It’s almost time for back to school, but if you are more of the rebellious type, you may remember these edgy songs about school. Forget Beach Boys school spirit, we’re talking terminal preppies and headmaster rituals. Here are the top punk and alternative songs about school.
“Catholic School Girls Rule”- Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1985. This song was inspired when Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis had a backstage encounter with a young Catholic school girl. The controversial video for this song never made it on to MTV and it’s no wonder. The lyrics to this song alone are controversial enough, let alone the scenes of KIedis hanging from a cross.
“School”- Nirvana, 1989. The late Kurt Cobain was often a man of few words. In this early Nirvana song, the main lyric is “Won’t you believe it it’s just my luck/no recess/no recess/no recess”. It’s repeated over and over again. But let’s face it, recess is the best part of school, so doesn’t it deserve its own song?
“Terminal Preppie”- Dead Kennedys, 1982 . This song pays homage to drunken preps in college, with aspirations of a cookie cutter life with a Stepford wife. At only a minute and a half long, this song crammed a lot of preppie angst into a very short time.
“Revolution In the Classroom”- Sex Pistols, 1989. This song talks of being “behind the classroom door/where seasons waste away”, but the anti-school theme is not the biggest controversy of this song. Sex Pistols fans hate that it is credited as the last single by the band, when it was actually recorded after the band broke up by only some of the band members. So it is Sex Pistols or Ex Pistols?
“High School “- MC5, 1970. School spirit, punk rock style? This MC5 song was featured in the 1979 Ramones movie Rock and Roll High School. Rah rah rah, sis boom bah! Which brings us to…
“Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, Ramones, 1979. The forefathers of punk rock, this band made a whole movie around their song “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”. The lyrics made it clear: these cool cats didn’t care about history class and they “didn’t want to be taught by no fool.”
“New Kid in School”- The Donnas, 2007. Being the new kid in school is no fun, but if you befriend the popular girls you’ll be just fine. Because we all know high school girls never get cliquey. This song was featured on the Rock Band 2 video game.
“School Days”- The Runaways, 1977. Before rocker Joan Jett sang about her love for rock and roll, she was in a teenage all-girl hard rock band with Cherie Currie, Lita Ford and Sandy West. While this school song isn’t as recognizable as some others, at least these chicks were young enough to know what they were singing about.
“Headmaster Ritual”- The Smiths, 1985. This song was the opening track on the album “Meat Is Murder” and it paints a picture of bullying and violence at school. The lyrics “I wanna go home/ I don’t wanna stay” ring true for any kid who has ever dreaded going to school.
“Jeremy”- Pearl Jam, 1992. This song was alternative rock’s answer to the Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays”. And like “Mondays”, Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” was based on a true story- this one of a 15 year old, Jeremy Wade Delle, who shot himself in front of his class in Richardson, Texas in 1991. As the lyrics sadly proclaim, “Jeremy spoke in class today”.