In about a week, the schools in our area will close for the summer. Where you live, kids might already been out. Here, it’s always the latter half of June.
I no longer have a kid in school, so I don’t keep track any longer; yet, the fact that the last day of school is just around the corner is acutely evident, for two reasons. One, the ice cream truck is coming around in the afternoon. Two, Alice Cooper is on the radio. A lot.
It was the summer of 1972; I was in my final days of elementary school, when “School’s Out” hit the charts.
Don’t pretend you don’t know it. I bet you can tell me exactly where you were on your life’s road or where the song takes you when you hear it today.
For me it was Annandale, Virginia. I felt so grown up, saying good-bye to the school with the little chairs, and facing junior high with excitement and anxiety. Mostly, “School’s Out” meant spending seven days a week at the Wakefield Chapel pool and having sleepovers where we listened to music and called our requests in to WPGC radio.
By 1972, I had outgrown David Cassidy; Alice Cooper was a real rocker. He sang rebelliously about the fantasied obliteration of school (not such a realistically dangerous notion back then) and we could relate to it. I understand that, in 2004, Rolling Stone named “School’s Out” one of the 500 greatest songs of all time. I never owned an Alice Cooper record, but if I had it to do over, I would have snapped one up at Rainbow Tree.
I confess, when that song comes on the radio, I still crank it up and sing along. Belted it out it just yesterday, as I pulled out of the grocery store parking lot, after stopping for Activia.
To this day, while far from poetic, my favorite verse is:
Well we got no class
And we got no principles [play on words, perhaps?]
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes
Please don’t think less of me.
So, where were you when you first grooved to this song? And hearing it on American Idol doesn’t count.