School's Out (song)
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Cover of the 1972 US single
|Single by Alice Cooper|
|from the album School's Out|
|Released||April 26, 1972|
|Alice Cooper singles chronology|
Cover of the 1972 German single
Inspiration and writing
Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?". Cooper said: "There's two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you're just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you're sitting there and it's like a slow fuse burning. I said, 'If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it's going to be so big.'"
Cooper has also said it was inspired by a line from a Bowery Boys movie. On his radio show, "Nights with Alice Cooper", he joked that the main riff of the song was inspired by a song by Miles Davis. Cooper said that guitarist Glen Buxton created the song's opening riff.
The lyrics of "School's Out" indicate that not only is the school year ended for summer vacation, but ended forever, and that the school itself has been blown up. It incorporates the childhood rhyme, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks" into its lyrics. It also featured children contributing some of the vocals. "Innocence" in the lyric "...and we got no innocence" is frequently changed in concert to "intelligence" and sometimes replaced with "etiquette." The song appropriately ends with a school bell sound that fades out.
Later performances saw Alice Cooper incorporate parts of the first verse of "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2", a song by Pink Floyd (also about school, and produced by Bob Ezrin) into "School's Out."
Release and reception
"School's Out" became Alice Cooper's first major hit single, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and propelling the album to #2 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. It was the highest-charting single for the Alice Cooper band, and its #7 peak position was matched only by "Poison" among Cooper's solo efforts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 75 song for 1972. In Canada, the single went to #3 on the RPM Top Singles Chart following the album reaching #1. In Britain, the song went to #1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in August 1972. It also marked the first time that Alice Cooper became regarded as more than just a theatrical novelty act.
The single version of the song is a slightly sped-up mono mix of the album version with one major difference — the "turn-off" effect used upon the school bell and sound effects at the end of the album version is not used on the single version, allowing the school bell and effects to simply fade out.
Some radio stations banned the song from their airwaves, stating that the song gave the students an impression of rebelliousness against childhood education. Teachers, parents, principals, counselors, and psychologists also shunned the song and demanded several radio stations ban the song from ever being played on the air.
"School's Out" was ranked #326 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2009 it was named the 35th best hard rock song of all time by VH1 and the song appeared on the TV show American Idol in 2010. The Guardian placed it as number 3 on its list of "The 20 best glam-rock songs of all time." In 2018, Ian Chapman and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have called it a "glam rock anthem." Nick Talevski has called it a "hard rock anthem" on his book Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door. The Independent named the song at tenth in the list "Gold Dust: Glam rock's top 10 singles."
Use in popular media
In 2004, the song was also used in a Staples television commercial for the back to school retail period in which Alice appeared as himself. A young girl with black hair, obviously disappointed that school is starting soon, says, "I thought you said 'School's out forever.'" Alice (who's pushing a shopping cart full of her school supplies) replies, "No, no, no ... the song goes, 'School's out for summer.' Nice try though." The song was also used in a 2009 Arby's commercial. In 2018, a commercial for Phoenix-based Desert Financial Credit Union used the song, as Alice is from Phoenix.
The Simpsons episode "Kamp Krusty" had an excerpt of the song's refrain used during Bart's dream sequence with the destruction of Springfield Elementary on its last day of school before summer vacation, and in the episode I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can, Principal Skinner sings his own version - "School's back in session, let's begin our lesson!"
Cooper performs the song as the closing act of his episode on The Muppet Show where he dances with various large Muppet monsters who gleefully act out his lyrics, including causing numerous explosions. The song was also performed in the finale of the ninth season of American Idol by Idol contestants and Cooper himself.
Daphne and Celeste version
|Single by Daphne and Celeste|
|from the album We Didn't Say That!|
|Released||August 21, 2000 (US)|
|Daphne and Celeste singles chronology|
Pop duo Daphne and Celeste released a cover of the song in 2000, although much of this cover is original, in a pop-rap style. The chorus is based on that in Alice Cooper's version, and some other elements of it have been retained as well. The single is remixed from the version released on their album We Didn't Say That!, removing a prominent synthesizer line from the chorus among other, more minor changes. The B-side, "The Camp Song", was the only non-album D&C song available until the release of their fourth single almost 15 years later. School's Out was their first and only single released in Japan.
- Track listing
- "School's Out"
- "The Camp Song"
- "School's Out" (Gridlock Mix)
- "School's Out" (video)
|Single by Gwar|
|from the album Beyond Hell|
|Format||Promo CD, digital single|
|Producer(s)||Devin Townsend & Cory Smoot|
|Gwar singles chronology|
"School's Out" was also covered by the band Gwar. It was the first release from their 2006 album Beyond Hell. It was released as a digital download through services such as iTunes and eMusic, and as a promotional CD sent to radio stations. The band has stated in several interviews that they had not intended on recording a cover song for Beyond Hell, but the record company insisted that they do a cover that might get some airplay, and would be accessible to a wider audience than their first choice for a single, "Eighth Lock".
- Rob Zombie and Slash, live with Alice Cooper at the 2007 Scream Awards. Zombie has also performed a cover of the song during several dates on the Twins of Evil tour in 2012.
- Foo Fighters performed the song as well as "I'm Eighteen" live with Alice Cooper at their 2011 show at the Milton Keynes Bowl.
- New York City indie rock band Les Savy Fav performed a version of the song in July 2011 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover: Summer Break series.
- Krokus, released a cover version and music video in 1986.
Weekly singles charts
- Originally stated May 4, 2008; clarified as just a joke on June 3, 2008.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 7, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "spreadit.org music". Archived from the original on August 27, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- Savage, Jon (February 1, 2013). "The 20 best glam-rock songs of all time". The Guardian. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Chapman, Ian (2018). Experiencing Alice Cooper: A Listener's Companion. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 26. ISBN 9781442257719.
- Mervis, Scott (October 27, 2018). "Alice Cooper is the perfect master of ceremonies for WDVE Halloween party at Stage AE". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Talevski, Nick (2010). Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2.
- Pepinster, Catherine (August 16, 1998). "Gold Dust: Glam rock's top 10 singles". The Independent. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- "Staples Unveils Back-to-School Commercial Starring Alice Cooper; 'School's Out' - Or Is It - For Veteran Rocker in New Ad Campaign". Business Wire. July 8, 2004. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012.
- "Glee Songs Report Card - Season 3 Episode 18 - Choke". Top40.about.com. January 7, 2014. Archived from the original on January 13, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- "Les Savy Fav covers "School's Out" by Alice Cooper on a yacht". Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- ""Go-Set Singles Chart Page with "School's Out" Peak Position"" Retrieved on November 5, 2009.
- ""Austrian Singles Charts Search for Alice Cooper"" Austriancharts.at. Retrieved on August 10, 2009."
- ""German Singles Charts Search for Alice Cooper"" Archived September 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine musicline.de. Retrieved on August 11, 2009."
- ""Irish Singles Charts Search for Alice Cooper"" irishcharts.com. Retrieved on August 11, 2009."
- ""Norwegian Singles Charts Search for Alice Cooper"" norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved on August 11, 2009."
- ""Dutch Singles Charts Search for Alice Cooper"" dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved on August 11, 2009."
- Flavour of New Zealand, 9 October 1972
- Rice, Jo; Tim Rice; Paul Gambaccini; Mike Read (1979). The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (2nd ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 0-900424-99-0.
- "Alice Cooper - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles" Allmusic. Retrieved on August 10, 2009."
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles, August 19, 1972_
- "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1972". 22.214.171.124. Archived from the original on October 22, 2014.