- Album name: Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture
- Artist name: Various, including Frankie Valli, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Frankie Avalon, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Cindy Bullens, Sha-Na-Na, Louis St. Louis
- Year: 1978
- Number of discs: two
- Label: RSO Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- Scratched into side 1 of LP: K-9967 RS-2-4002 AS GD1
- Scratched into side 2 of LP: K-9970 RS-2-4002 BS GD2
- Scratched into side 3 of LP: K-9971 RS-2-4002 CS GD1
- Scratched into side 4 of LP: K-9974 RS-2-4002 DS GD2
- Buy it on Amazon: $100.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve never seen Grease the movie, but I do expect to recognize several of these songs.
What I expected
My first reaction when I saw that this record was next: “Oh. The Grease soundtrack. John Travolta. Great.”
My second reaction was: “Wait a minute, there are actually a lot of Sha Na Na songs on this record. I think it might actually be pretty good.”
My third reaction: “‘Written & Produced by Barry Gibb.’ Oh no.”
What it was actually like
I never really thought of the term “fauxldies” until now to describe Sha Na Na, but a lot of this record was just that. Fortunately, I approve.
The Sha Na Na set was from the end of side two through the end of side three, and here are their songs in order of excellence:
- Hound Dog
- Blue Moon, which has come up twice recently (The Rodgers and Hart Songbook by Ella Fitzgerald and The Muppet Show)
- Rock n’ Roll Is Here to Stay
- Those Magic Changes
- Born to Hand Jive, which was way too long
- Tears on My Pillow
The end of side three and beginning of side four also had more of these “fauxldies,” though generally not as good as Sha Na Na’s. Of them, I liked Mooning, Freddy, My Love and Rock n’ Roll Party Queen the best. We Go Together was also great: kind of pure sugar, and it made me wonder why there is not more music like that. And in a very small way, it reminded me of Shama Lama Ding Dong (which I just learned was covered by John “Cougar” Mellencamp; listen at your own risk).
The disco part of the record was not as extensive as I worried: just the title track Grease and the closing track Grease (Reprise), which were terrible, and You’re the One That I Want, which I recognized, which was nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
The record’s worst song, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, wasn’t disco at al. It was just boring and had an awful saxophone part.
The other two that I recognized were Summer Nights, a sappy duet, and Greased Lightnin’ – another one that I knew and that played with a retro sound – though I appreciated the electric guitar.
Sometimes the “fauxldies” style got really boring and could not be saved by doo wop, such as with Beauty School Dropout and It’s Raining on Prom Night.
And given that it was the late 1970s, of course there was some bad easy listening included as well: Hopelessly Devoted to You and Sandy.
3/5: interesting, but not for me
|↑1||Stylized as “Sha-Na-Na”|