What does that song mean?

Your Back-To-School Playlist

Posted Aug 28th 2023, 14:57 by Penguin Pete

Well, what happened to that summer? It went by in a flash of wildfires and heat waves, naturally. It’s time now for the autumn rite of passage, the return to school – and with it, these hot rock picks to stick on your headphones and get yourself in the mood while you shop for 3-ring binders and #2 pencils.

And remember, this is the beginning of school season – you have to wait till the end to play Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” them’s the rules. We’re gonna try to find songs with a more positive attitude towards education. It’s 2023; cynicism is out of style. OK, maybe not, but we’re not gonna get all bitter and Pink Floyd about it this time, and nobody is getting “Hot For Teacher” or other such horny nonsense (sorry Aerosmith, but we’re not walking that way).

Related posts also by your suave wizard of wordage:

Back To School - The Top 7 Educational Pop Songs

We Can Fix America If We Just Bring Back Schoolhouse Rock

To Sir With Love” – Lulu

Might as well start here, with the theme song to the Sidney Poitier film of the same title. And despite what the title might make some of you think, this is not a case of student-teacher lust, but genuine respect for a teacher who took their jobs seriously. The film itself is a gritty urban drama type of school movie. And hey, here’s Lulu again, we just wrote about her 1969 Eurovision win.

Smokin' In the Boys Room” - Brownsville Station

Of course you know this song from the Motley Crue cover – likely have it driven into your head if you’ve gone near a radio in the last few decades – so for a treat here’s the original version by Brownsville Station. Yes, it was a cover! Brownsville Station hailed from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and dropped this single way back in 1973; this was the closest they got to a hit and then they got covered by a more famous band. Way to get Diamond Headed! Conveniently, the lyrics still fit if you change it to “Vaping in the Boy’s Room.” Because who smokes anymore, amirite?

School” – Supertramp

Yes, everyone’s favorite upbeat prog-rockers, Supertramp, made a totally sincere song about learning. This is the opening track from their 3rd album, 1974’s Crime of the Century. Band members Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson co-wrote the song, with that blistering piano solo (kicks in 3:15-ish) inserted by Davies. In typical meditative Supertramp fashion, the lyrics according to Hodgson himself are an examination of what school does and doesn’t prepare us for, with the attitude that public education is fine anyway, but you should still learn beyond it. Supertramp – the band that’s like a warm fuzzy hug for your brain!

Rock and Roll High School” – Ramones

There we included the Ramones song. Happy now? Sorry for the attitude, but that’s punk. All music bloggers are obligated to gush over the Ramones, but man, can’t we give this one a break by now? This is of course the title track from the soundtrack of the movie of the same name. Instead of racking my brain to write something original about the Ramones again, I’ll turn you over to Shane Wilson’s write-up of the 1979 film; he has an original take on the Ramones which will refresh your perspective on the CBGB darlings. Shane Wilson is a big deal, not just because of his work in the excellent film geek’s podcast The Completists, but also because he blogs alongside yours truly at 366WeirdMovies, and even peeps into the #Pod366 podcast once in a blue. I swear, I will meet him sometime.

Is that the bell already?

Honestly, I was expecting to run out of songs about school that weren’t just “burn it down” or “mmm sexy teacher,” but now I think I’ll have to part-2 this…




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