School’s Out

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“School’s Out” is a 1972 title track single released on Alice Cooper’s fifth album. It is arguably Alice Cooper‘s most well-known song.

Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, “What’s the greatest three minutes of your life?”. Says Cooper: “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 also stated that the main riff of the song is inspired by a song by Miles Davis (May 4, 2008). This was however mentioned on his radio show (June 3, 2008) that this was a satirical comment and this song is not inspired by Miles Davis.

“School’s Out” became Alice Cooper‘s first big song, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and propelling the album to #2 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. The song reached #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. In 2004, the song was ranked #319 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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, just as in Pink Floyd’s 1979 hit “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”.

There is one difference between the LP and single versions. The “turn-off” effect used at the end of the album track (which is also the common radio airplay version) is not used for the 45, which simply fades out. In 1986, Krokus covered this song for their Change of Address album.

The song has been used in the movies Scream, Dazed and Confused, and Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.

In 2004, the song was also used in a Staples television commercial 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.” (However, the lyrics to the song do include the phrase “School’s out forever.”)

The title of the first Degrassi movie comes from this song

The song is also referenced in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed ; After the police academy graduation, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) says to Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) “School’s out… No more pencils, no more books.”

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.

A cover is playable in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. In addition, the message “School’s out forever!!”, extracted from the song, can be seen on LED scrolling panels on the “Battle of the Bands” stage in the game’s precursor, Guitar Hero II.

In the Series “Everybody Hates Chris” in an episode when Chris gets revenge from the School Bully and the police are outside the school they play the song.

Cover versions

* 45 Grave in 1983, on the album Sleep in Safety
* Grave Digger in 1985, on the album Witch Hunter
* Cretu and Thiers in 1988, a single by Michael Cretu of Enigma fame
* The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
* Demons & Wizards
* Twisted Sister in 1992, on the album Big Hits and Nasty Cuts
* Kirka in 1986, on the album R.O.C.K.
* Krokus in 1986, on the album Change of Address
* Soul Asylum in 1998 for the movie The Faculty
* Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, Bob Kulick, Bob Daisley, Eric Singer and Paul Taylor in 1999 for the tribute album Humanary Stew: A Tribute to Alice Cooper
* Sevendust in 1999
* Daphne & Celeste in 2000
* The Last Hard Men in 2001
* A-Teens in 2002, on the albums Pop ‘Til You Drop and New Arrival – their version was a duet with Alice Cooper
* GWAR in 2006, on the album Beyond Hell
* Rob Zombie & Slash live with Alice Cooper at the 2007 Scream Awards.
* Jay Anderson Band in 2007, on the Laosy Lao LP
* A cover of School’s Out is a playable track in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
- adapted from Wikipedia

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