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Growing Up with "Grease"
It was May, 1978. I was 13 years old and living in a small town in Washington state. The radio was playing two singles from the yet to be released film "Grease". Me and my newly teenaged friends were eating it up.
The songs were "Grease" performed by Frankie Valli and "You're the One that I Want", a duet performed by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.
The studio was doing a great job of creating a buzz and a demand for the film through the music. The soundtrack album was actually released in April -- two months prior to the movie premier.
My main problem back then was getting a hold of the soundtrack album. Though released in April, everywhere I went to purchase it with my carefully saved paper route money, it was sold out. Thank goodness they released the singles of those two songs to the radio in May. It helped me get my "Grease" fix.
I remember, after school, me and my friends would hunker down at someone's house and continuously change the radio station until we heard one or the other of the songs (it didn't usually take too long either!) When we hit pay dirt, we sang at the top of our lungs and danced all over the room. Those were the days...
I can't remember any other album from my pre-teen to early teenage-hood that captivated me as much as this one. Sure, as I got a couple of years older, the Grease soundtrack was replaced with music from the Eagles, AC/DC, Journey, REO Speedwagon and more but, to this day, the Grease soundtrack has a special place in my heart.
"Grease" and Me
Having moved around a lot in my life, I find that songs elicit memories. I remember places I lived and what I was doing when a particular song was popular. With the Grease soundtrack, I remember fondly living in the great Northwest.
When the movie was finally released in June of that year, our little, local theater was bombarded with lines that circled the block. It seems the music had done it's job.
The young crowd like me, couldn't wait to see the film -- see what living in the 1950's was like and to sing along with the songs we already knew by heart. My parents generation wanted to re-live their teenage years through the film and music. (Though, my mom says Rydell High was a far cry from her own high school experience, it was fun to watch and she loved hearing the Frankies -- Valli and Avalon -- sing again.)
The song that captivated a generation!
One of my favorites from the album.
Who can forget Travolta with his pointing and singing of Greased Lightening!
The title song of the album and film.
Chasing down the Soundtrack
After the movie was officially released, I definitely couldn't find the album in stores. My cousin and I took to calling around the peninsula area asking local stores if they had any in stock.
Finally, in a small record store in Silverdale, Washington, we found it. We begged them to hold two copies at the register for us while we conned our mother's into driving us to get them. They agreed to hold them for one hour.
From my cousin's house in Kingston, we arrived at the store 45 minutes later and got our precious copies. I still have mine today -- 35 years later.
Making more Memories
While I love and know every song on the album by heart, my sisters and I started a silly tradition of singing and miming to the song "It's Raining on Prom Night" at karaoke nights. Sometimes we'll do "There are Worse Things I Could Do" as well.
I love those performances -- mostly because it's with my sisters and me acting goofy. Though, we do usually give such rousing renditions we get standing ovations!
Ah, yes -- the Grease soundtrack songs lives on in my memory and in my heart. I now have the album on CD as well. When I need a little pick me up, I play it. It never fails to make me smile...