The Grease soundtrack: ranked

Ahead of its Secret Cinema revival, we figure out which Grease numbers we’re hopelessly devoted to

If there’s one show that audiences will keep coming back for, it’s Grease. Sure, there’s been plenty of other landmark musicals to hit cinemas and theatres over the last few decades, and in many ways they’ve all evolved beyond the doo-whop days of Rydell High. But Grease has a charm that endures, and a soundtrack that has infiltrated clubs, karaoke bars and even wedding playlists. It’s one of few non-jukebox musicals on the West End that has to actively remind audiences not to sing along. And even 45 years on from the film’s debut, its songs remain relevant, ever-relatable explorations of young love.

Ahead of Sandy and Danny’s arrival at Secret Cinema this summer, we’re attempting to rank the songs from Grease in order to figure out what it is about this soundtrack that has viewers continuing to say, “We go together.” (Like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong…)

16. Rock N’ Roll Party Queen

‘Rock N’ Roll Party Queen’ is far more of a background song than a showstopper. It’s solid and serves its purpose well, but doesn’t stand out enough to bump it further up this list.

15. Mooning

This double entendre of a duet is a sweet moment that inspires a few chuckles, but it slips down a few places for leaning quite so heavily on its one joke. It was probably funnier in the 70s.

14. It’s Raining On Prom Night

A mournful moment in the show and a fitting tribute to the female radio singers of the 50s, but on a soundtrack with so many instantly recognisable tracks, ‘It’s Raining On Prom Night’ just isn’t doing quite enough to climb higher.

13. Freddy My Love

Marty’s epistolary solo about her long-distance courtship heavily – and hilariously – implies that she is milking poor Freddy for every gift she can get. The lyricism in Grease is fantastic across the board and ‘Freddy My Love’ is no exception, but it won’t stick in your head quite as determinedly as the rest of the soundtrack.

12. Those Magic Changes

Instantly nostalgic and potentially triggering for anyone whose friend has ever whipped out a guitar at a party. ‘Those Magic Changes’ is a decent tune in its own right and something that could have very believably been a 50s radio hit.

11. Sandy

“What did I do wrong?” wonders the teenage boy who knows exactly what he did wrong. It’s refreshing that Danny’s own lyrics aren’t a winking, nudging acknowledgement of his own faults. Instead, ‘Sandy’ is a highly believable soliloquy from a young person with a lot of growing left to do.

10. Grease

The title track, sung by Franki Valli on the soundtrack, doesn’t sound like anything else in the film. Its jazz-funk sound feels much closer to the time period of the film’s release than it does to its setting.

9. Born To Hand Jive

There’s little chance that audiences will catch all of these lyrics in the theatre, since even watching ‘Born To Hand Jive’ gets you out of breath trying to keep up. Still, the song’s opening verse from Vince Fontaine is hilarious, and whilst this track is more dance break than anything else, it’s rightly loved for its infectious energy.

8. We Go Together

This finale track is a riotous good time, which is exactly what you want to be having by the end of Grease. It’s only this far down because of the amount of nonsense words it includes. Yes, they’re funny and era-appropriate, but ‘We Go Together’ isn’t winning any prizes for lyricism.

7. Beauty School Dropout

Viewers might be too dazzled by the appearance of Teen Angel and his heavenly chorus to listen too closely to the words being sung, but the lyrics of this one are a lot of fun and definitely deserve some love. 

6. Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee

Unpopular opinion: this goes harder than any diss track in the last fifty years. (We’re kidding… mostly) This short and decidedly not sweet solo from Rizzo is surely a bigger factor in Sandy’s transformation than Danny ever could be. What choice did she have after this annihilation? The reprise, in which Sandy appropriates the tune in order to bid goodbye to her old self, only further confirms this theory.

5. Greased Lightnin’

This infectious track about boys and their cars encapsulates everything we all love about Grease – toe-tapping dance numbers, fast wordplay, and grunting.

4. You’re The One That I Want

However you feel you about Sandy’s transformation from straight-edged schoolgirl to leather-clad smoker, this song is undeniably great. It’s nice to hear her biting back at Danny and letting him know that he also has stuff to work on, and the whole thing has a youthful energy to it that reminds us these characters still aren’t fully formed.

3. Hopelessly Devoted To You

Sandy’s big solo is thoughtful, sincere and beautifully delivered by Olivia Newton-John. It’s a fantastic tune that fully deserves its place among the most beloved film songs of all time.

2. Summer Nights

There’s not a soul alive who hasn’t heard a terrible rendition of ‘Summer Nights’ at karaoke. But it’s not the song’s fault. It’s a fantastic ensemble number packed full of sharp punchlines, and it’s incredibly true to the age of its characters. It also manages to completely fit the sound of the era without blending into the rest of the soundtrack.

1. There Are Worse Things I Could Do

Remember when we said everyone loves Grease because of how much fun it is? Forget that. The film’s best number is undoubtedly its least joyful. Rizzo’s solo hits like a punch to the gut, not least of all because it sounds as if it could have been written yesterday. Far from jarring against all the doo-wopping and hand-jiving, ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’ brings depth to Grease and shows that despite all the fun they’re having, the female characters in the show are up against it in a way that the boys will never understand. Is Rizzo the real heroine? We’ll leave that up to you. But also, yes.

Secret Cinema Presents Grease: The Live Experience opens in July. Find tickets here

Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty