You're the One That I Want

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"You're the One That I Want"
Single by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
from the album Grease OST
B-side "Alone At The Drive-In Movie (Instrumental)"
Released May 1978
Genre Pop
Length 2:49
Label RSO
Writer(s) John Farrar
Producer(s) John Farrar
Certification Platinum (U.S.)[1]
Olivia Newton-John single chronology
"You're the One That I Want"
"Summer Nights"
John Travolta chronology
"You're the One That I Want"
"Summer Nights"

"You're the One That I Want" is a song written by John Farrar for the 1978 film version of the musical Grease. It was performed by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. It is one of the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over 6 million copies among the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France alone.[2][3][4]

Chart History[edit]

Upon its release in conjunction with the film (and its status as a potential blockbuster worldwide), the single became a huge international hit, reaching number 1 in several countries. In the U.S. the single reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in June 1978,[5] and was certified Platinum for shipments exceeding 2 million copies.[6] It also topped the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks in the summer of 1978[7] some months before the film had even been released in that country.

As of 2013, it is still the fifth best-selling single of all time in the U.K., where it has sold 2 million copies.[8]

The 1998 're-release'[edit]

A re-released dance version of the single by Almighty Records reached #4 in the UK in 1998, the twentieth anniversary of the film's debut.[9]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 10, 1978
Succeeded by
"Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb
Preceded by
"Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.
UK Singles Chart number-one single
17 June 1978 - 12 August 1978
Succeeded by
"Three Times a Lady" by The Commodores
Preceded by
"Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.
"Substitute" by Clout
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
24 June 1978 - 12 August 1978
26 August 1978
Succeeded by
"Substitute" by Clout"
Three Times a Lady" by Commodores
Preceded by
"Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty
"Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
June 26, 1978 - July 10, 1978
August 21, 1978 - October 9, 1978
Succeeded by
"Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.
"Are You Old Enough?" by Dragon
Preceded by
"Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
July 1, 1978 - August 26, 1978
Succeeded by
"You're the Greatest Lover" by Luv'

Notable cover versions[edit]

"You're the One That I Want"
Single by Craig McLachlan and Deborah Gibson
from the album Grease - Original London Cast Recording
Released 1993
Length 3:27
Label Epic
Writer(s) John Farrar
Deborah Gibson single chronology
"Free Me"
"You're the One That I Want"
"For Better or Worse"

In 1993, Epic Records released the London cast recording, Grease - Original London Cast Recording, and "You're the One That I Want" was issued as the lead single by Craig McLachlan and Deborah Gibson (Epic UK 659 522, released July 1993). In part due to a routine promotional push and huge box office success of the first major revival of Grease, this cover version scored big on the UK singles charts, peaking at number thirteen.[15]

British comedians Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker also released a version of the song in 1978. This version is perhaps best remembered for an infamously bad live performance on the TV show Top of the Pops; both Mullard and Baker sang out of tune, fluffed the lyrics and seemed utterly bemused. Their version reached No. 22 in the UK.[16]

In 1978, the German comedians Dieter Hallervorden and Helga Feddersen released a parody version under the title Du, die Wanne ist voll. The song reached position number four in the German charts.[17] Du, die Wanne ist voll literally means Hey, the bathtub is full, and the joke consists of using funny German wordings that sound vaguely similar to the English lyrics.

In 1982, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Charlene the Chipettes covered the song for the album The Chipmunks Go Hollywood.

The song serves as the source of the title of the American reality TV show Grease: You're the One that I Want!. As such, the song replaced the original second-to-last song in its Broadway run, "All Choked Up," for the Broadway revival it would then give rise to, with its two winners, Max Crumm and Laura Osnes. This particular arrangement eschewed the more conventional pop-rock standards of the 70s for a more grittier "rockabilly" sound.

In 1998, the Mexican band Chicos de Barrio recorded a Spanish version named "Yo te invito a bailar" ("I invite you to dance") in English, for their album Te invito a bailar.

In 2004 The Beautiful South released a cover of the song on their Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs album.

In the TV series Glee the song was sung as an rehearsal by Lea Michele and Cory Monteith (as their characters Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson) in the pilot episode, that released in 2009. The song was sung once more as a full cover version in the fourth season in episode six "Glease", a tribute to Grease, by Blake Jenner (as Ryder Lynn), Melissa Benoist (as Marley Rose), Monteith and Michele.[18]

In 2012, a cover version by Angus & Julia Stone was used in commercials for Sky (UK and Ireland).

Also in 2012, for the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures, a sing-a-long version of the scene from the film was released with the previews of Katy Perry: Part of Me.

On the X-Factor, Ella Henderson sang a slow version of the song.

In 2014, Lo-Fang included a cover on his album Blue Film. This version included a much slower tempo with string instruments and ethereal vocals. Lo-Fang's cover was used in the 2014 Baz Luhrmann mini film advertisement for Chanel No. 5. It also charted in France, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American single certifications – You're the One That I Want". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  2. ^ Grein, Paul (August 26, 1978). "Billboard Vol. 90, No. 34". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.). Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Record Breakers and Trivia : Singles : Individual Hits : Sales". Retrieved 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "InfoDisc : Les 45 T. / Singles les plus vendus en France". (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 2012. 
  5. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 484.
  6. ^ "You're the One That I Want" certifications RIAA - Gold and Platinum Searchable Database
  7. ^ 1978 UK Singles Chart info Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  8. ^ a b Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  9. ^ 1998 UK Singles Chart info Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  10. ^ "Les Singles en Or :" (in French). Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John; 'You're the One That I Want')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "British certifications – Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta – You're the One That I Want". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 March 2012.  Enter You're the One That I Want in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select ' in the field By Award. Click Search
  13. ^ "American certifications – Newton-John, Olivia and John Travolta – You're the One That I Want". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Grein, Paul (August 26, 1978). "Billboard Vol. 90, No. 34". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.). Retrieved June 8, 2012. 
  15. ^ 1993 UK Singles Chart info Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  16. ^ 1978 parody UK Singles Chart info Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ "Watch: All the Performances From Glee's Grease — Season 4, Episode 6: "Glease" (VIDEOS) | Glee". Wetpaint. 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  19. ^ Lo-Fang, "You're the One That I Want" song page