How long has “grease” been the word? Try 40 years. The iconic movie musical “Grease” marks its 40th anniversary this month?
I was only about 5 when good girl Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) met bad boy Danny Zuko (John Travolta), but I wanted to go to Rydell High. Only problem was, the year was 1978 and Sandy and Danny attended high school in the 1950s. But, I didn’t care — the music was fun.
“Grease” became a cultural phenomenon. The film made its stars gigantic. Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were the best actors to play those roles. Their chemistry could not have been better.
Having seen the film a gazillion times, it’s still cool. I liked the idea that Sandy and Danny fell in love over the summer when none of their friends were around. They could be themselves. There was no peer pressure or friends to complicate matters. All that changed once the school year began, and Sandy and Danny realized they were attending the same school that fall.
It’s a story we’ve seen played out in countless other movies and TV shows, only this was a musical.
I don’t know anyone, regardless of age, who doesn’t appreciate the music from “Grease.” It may be 40 years old, but it will always be timeless.
My favorite song has to be “You’re The One That I Want,” the duet with Olivia and John. Has there ever been a more fun duet? I don’t think so, unless you count “Summer Nights.”
“Grease Is The Word” is a cool song, but Newton-John’s “Hopelessly Devoted To You” gets me every time. Her vocals are spot-on.
People tend to forget how amazing Newton-John’s music career was before “Grease” and how massive it became afterward. She was kind of the Taylor Swift of the ’70s. Her career in country music was huge. Prior to “Grease,” she already had scored impressive hits with “If Not For You,” “Let Me Be There,” “If You Love Me (Let Me Know),” “I Honestly Love You,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” “Please Mr. Please” and “Come On Over,” among others.
She had earned AMAs CMA, ACM, Cashbox and Billboard Awards for Favorite Female Artist Country, Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock, Top Female Vocalist, Top Pop Singles Artist and numerous other honors.
“Grease” took her amazing career and blew it up even more. “Xanadu” shouldn’t count, although the music still did well.
The album “Totally Hot” was her first to emerge after “Grease.” It’s one of my faves by her. The Top five hit, “A Little More Love” remains one of my favorites.
The ’80s saw a more defined Olivia. She was a pop superstar, worthy of our attention and affection. “Magic,” “Suddenly” (w/Cliff Richard), “Make A Move On Me,” “Heart Attack,” “Tied Up,” “Twist Of Fate,” “Living In Desperate Times,” “Soul Kiss” and “The Rumor” helped to define one of the greatest decades for music. But, let’s talk about “Physical” for a moment. It spent an amazing 10 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. It kept Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You” from hitting the top for nine consecutive weeks. “Physical” also was the biggest hit of 1982.
Newton-John has released 73 singles, including five No. 1s, earned four Grammys and sold more than 100 million albums. Her music has become an important part of our lives, not to mention her humanitarian work and inspirational impact as a breast cancer survivor. She has a vintage merlot and a chardonnay under the label Pink and Blue For Two with proceeds going to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer And Wellness Centre and to PB42.org campaign committed to the early detection of prostate and breast cancer.
How this woman is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is beyond me. She should be inducted — her legacy warrants it.
If you love her, let her know ... Until then, we’ll stay hopelessly devoted to her.
— David T. Farr can be reached at email@example.com.