"Summer Nights" is a popular song from the musical Grease. Written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, its best-known version was recorded by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the big-screen adaptation of the musical, and released as a single that same year.
"Summer Nights" became a massive hit in both the United States and United Kingdom during the summer of 1978. Included on the movie's soundtrack album, the song was one of several hit singles from the movie. Parts of the song were introduced to a new audience when it was re-released in the 1990s as part of a megamix of several songs from the movie version.
In the movie version of Grease, Travolta and Newton-John played the lead roles of Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson.
The song's genesis stems from a summertime love affair between Danny and Sandy, which had ended upon Sandy's revelation that she was moving back to Australia with her family. However, Sandy soon learns that her family is staying in the United States and subsequently enrolls at Rydell High School, where Danny is also a student. However, it quickly becomes clear that there are unresolved feelings of love between Danny and Sandy.
Separately and unknown to each other, both Danny and Sandy meet with their respective group of friends and share their perspectives of their summertime fling. Danny, the leader of a greaser gang known as "The T-Birds" (the "Burger Palace Boys" in the stage show), brags about the physical aspects of the relationship; Sandy remarks to the schoolgirl clique "The Pink Ladies" about her emotional attachment to Danny. The resulting conversations are played out through the song.
Of the cast members, only Travolta and Newton-John provided vocals for the song.
The song was an even bigger hit in the UK, spending seven weeks at No. 1. Combined with an earlier nine-week run with "You're the One That I Want," the Travolta-Newton-John duet team spent 16 weeks at No. 1 during 1978 in the UK.
In 2010, Billboard ranked it No. 9 on their "Best Summer Songs of All Time" list.
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||75,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||1,590,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
In 1991, "Summer Nights" and two other songs from the Grease soundtrack — "You're The One That I Want" and "Greased Lightnin'" — were remixed into a new song called "The Grease Megamix." This song was created to observe the movie's release on home video.
Joe Masciantonio, from Outstanding Bass Productions, created the song for Philadelphia radio station WIOQ-FM. The song subsequently became a big hit worldwide.
- Brighton indie band 14 Iced Bears covered the song in 1990, for "Alvin Lives (In Leeds)", a compilation of covers of '70s hits released to raise funds for the Anti Poll Tax Campaign.
- The TV series Glee's first episode of 2012, "Yes/No", covered the song with Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) and Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) on lead.
- TV Series Korea Dream High 2 "Jr & Ailee - Summer Nights"
- The song was rewritten for a 2012 Nissan television commercial campaign for the "Summer 'Savin Days" sales event. The ads feature the Nissan Altima, Nissan Frontier and Nissan Rogue among other Nissan models.