This week’s song lyric Sunday theme, hosted by Jim and topic/theme suggested by Paula of Light Motifs II, is School, College, Education, Class, Degree.

School’s Out (for the Summer) was Alice Cooper’s biggest hit. It charted well in the US, even better in the UK and Canada. It continued to be the song he most often closed his shows with.

By the summer of 1972 when the song (and album were released), I was already a fan of the band. My continuing eclectic taste in music can be traced to the early 1970s when I was exposed to the various music favourites of a friend’s two older brothers, mixed with our own crazy sensibilities. So, while I listened to delta blues, CCR and Bob Dylan, I also had Alice Cooper, King Crimson and Deep Purple thomping in my brain. Cooper was made all the more delicious by only being able to listen to songs like “Dead Babies” (Killer, 1971) in the friend’s sound-proofed basement.

Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier, February 4, 1948. His music career spans over 50 years; away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur, and, since 2004, a radio DJ with his classic rock show “Nights with Alice Cooper.”

He is credited with “inventing” shock rock, and the highly theatrical heavy metal stage personae and act. Performing first as a band, Cooper morphed into a solo career. His signature heavily kohled eyes was inspired by Bette Davis’ makeup in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

School’s out 1972 (quote from songfacts.com)

“The chorus of children who sing on this was put together by producer Bob Ezrin. In 1979, Ezrin used another kid’s chorus when he produced “Another Brick In The Wall (part II)” for Pink Floyd.

In a 2008 Esquire interview, Cooper said: “When we did ‘School’s Out,’ I knew we had just done the national anthem. I’ve become the Francis Scott Key of the last day of school.”

Cooper starred in a TV commercial for Staples where a young girl is forced to shop for school supplies while a Muzak version of this song plays. She looks at Cooper and says, “I thought you said School’s out forever.” He replies, “No, the song goes, ‘School’s out for summer.’  Nice try, though.” At this point, the real version of the song kicks in.

On May 13, 2009, Cooper performed this song at the Arizona State University graduation ceremonies with his son Dash’s band, Runaway Phoenix. Alice wore his varsity letter sweater from Cortez High (Class of ’66) for the performance, which preceded a speech by US President Barack Obama. Cooper’s son Dash was attending the ASU journalism school.” quoted from songfacts.com (please excuse the mis-used “ and ‘)

School’s Out for the Summer

(composed by: Alice Cooper · Michael Bruce · Dennis Dunaway · Neal Smith · Glen Buxton)

Well we got no choice

All the girls and boys

Making all that noise

‘Cuz they’ve found new toys

We can’t salute ya

Can’t find a flag

If that don’t suit ya

That’s a drag

School’s out for summer

School’s out forever

[School’s been blown to pieces (original lyrics)]

I’m bored to pieces

Well we got no class

And we got no principles

[And we got no innocence (original lyrics)]

And we got no intelligence

We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

We can’t salute ya

Can’t find a flag

If that don’t suit ya

That’s a drag

School’s out for summer

School’s out forever

[School’s been blown to pieces (original lyrics)]

I’m bored to pieces

No more pencils, no more books

No more teachers, dirty looks

Out for summer, out ‘til fall

We might not come back at all

School’s out for summer

(Detention)

School’s out forever

School’s out with fever

School’s out completely

School’s out for summer

What I enjoy about Cooper is his failure to every truly take himself too seriously, as evidenced by his performance of “School’s Out” on the original Muppet’s show:

Jump ahead a decade or so, to Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” (Warning: not exactly #me2movement friendly). MTV was still showing mostly music videos which is where I stumbled across it. The humour in the production appealed to me more so than the music. Also made me a David Lee Roth fan.

(from songfacts.org) “David Lee Roth and Pete Angelus filmed the video at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California. The school was shut down because of insufficient funds when they shot the clip, so Van Halen not only paid to rent the school for four days of filming, they also contributed money to the city to help get it reopened.

A song about being lustfully attracted to your teacher, this one appealed to a new generation of Van Halen fans who could relate to the message and were enthralled by the video . . .

David Lee Roth co-directed. . .  the video shows the band doing choreographed dance steps under a disco ball. Despite numerous attempts, Alex Van Halen could not dance and was out of step most of the video.” direct quote from songfacts.com

“Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen, 1984

(composed by: Eddie Van HalenAlex Van HalenMichael Anthony and David Lee Roth)

(Oh, wow, man, I said

Wait a second, man

What do you think the teacher’s gonna look like this year?

Primus man!)

Oh yeah, t-t-teacher stop that screamin’

Teacher don’t you see? Don’t wanna be no uptown fool

Maybe I should go to hell but I am doing well

Teacher needs to see me after school

I think of all the education that I’ve missed

But then my homework was never quite like this

Ow! Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad

I’m hot for teacher

I’ve got it bad, so bad

I’m hot for teacher

(Hey, I heard you missed us, we’re back!

I brought my pencil

Give me something to write on, baby!

Whoa)

Oooohoooohoooh

I heard about your lessons but lessons are so cold

I didn’t know about this school

Little girl from Cherry Lawn, how can you be so bold?

How did you know that golden rule?

I think of all the education that I’ve missed

But then my homework was never quite like this

Whoa! Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad

I’m hot for teacher

I’ve got it bad, so bad

I’m hot for teacher, woh

(Oh man, I think the clock is slow

What are you doin’ this weekend?

I don’t feel tardy

Class dismissed!)

Ooh, yeah

I’ve got it bad, got it bad, got it bad

I’m hot for teacher

Whoa

I’ve got it bad, got it bad, got it bad

I’m hot for teacher

Whoa

Oh! Yes I’m hot

Whoa

Oh! Yes I’m hot

Whoa!

Oh my God!

Whoo!

The Indigo Girls are the background music of my life. While all of “Closer to Fine” is sorta personal anthem, once I entered grad school in 1991, one verse in particular really resonated.

“Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls write separately, and this song was written by Saliers, who told us it is based on real experiences. Said Saliers: ‘All of my songs, they’re a combination of real experiences and what I observe through other people’s behavior and experience. is about not beating yourself up too hard to get your answer from one place.’

This was the first hit song for The Indigo Girls, and the album was their major-label debut. They paid their dues playing small venues before they were signed to Epic Records, and this was reflected in the lyrics

This won the 1989 Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. The Indigo Girls were nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy, but lost to Milli Vanilli, who later lost the award when it was discovered they did not sing on their album.” direct quotes from various sources including songfacts.com

“Closer to Fine,” Indigo Girls 1989

composed by Amy Saliers

I’m trying to tell you something ‘bout my life

Maybe give me insight between black and white

And the best thing you ever done for me

Is to help me take my life less seriously

It’s only life after all, yeah

Well, darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable

And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear

And I wrap my fear around me like a blanket

I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it

I’m crawling on your shores

And I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains

I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains

There’s more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line

And the less I seek my source for some definitive

(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine, yeah

Closer I am to fine, yeah

And I went to see the doctor of philosophy

With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee

He never did marry or see a B-grade movie

He graded my performance, he said he could see through me

I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind

Got my paper and I was free

And I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains

I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains

There’s more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line

And the less I seek my source for some definitive

(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine, yeah

Closer I am to fine, yeah

I stopped by the bar at 3 A.M.

To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend

And I woke up with a headache like my head against a board

Twice as cloudy as I’d been the night before

And I went in seeking clarity

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains

I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains

We look to the children, we drink from the fountain

Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the workout

We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout

There’s more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line

And the less I seek my source for some definitive

(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine

Closer I am to fine

Closer I am to fine, yeah

Closer to Fine

As an aside: I learned today that “satiable” is indeed a word. The elephant has a satiable appetite for questions about the way things work, are, came to be.. (in “The Elephant Child,” Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling, 1902).

As an added bonus:

The Frantics/Four on the Floor was a comedy show on CBC (Canada) in 1986. Every episode contained a satirical music video. Here is their “educational” music video: “Heavy Metal Shop.”