What Does Greased Lightning Mean? It's More Than Just A Catchy Song

With Fox's live production of Grease a week away, it's fair to say that "Grease is the word." Airing Jan. 31, the on-air musical features a stellar cast, including Aaron Tveit and Dancing With The Stars’ Julianne Hough portraying iconic movie couple Danny Zuko and Sandra Dee. And though the musical-turned-movie is getting some updates, the plot and, more importantly, the songs will remain the same. Fans are keen to revisit some of thefavorite songs from the musical, including "Summer Nights," "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," and "We Go Together." But there's one song that definitely stands out: "Greased Lightning." But what is Greased Lightning, anyway? Well, it’s a car, a slang term, and an American musical legend all in one.

First, let's set up the scene. In both the Broadway musical and film versions of Grease, the character Kenickie is a member of the T-Birds, the greaser gang led by Danny Zuko. Greased Lightning is the nickname for Kenickie's beat-up car, and ironic one at that. According to Urban Dictionary, greased lightning is slang for something fast, which is the last word anyone would use to describe Kenickie’s ride. In the stage version, the T-Birds rag on Kenickie's hooptie in the song, "Greased Lightning." In the film version, the T-Birds help Kenickie repair the car after getting damaged by a rival gang. We'll see what story line they go with, as Grease: Live is a fusion of both the 1971 musical and 1978 film.

One thing that probably won't make the cut in Grease: Live are the racier lyrics. Even by '70s standards, some of the words in "Greased Lightning" and pretty inappropriate (and quite misogynistic.) I mean, look at them:

  • You know that ain't no sh*t. We'll be getting lots of t*t in Greased Lightning
  • The chicks'll cream for Greased Lightning.
  • With new pistons, plugs, and shocks, I can get off my rocks. You know that I ain't bragging. She's a real p*ssy wagon.

I'm pretty confident these lyrics aren't going to make it into a live primetime broadcast on FOX. In fact, Tveit told Entertainment Weekly that Grease: Live has updated their lyrics, adding that the cast is, "working really hard to get those lyrics out of our heads." So although you might remember a much racier version of "Greased Lightning," you'll be getting something far more sanitized for modern broadcast standards on when Grease: Live comes to television.

Grease: Live will air on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

Images: Paramount Pictures