Grease Songwriter Louis St. Louis Takes Us to the Drive-In
Preview the songs and backstage stories from the composer's upcoming cabaret at 54 Below.
"I tell bad stuff onstage," warned Grammy Award-winning composer Louis St. Louis, who brings his cabaret show Still Comin' In Thru the Kitchen, to 54 Below on September 9 and 10. "Friends of mine who are in the show say, "He's liable to say anything."
The songwriter, best known for his work on the film version of Grease and its sequel, Grease 2, performed a press preview of his upcoming cabaret, in which he promises to include a few illicit tales from his career. Chatting at the Broadway supper club, he offered TheaterMania the story behind the now-famous song "Sandy", which he wrote after a surprising promotion from dance arranger to music producer on the original Grease film. St. Louis tells us the story behind the tune.
Trouble ensued with the music producer. [So] I became the music producer. Two weeks later I'm sitting in a trailer with Allan Carr, one of the main producers, and he said, "John [Travolta] wants a new song." Olivia [Newton-John] now had "Hopelessly Devoted," [together] they had "You're the One That I Want," and [Carr] said, "John wants a song for the drive-in…Go back to the hotel and write it."
When you come out of the Paramount lot, there's the famous arch. Just past the arch is a light to turn on Melrose to go north and it's a really long light. This was in the days of cassette recordings. I always had one handy. I took the tape recorder and went, "Stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool, what will they say, Monday at school?" Light change. I got to the hotel fifteen minutes later and wrote the song in twenty minutes. I took the song to Allan Carr the next morning at seven thirty, he approved it, I took it to the line producer at ten thirty, he approved it, we played it for Robert Stigwood on the phone at one o'clock, he approved it, four o'clock we played it for Travolta, he approved it, four thirty it was my song, and four days later I had a ten-thousand-dollar check and I went out and I bought a brand new car: Honda Prelude, navy blue, tan interior, loaded.
Listen to St. Louis perform the song "There's Nothing Like Music," a selection from his inaugural 1976 musical, Truckload.