You're The One That I Want

Album: Grease soundtrack (1978)
Charted: 1 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This plays at the finale of the movie Grease as John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton-John (Sandy) overcome the social constraints of high school and declare their lust for each other. Like the title track, it was not in the original stage musical of Grease, but was written specifically for the movie. Also like the title track, it was a #1 hit in America, reaching the top spot on June 10, 1978. This is very impressive considering the movie was not released until June 16, making the song a hit on its own merits and providing tremendous anticipation for the film. The title track rode the movie's momentum to #1 on August 26, and stayed there for two weeks.
  • John Farrar wrote and produced this song. His choice gave Olivia Newton-John, who was very nervous about appearing in the film, a familiar collaborator who helped ease her fears. Farrar had written and produced many of her previous hits, including the US #1 "Have You Never Been Mellow."
  • This song was a massive hit in Britain, spending nine weeks at #1 and becoming the fifth biggest-selling single of all time in the UK, with about 2 million copies sold (according to a 2012 list compiled by the Official Charts company). "Summer Nights," another Travolta/Newton-John duet from the movie, was also very successful in the UK, staying at #1 for seven weeks.
  • Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were an interesting pairing for the film. Newton-John was a global singing star, but had little acting experience and was nervous about playing a high school girl at age 29. Travolta was a rising film star whose starring role in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever made him a sensation. He had done some singing, most successfully with his 1976 single "Let Her In," which went to #10 in the US.
  • A slow, string-laden version of this song was released by the singer violinist Lo-Fang (Matthew Hemerlein) on his 2014 debut album Blue Film. His rendition was used in a popular commercial for Chanel No. 5. The spot was directed by Baz Luhrmann and stars Gisele Bundchen.
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Comments: 14

  • Camille from Toronto, OhIt's rare to hear this type of ingenious back-and-forth banter found in this duet. Both the male and female lyrics are bold and empowering, with Travolta being full out crazy for Newton-John and she being very specific that he needs to man up if he wants her. This is not a sappy love song but one of full-blown lust. Finding out that who you're crazy about is just as crazy about you is very liberating and exciting, and the lyrics, music and vocals capture all those wonderful feelings. Olivia Newton-John has the perfect female voice to reply to John Travolta.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhBarry, thanks for the stats. Jay from Syracuse, NY, you nailed it in your comments "About as pure a pop adrenaline rush as you can get. Farrar is one of the best nobody's ever heard of." I'd say pure pop synergy, too. Definition: 'synergy is the interaction of multiple elements to produce an effect greater than the sum of its individual effects'. Not only was the viewing public hungry and ready for this movie but something magical happened when these stars played these characters to tell this story, singing these lyrics along to this music. The piano here is masterfully played. heightening the feelings expressed. The perfect punctuation is that first 'glissando' -the hand rapidly running the musical scale across the piano keys, hear it just after Travolta sings, 'nothing left, nothing left for me to do'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 13th 1978, the movie version of "Grease" had its world premier in New York City; and three days later on June 16th it opened in theaters across the U.S.A. and Canada...
    Five songs featured in the movie made Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; "Grease" by Frankie Valli (#1 for 3 weeks), "You're the One That I Want" by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (#1 for 1 week), "Hopelessly Devoted to You" by Newton-John (#3), "Summer Nights" by Travolta & Newton-John (#5), and "Greased Lightin'" by Travolta (#47)...
    And on July 23rd, 1978 the movie's soundtrack album reached #1 (for 12 non-consecutive weeks) on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart (the album also peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom and Australia).
  • Jon from Scotland, United KingdomThe song was re-released in remix form in 1998 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Grease. The oddly-titled "Martian Mix" can be found of the enhanced version of the soundtrack CD. "You're...." also entered the UK charts as part of the Grease Megamix single in 1991. Australian actor, Craig McLachlan and US actress, Debbie Gibson, released the track (in the UK) in 1991 when they appeared in the West End stage musical version of Grease. The reason why the song spent 9 weeks at number one in the UK is simple: the movie was big in the US; it was HUGE in the UK!
  • Paul from Detroit, MiGood song, but #1 in UK for 9 weeks? You're kidding!
  • Tamika from Nassau, BahamasI love this song and I love the movie, this is my favorite of all time. Also the song made the movie nevertheless the ending of the movie was the best part. Oh the part with hopelessly devoted to you was good too!
  • Joe from Chicago, IlSaturday Night Fever has a better soundtrack.
  • Megan from Winnipeg, CanadaGrease and Hairspray are my two favorite musicals.
  • Jay from Syracuse, NyAbout as pure a pop adrenaline rush as you can get. Farrar is one of the best nobody's ever heard of.
  • Reuben from Amsterdam, NetherlandsI respect the production and writing skills that made this songs, but I can't bear it anymore...
  • Meaghan from Marianna, FlGREASEIS THE BEST MUSICAL EVER!!!!!!!!!
    --Meaghan, Marianna, FL
  • Caitlin from Upper Township, Njgrease is one of the best musicals ever. i love it!!!!
  • Brianda from Chicago, Ilit is a good song. watched movie and heard cd.
  • Karren from Deerfiled, Nhi love this song it was the best way to end the movie grease
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