Tuesday Tunes 139: Teachers And Schools

Last week’s theme was inspired by the current wave of public sector industrial action here in the UK, and I thought I’d borrow another. It was estimated that last week around 25,000 schools had been closed here by strike action by teachers and support staff, so this seemed a bit of a no-brainer for a choice. So, good people, I give you a set of songs about: teachers and schools. There are plenty to choose from, and I hope you enjoy my selection.

I always try to start with something to get the toes tapping, and I think this one fits the bill nicely:

That introduction is the closest you’ll ever come to hearing any rapping here! In case you didn’t know, Paul Simon gave us Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard on his second solo album – the first since his break up with Art Garfunkel. The album was simply entitled Paul Simon, and it was released in January 1972, reaching #4 in the US but topping the charts here in the UK. I went to uni in October of that year and this was very much a part of my three years there – it is a superb album. This was the second single taken from the album, in May 1972, peaking at #22 in the US and #15 in the UK. A fun song to get us started.

Today’s second tune is also from a big name artist, and may well be familiar to you:

I had to give you an audio-only clip for that as the song wasn’t released as a single and no video was therefore made for it. As you can see, it was a track on Elton John’s sixth album, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, which was released in January 1973, becoming his second successive #1 album in the US and his first UK #1. Teacher I Need You is a great little story of a young boy’s crush on his teacher – we’ve all been there! – and got a lot of radio airplay at the time, since when it has also featured in the set list for several of his tours. The story behind the album’s title is fun: apparently Elton was playing the piano at a party in Hollywood hosted by Groucho Marx – as you do when you’re a star. Groucho introduced him to the guests and pointed his fingers at him in a cocked gun gesture: Elton’s response became the album title.

I’m following that one with another audio-only clip, but I think this one is much more obscure:

As you can see from the clip, Ry Cooder released School Is Out on his album Show Time which, as the title suggests, was a live recording – his first, though it was his sixth album overall. It came out in January 1977 and Wikipedia doesn’t note any chart placings for it, which doesn’t really surprise me, as Ry has a loyal fan following, is well regarded by critics and his peers, but doesn’t make chart busting records. The song was co-written by Gary US Bonds, who had a US #5 hit with it in 1961. It doesn’t appear on any of Ry Cooder’s other albums apart from this one, though.

Another one which you might not know is up next. The video is out of sync and has some weird camera angles, but it’s a fun song so I wanted to include it anyway:

Rockpile are one of the great secrets of British rock music.The band included Dave Edmunds (previously a UK #1 with I Hear You Knocking, and also part of Love Sculpture, who had a hit with their amazing version of Sabre Dance), and also Nick Lowe (previously of the great Brinsley Schwarz band and later a long solo career, including hits like I Knew The Bride). They were together nearly five years but only released one album in that time: the rest of what they recorded became three Dave Edmunds solo albums and one by Nick Lowe. Teacher Teacher is a track from the one band album, Seconds Of Pleasure, released in October 1980 and peaking at #34 in the UK and #27 in the US. The track was released as a single in December 1980, making #51 in the US but not getting into the UK charts. But they were fun and, as I’ve often said, music should be there to be enjoyed.

Back on more familiar territory with my next one, I think:

Cat Stevens, as he then was, included Remember The Days Of The Old Schoolyard on his Izitso album, which came out in April 1977 and got to #18 in the UK and #7 in the US. As you can hear on this song he used synthesisers as a change from his previous, more acoustic, albums to mixed critical appraisal. This was also released as a single, peaking at #44 in the UK and #33 in the US. Perhaps confusingly this video made for the single features Cat duetting with the singer Linda Lewis, though she didn’t appear on the record: the vocals you can hear came from Elkie Brooks. It’s still a good little bit of nostalgia to which we can all relate, though.

Did I just say that music should be fun? It is with this bunch around:

I think Bowling For Soup are great, and they always seem to be enjoying themselves in their videos. High School Never Ends was the opening track on their wonderfully named album The Great Burrito Extortion Case, released in November 2006, which reached #88 in the US and #43 in the UK – most of their albums fared better here. it had also been the first single from the album, in September of that year, peaking at #97 in the US and #40 in the UK. In case you aren’t familiar with them, the song that the kids band were playing at the beginning of the video was another of theirs – 1985. If you’re interested, you can see it here. You won’t regret it, trust me!

I played a song by Steely Dan last week, and they also have one that fits today’s theme. As they are one of my all time favourite bands I make absolutely no apology for playing them again:

My Old School was a track on the band’s second album, Countdown To Ecstasy, which was released in June 1973 and got to #35 in the US, though for some strange reason it is the only one of their albums that didn’t make the UK charts. It’s still a great album, though, and I think we missed out. The song was released as a single in October 1973, making #63 in the US but again not featuring in the UK charts. And before anyone tells me, yes, I know they were miming for the tv broadcast this video comes from. Either that or Donald Fagen is good at doing dual harmony vocals with himself, and the invisible sax player did a great job too.

Time for today’s closer. What else could it be? Yes, folks, school is definitely out:

They don’t come much more classic rock than that, do they? Alice Cooper’s Schools Out was the title track of his fifth album, released in June 1972, just in time for the school holidays – well done, marketing guys! The album reached #2 in the US and #4 in the UK. The song had come out as a single slightly earlier, at the end of April, to give it time to climb the charts before we were all released from torture. It made #7 in the US but was an even bigger hit here in the UK, reaching #1 in August 1972 and staying there for three weeks. It chimed very well with me, as that was the time that school was finally out for me after fourteen years, and I headed off to be a grown up at uni. Some hope!

I think that is probably it for now for my themed posts on UK industrial action. I had been thinking of doing a third next week around ‘fire’ but yesterday the firefighters accepted a pay award and called off their strike. No consideration for anyone who might have been relying on them for a blog post! I’ll just have to think of something else – there may be some mileage in the developing story here of our disgraced ex-Prime Minister using his honours awards to give his father a knighthood – you couldn’t make it up, could you! Then again, we have several more days for the government to drop itself in it and give me a new theme – watch this space.

I’m doing something today that I haven’t done with any of these Tuesday Tunes posts before. I like to illustrate them with a cartoon and today I couldn’t make up my mind between two possibles, so I’m giving you both. Have a good week, and stay warm in the UK’s Arctic weather 😊⛄️


35 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 139: Teachers And Schools

  1. Pingback: March March | Take It Easy

  2. looks like it was another fun post to put together, and a theme that is close to my heat – and my wife’s! Great opening and closing songs, and a lot of others in between that I am not too familiar with! I also liked the science teacher cartoon at the end 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great song to finish with from Alice Cooper (my fav) …all good choices a couple that were new to me as you predicted, Clive.. didn’t really like the Ry Cooder one very much I always love Bowling Green they are fun and didn’t disappoint such naughty school boys..lol xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Almost all winners for me. Ry Cooder is the only one I wouldn’t listen to again. I know this will be blasphemy for some, but I’ve never been a Pal Simon guy either although I like several of the Simon and Garfunkel tracks. I loved all the other ones. I wasn’t sure what direction you would go with this. One of the first ones that popped into my head (though probably not a great message) was Smoking in the Boys Room by Brownsville Station. (later done by Motley Crue) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9zWw0Ru28w

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Clive, good selection of school songs. Paul Simon hit it big with his first post S&G album. It does not surprise me that he went to number one in the UK, as that is where he first toured writing many of his S&G songs. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Keith. I think Paul Simon was still riding on the success of Bridge Over Troubled Water: both the single and album were huge hits here. The album was still in our top ten when this one came out, part of a total run of over 300 weeks in the top 100, 33 of which were at #1. He was onto a winner with anything at that time!


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