There were lots of contenders for the title of my favourite soundtrack: Pretty in Pink, Say Anything, Breakfast Club or Cruel Intentions and Pretty Woman all got mused over, and yes even Twilight was in there, but when I thought about them in more detail, I realised that I loved the soundtrack for one particular track, not all of them.
Any true contender had to have me knowing every track, loving the majority and having at least paid to download, if not actually own the vinyl or CD. That narrowed the field down quite considerably.
The winner, as there can be only one winner had to be Grease. I know it's cheese on a plate, it's smaltzy, it's old now, and it's not at all cool. BUT it transports me back 35 years to a time when I was 11 years old, going to see my first ever film in the cinema and being blown away. This is the film that launched my love affair with the cinema. A love affair that has never ended, we don't argue, fight or break up. We don't moan about who's turn it is to do the washing up, take the dog for a walk or battle with the kids over homework. The cinema and me, have an understanding; I will faithfully visit it regularly and it will in turn, dim the lights, make me feel like nothing else matters and provide me with two hours of escape!
Grease was my first date and you always remember that one fondly!
I still know every word to every song. I still cry, I still sing along and I still wish that I was 11 again watching it for the first time. I'm transported back to the young girl, nervously just about to start secondary school, without her network of friends (who had all gone to a different school). I remember that feeling of utter dread on my first day and the worry that no-one would like me, or even talk to me and how Grease saved my life. First day, first lesson, "tell us about your summer" says the teacher... my hand going up and me saying quietly, "I went to the cinema to see Grease yesterday". Cue 30 pairs of eyes turning round and the girls all desperate to know what it was like. Everyone knew the music, the songs had been played on the radio for weeks, but the film was new. I'd seen it two or three days after it's release. Break, a time when I'd been dreading, was easy as I was surrounded by girls all eager to know what the film was about; this was a time pre internet, pre instant streaming, pre torrents and illegal downloads. This was in the days when it could take 5 years for a film to appear on the television. The only way to hear about a film was to watch Film 1978 on the BBC or know someone who had already seen it. Grease made me my first friends and that lunch time, we all sang along to the songs and planned a visit to the cinema to go again the following Saturday.
Those songs transport me back to that day and for me, Summer Nights, Beauty School Drop, Look at me I'm Sandra Dee and Greased Lightening will forever be the songs that saved my life. I'm still kind of shy, I'm still not good at making new friends, but I now have friends who've known me since that first break, who joined me on the Saturday afternoon cinema visit and who still join me in a sing-a-long whenever we find out it's on tv or we're feeling low and pop on the DVD.
.... I bet if you heard any of the opening bars of any of those songs you'd be singing along to... wouldn't you?