By Glenn BurnSilver
In this week's issue, we speak with Alice Cooper about the 40th anniversary of his signature ode to teenage rebellion, “School's Out.”
“I've never had a song or heard of any song that's had as much impact on kids,” Cooper tells us in the piece. “That song is everybody's national anthem. From presidents of the United States to movie stars to guys you would look at in an airport and think were the furthest thing away from rock 'n' roll, they would come up to me and go, 'School's Out' got me through school.'”
Of course, fans of Cooper's syndicated radio show Nights With Alice Cooper know the man likes to talk, so we ran up with more than we could fit into this week's feature. So read on for our collection of Alice Cooper outtakes.
“You know, nobody usually gets two anthems in a row. We had 'I'm Eighteen' and 'School's Out' as two anthems in a row.”
While not generally known, Cooper was a big fan of the original Yardbirds with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. “School's Out,” he says, was actually modeled after the English group. He just doesn't think many people realized it.
“The great thing about the song is the fact that it was seen as a rock song, but it was patterned after a Yardbirds kind of song. It's a '70s Yardbird's song. But it doesn't seem to ever lose its rock authority. A kid listens to that song and thinks it's a heavy rock song.”
The band had already gained some commercial airplay with “I'm Eighteen” from Love It to Death, but scoring another big hit with “School's Out” seemed to come as something of a surprise… for the public at least.
“We were a notorious band as far as our stage show. Everybody loved the stage show. We has one hit under our belt with 'I'm Eighteen,' but nobody expected that next song to be like 'My Generation,'” Cooper says. “It had eerie element of a hit in it…You know, nobody usually gets two anthems in a row. We had 'I'm Eighteen' and 'School's Out' as two anthems in a row.”
The School's Out original vinyl release featured not only a cover that opened like a school desk, but an album wrapped in a pair of girls panties. An addition that Cooper, who notes three band members studied art at school, says was as obvious in application as it was promotion.
“If you were 14-years old and on Monday morning you could sit at your desk and produce a pair of panties, you were the man,” he says with a laugh.
“They were probably your sister's, but it looked like you got lucky, like you went all the way, which was probably a lie. But the idea of the paper panties was for the big bravado of producing the panty. We only did it on the first 100,000 copies. Everybody who has those now, those are like real collector's items.”
But Cooper says he never even saved a pair to call his own.
“I'm not a collector at all. I give all my stuff away. My mom collects stuff. She has a really incredible collection of my stuff. She has the original panties.”