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"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.
"Summer Nights" reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and spent two weeks at No. 3 on Cash Box Top 100. 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 2004 it finished at #70 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. In 2010, Billboard ranked it No. 9 on their "Best Summer Songs of All Time" list.