Grease (song)

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Grease single.png
Artwork for Italian vinyl single
Single by Frankie Valli
from the album Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture and Frankie Valli... Is the Word
B-side"Grease" (Instrumental)
ReleasedMay 6, 1978
RecordedApril 1978
StudioCriteria (Miami)
Songwriter(s)Barry Gibb
Frankie Valli singles chronology
"Save Me, Save Me"

"Grease" is a song written by Barry Gibb and performed by Frankie Valli. "Grease" is the title song for the 1978 musical motion picture Grease, which was based on the 1971 stage play of the same name. It celebrates the lifestyle of greasers. The song was released as a single by Valli in May 1978 and sold over seven million copies worldwide[1] and was featured twice on the film's soundtrack: as the first track and reprised as the final track. "Grease" was written specifically for the 1978 musical motion picture; it had not originated from the stage production.[2]


Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey had written a different title track for Grease for its original Chicago production, but this song was discarded when the show was picked up on Broadway.[3] Barry Gibb was commissioned to compose a new title song for Robert Stigwood's film of the stage musical.[4]


The song was recorded separately from, and later than, the rest of the film's songs. Shortly after the filming of the 1978 musical film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Gibb invited castmate Peter Frampton to play guitar on the Grease session. Gibb himself provided backing vocals. The other musicians were some of those from the Andy Gibb album that was being made around the same time.[5] Frankie Valli was approached to sing due to his similar vocal range to Barry and his status as a popular singer from the pre-British Invasion era that Grease represented; Gibb had a longstanding respect for Valli as "one of the hallmark voices of our generation."[6] Valli accepted despite suffering from severe otosclerosis and loss of hearing at the time.[7] When Valli recorded "Grease", he did not have a recording contract (he had been contracted to Private Stock Records before it had folded earlier in 1978),[2] but after the single was released on the RSO label, which issued the soundtrack, Valli quickly landed a deal with Warner Bros., which held Valli's group The Four Seasons under contract at the time.[8]

"Grease" was one of four original songs in the film that were not part of the original musical, and it was the only one not performed by the cast. The film's director, Randal Kleiser, did not like the added songs because they did not fit the late-1950s/early 1960s style either musically or lyrically, and Kleiser had planned on a different composition by Charles Fox and Paul Williams (Fox having written the theme from Happy Days) before being overruled by the producers.[9] The anachronism was especially true of "Grease", which used disco instrumentation and a contemporary 1970s beat; it was nonetheless left in.[5]

The film's opening title sequence animation was created by animator John David Wilson's Fine Arts Films studio.[10]


"Grease" became a number-one single in the United States in 1978 and also reached number forty on the R&B charts in the same year.[11] Later in 1978, Valli released a follow-up album, the title of which—Frankie Valli... Is the Word—echoes the "grease is the word" lyric contained in the chorus of "Grease".[12] "Grease" was Valli's final Top 40 hit.[13]

The Bee Gees never recorded a studio version of this song, however, they later performed the song in their One Night Only tour from 1997 until 1999 and included a performance with Valli on their live album, One Night Only (September 1998).




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[41] Platinum 150,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[42] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] Platinum 2,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions[edit]


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  2. ^ a b "Grease by Frankie Valli - Songfacts". Retrieved October 30, 2018.
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  5. ^ a b "Gibb Songs : 1978".
  6. ^ "Frankie Valli – 100 Greatest Singers". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  7. ^ Robins, Wayne (September 3, 2013). "Frankie Valli Q&A: Looking Back at 50 Years of The Four Seasons". Billboard. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  8. ^ Frankie Valli - Grease (Official Audio). Rhino Entertainment (Audio). February 15, 2019. Event occurs at 0:01. Archived from the original on December 14, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  9. ^ Fox, Charles (2010). Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810869929. OCLC 678101101.
  10. ^ "Famed Animator John David Wilson Dies at 93". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  11. ^ "Frankie Valli Billboard". Allmusic. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
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  13. ^ "'Grease' at 40: Olivia Newton-John, Frankie Valli & John Farrar Reflect on the Blockbuster Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ "Frankie Valli – Grease" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ a b "Top 100 Músicas Mais Tocadas em 1978" [Top 100 Most Played Songs of 1978]. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "RPM 100 Singles". RPM. Vol. 29, no. 6. September 23, 1978. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  18. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 70" (in French). InfoDisc. October 6, 1978. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  19. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Ltd (October 1, 1962). "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 39, 1978" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  21. ^ "Frankie Valli – Grease" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ "Frankie Valli – Grease". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Frankie Valli – Grease". VG-lista.
  24. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "Listas de superventas: 1978". February 12, 2010.
  26. ^ "Frankie Valli – Grease". Singles Top 100.
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  31. ^ "Cash Box Top 100". Cash Box. September 9, 1978.
  32. ^ " – Frankie Valli – Grease". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  33. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1978". Ultratop. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  34. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '78". RPM. Vol. 30, no. 14. December 30, 1978. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  35. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1978". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  36. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1978". Dutch Charts (Hung Medien).
  37. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1978". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  38. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1979). "Top 200 Singles in 1978". BPI Year Book 1979 (4th ed.). London, England: The British Phonographic Industry Ltd. pp. 186–89. ISBN 0-906154-02-2.
  39. ^ "Pop Singles". Billboard ("Billboard Talent in Action" supplement). December 23, 1978. p. TIA-18.
  40. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1978". Cash Box. December 30, 1978.
  41. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Frankie Valli – Grease". Music Canada.
  42. ^ Scapolo, Dean (1997). New Zealand Music Charts 1966–1996: Singles. Wellington, New Zealand: IPL Books. ISBN 978-0-90887-600-6.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Frankie Valli – Grease". British Phonographic Industry.Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Grease in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ "American single certifications – Frankie Valli – Grease". Recording Industry Association of America.
  45. ^ "CRAIG MCLACHLAN | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company".