Tuesday, June 19, 2012
40 Year Itch: No More Pencils, No More Books
What's the greatest three minutes of your life? One is Christmas morning... 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.'
The Alice Cooper Band emerged from the Arizona desert in the late 60's to sign with Frank Zappa's Straight label in Los Angeles. Two years later the shock rockers moved to the Motor City, practicing 12 hours a day and rubbing shoulders with the Stooges and MC5 -- influences which led them to record their finest albums Love It To Death and Killer. The Summer that saw the release of their most famous single "School's Out" and the album of the same name, the band moved to a mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. I know the timing's off but I like to imagine Alice Cooper among the lock-jawed set at the country club getting cornered by Chase Davenport IV explaining to Alice that if he wanted to hear some "very fine music indeed" he should check out the soundtrack to West Side Story.
That might explain the concept album that is School's Out ( or at least Track 3 "Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets"). That kind of ruins the album for me even though I like "Luney Tune", "Alma Mater", "Public Animal No. 9" and of course "School's Out"--which just one, by a landslide, a recent Rolling Stone Readers' Poll for Best Graduation Song.( Actually "Alma Mater" is a better graduation song--"Goodbye everybody/ I finally grew up/They finally let me out of schooooool")
Alice Cooper told Esquire Magazine: "When we did 'School's Out,' I knew we had just done the national anthem. I've become the Francis Scott Key of the last day of school."
The producer , Bob Ezrin, reused the kiddie chorus trick again when he produced Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" seven years later.
The single hit Top 10 in the US and #1 in the UK. The album hit #2 on the Billboard charts. Oh,and the vinyl disc originally came wrapped in a pair of flammable panties