tribute.

    Also, like Austin Powers, Grease is an example of a film whose supporters’ positive spin hardly extends beyond “It’s fun! Come on! Get a life”. The Guardian letters page had a similar reaction to Peter Bradshaw’s very amusing review of Mamma Mia! I’d like to think I’d never get close to using this line. Not even in defence of Mouldy Old Dough.

  30. 30
    Pete on 14 Aug 2008 #

    Hmm, there might be something in that, but in my experience Grease was liked by people who didn’t know much about rock’n’roll, or had even heard much (so in my case my excuse m’lud was being five). It has to be said that my later increasing dislike of the musical may well be due to an increasing knowledge and thus a realisation of how the majority of tunes in Grease pall next to the originals. This is the problem with the pastiche musical, you have to be a bloody good songwriter to get near the quality of the originals*. The same could be said for the Austin Powers films, it was parody for people who were unacquainted with what was being parodied (and thus a loose and unspecific parody at best – there was little in International Man Of Mystery which had not already been covered by Our Man Flint). Moreover the “fun” defence is weak, and there a plenty of other ways of defending Mamma Mia beyond just that one (not that Peter Bradshaw needs defending against!)

    I suppose whether or not we find Grease a good or a bad thing could be tied into our view of how intoductory education. If (for me) Grease led to people enjoying other, better musicals – or exploring the music of the period then it would undeniably be a good thing**. However if it is used as a representative of musicals or fifties music, and is used as a basis to judge to judge those eras and that music, then it is clearly rubbish.

    *Hairspray, another film stuffed with pastiches, works because I think they songs are genuinely witty, good pastiches and done to service a terrific plot.
    **YTOTIW, the theme tune, bobby soxing ONJ and John Travolta’s leg quakes notwithstanding!

  31. 31
    wichita lineman on 14 Aug 2008 #

    I agree Pete, Hairspray works better because it really is a loving tribute, which shows that camp isn’t destructive of the past by definition. It also features some cracking songs, contemporary ones, which I’d never heard before (I Wish I Were A Princess, Nothing Takes The Place Of You).

  32. 32
    Malice Cooper on 15 Aug 2008 #

    I hated this at the time and still do. They were in the enviable position of having a guaranteed number one even if they farted for 3 minutes. They may have saved the world from the Smurfs but even Father Abraphart would have been preferable to this. Yuk !

  33. 33
    Caledonianne on 15 Aug 2008 #

    I may be unique for someone of my age and gender in that I have never seen Grease.

    Can I just say, therefore, how much I enjoyed the dialogue between Dan and Pete above. Lots to think about there.

    (I’m an old fashioned goil. I loved “Hello Dolly!”.

    I enjoy this record more now than I did at the time (because of the under the dock/10 o’clock and arcade/lemonade alt testimonies), and like others, I’m surprised by how late in the summer/early autumn this hit the top. I had a long vacation job as a filing clerk in the solicitors’ office where I subsequently qualified, and I have a sort of false memory syndrome that myself and the typists were listening to this at teabreak time all summer. Weird.

  34. 34
    The Lurker on 18 Aug 2008 #

    The headline on today’s Daily Mirror match report of Arsenal’s win over WBA, in which debutant Samir Nasri scored the winner, is ‘Samir Loving…Happened So Fast’.

    Not bad, I thought.

  35. 35
    thefatgit on 1 Jun 2011 #

    Here seems appropriate to say farewell to Jeff Conaway (Kenickie), who died last Friday (27th). Even Scientology couldn’t save him.

  36. 36
    richard thompson on 13 Aug 2011 #

    Hasn’t really stood the test of time, not into scientology either, this song reminds me of Solihull Tech where I was a student back then

  37. 37
    Eli on 19 Aug 2011 #

    Cynics corner here it seems: there’s a reason why so many people voted it #1 in that Channel 4 poll. Because it captures the spirit of youth and colour we all wish we’d had when we were that age.

    @#19 – yes, snooty and meal-mouthed, which sums up most of the comments I’m afraid.

    Grease was back in cinemas again last year to packed audiences, so it must have done something right.

  38. 38
    Erithian on 19 Aug 2011 #

    #34 – and now it looks like Nasri is about to sign for Manchester City. “Samir dreams, ripped at the seams…”

  39. 39
    thefatgit on 19 Aug 2011 #

    ABBA “Samir Night City” surely.

  40. 40
    Brendan on 24 Sep 2012 #

    I don’t like stage musicals so this, for me, is definitely below ‘You’re the One That I Want’. So 5 it is.

  41. 41
    Erithian on 13 Feb 2014 #

    So farewell then, Sid Caesar aka Coach Calhoun. Although as Danny Baker tweeted, headlining an obit for Sid Caesar with Grease is a bit like headlining Ringo Starr’s eventual obituary with “Voice of Thomas the Tank Engine dies”. Which no doubt somebody will.

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