Top 10 School Songs That Rock
When it comes to school songs that rock, forget math or science. The two most popular subjects are anti-authoritarianism and sexual fantasy. If you think Jack Black was the first dude to mix rock 'n' roll with education, think again. Old-school hits like Chuck Berry's 'School Days' and Jerry Lee Lewis' 'High School Confidential' paved the way for our following list of the Top 10 School Songs That Rock:
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’
In typical Ramones fashion, the band got right to the point with this song: “I just wanna have some kicks / I just wanna get some chicks.” Isn't that what high school is all about? The New York punk pioneers performed this track in the 1979 film of the same name, and later re-recorded it with legendary producer Phil Spector for their 1980 album 'End of the Century.'
This hard-hitting track off the Seattle grunge gods' 1989 debut disc, 'Bleach,' packs the punch of an oversized schoolyard bully. Maybe Kurt Cobain had his lunch money taken away as a kid. That might explain why Nirvana could only afford to spend $600 to record the album. And perhaps that's what the late frontman meant by the song's repetitive line “No recess.”
‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’
Every list of school songs should have more than one tune about juvenile delinquency. While nobody really knows what crime the protagonist (“Me”) and Julio committed, it apparently was bad enough to get them in a lot of trouble. Either way, the 1972 track was among the highlights of Paul Simon's first album without his musical partner-in-crime, Art Garfunkel.
Class, it's time to get serious for a moment. This song's focus on teen suicide resonated loudly with youth at the time, and its message remains powerful today in light of the recent attention placed on bullying in schools. The clip for 'Jeremy' won Best Video of the Year at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, and the tune helped Pearl Jam's debut album, 'Ten,' move 10 million copies.
‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’
Sting likely drew from his days as a teacher to pen this song about a schoolgirl with a dangerous crush on her instructor. The track, off 1980's 'Zenyatta Mondattà,' is as haunting musically as it lyrically, and blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. With lyrics like “Wet bus stop / She's waiting / His car is warm and dry,” the Police frontman could have been arrested for this tune.
No good countdown of school songs comes compete without this chart-topper off 1981's 'Freeze Frame.' In the tune, singer Peter Wolf looks back at his “homeroom angel” after seeing her picture in a “girly magazine.” Combined with a video that features a bevy of scantily clad schoolgirls, this track captures the sentiment of every boy who has fantasized about his classroom crush.
‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’
In this jam, off 1985's 'Theatre of Pain,' Mötley Crüe worried that getting caught “smokin' in the boys room” at school would “surely be the death of us all.” Considering the bandmembers' real-life debauchery, it's amazing they're all still alive today. The Crüe bogarted this joint from the Brownsville Station, whose 1973 original version of the song reached No. 3 on the singles chart.
‘Hot for Teacher’
Any guy who was a kid in the '80s has still got it bad for the video for this tune off Van Halen's '1984.' After watching it, boys everywhere imagined their female teachers in bikinis. Not sure if that was always a good thing. Five years ago, the band added a school-aged kid to its lineup — Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang. The group is hoping to release a new album this year.
‘Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2′
Ever want to tell your teacher to leave you alone? With this track, Pink Floyd provided the voice for millions of students across the globe. The song, complete with vocals from a school choir, is among the highlights on the band's 1979 epic concept opus, 'The Wall,' and provides the soundtrack to one of the most compelling scenes in the film adaptation of the album.
After celebrating the end of the school year and threatening to never come back in this 1972 anthem of all school anthems, Alice Cooper recently returned to class — the latest class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, that is! Perhaps skipping school is the best way to make it big in this world. But that would mean missing out on all those teachers' dirty looks.