Grease was a great movie not – the 1978 film version of the wildly popular stage musical starring John Tavolta and Olivia Newton-John squeezed a faux-’50s worldview and musical sensibility through a 20-year filter of wishful thinking that made Happy Days look authentic. This bizarre, mildly bawdy pastiche actually had a freaking DISCO title song, written by Barry Gibb and sung by Frankie Valli.
The film greatly expanded the scope, action and music of the musical, augmenting the original Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey songs (“Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’”) with new ones by John Farrar (“Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “You’re the One That I Want”) and Sha-Na-Na versions of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll standards (“Blue Moon,” “Hound Dog,” “Tears On My Pillow”).
Somehow, this exercise in across-the-railroad-tracks-romance retro nonsense captured the popular imagination with a combination of high spirits, star power and very catchy songs. Who doesn’t remember – perhaps in spite of themselves – “Summer Nights,” “You’re the One That I Want,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “We Go Together”? The Deluxe Edition crams much guilty goodness on disc 2 with sing-a-long versions of several songs, the world famous “Grease Megamix” (I played that a few hundred times at dances in the ’80s), and odd, Latin-based remixes of “Summer Nights” and “You’re the One That I Want” from ’98 by Martian.