Last week, when Rocks Off was editing our former intern Matthew Keever's article about the worst back-to-school soundtracks when Jerry Lee Lewis' "High School Confidential" popped into our head out of the blue. Not really out of the blue, we guess, but the next thing we knew we were thinking, "You know, maybe it would actually be fun to go back to school." (And by the way, we are still looking for a fall intern. See here and holla.)
Anyway, you know what happens when music writers start thinking like that: We make a playlist.
1. Jerry Lee Lewis, "High School Confidential"
They're all great, but Rocks Off likes this song a little better than even "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." The words don't mention anything more dangerous than dancing, but it's that pounding piano and boogie-woogie beat that would soon strike fear into the hearts of parents, teachers and principals across the country.
2. Chuck Berry, "School Days"
Classic Chuck. One of the handful of Berry sides that defined early rock and roll - ring, ring goes the bell, and Berry's guitar. Today it makes Rocks Off wonder if public schools still teach the golden rule. Wouldn't that fall under separation of church and state?
3. Sonny Boy Williamson, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"
Williamson's leering blues staple, played above by the Yardbirds with Eric Clapton on lead guitar, has everything but a windowless van. Rocks Off has no idea how it wound up on our list. Swear.
4. The White Stripes, "We're Going to Be Friends"
Nothing says back to school like an ex-married couple pretending like they're in kindergarten. It all makes sense over the opening credits of Napoleon Dynamite, though. Gosh!
5. Spinal Tap, "Bitch School"
Now we're talking. The befuddled UK metal legends' Break Like the Wind track is commonly misinterpreted as misogynistic thanks to lyrics like "I'm gonna chain you/ Make you sleep out of doors/ You're so fetching when you're down on all fours." As the band was careful to explain in a Washington Post interview, though, it's a tender celebration of their canine companions. "It's an ode, really," said guitarist Nigel Tufnel.
6. Rockpile, "Teacher Teacher"
Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds petition their instructor for lessons in love on this absolute gem from the criminally underappreciated power-poppers' 1980 Seconds of Pleasure LP. Constantly vying with "I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll" as Rocks Off's favorite Rockpile song, and nearly responsible for our spending the balance of Wednesday afternoon watching Rockpile videos on YouTube. Talk about staying on task.
7. George Strait, "Check Yes or No"
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King George details a love affair from stealing kisses on the school bus to date nights in a white limousine. Not Rocks Off's favorite Strait song by a country mile, just too damn sweet for us to leave off the list.
8. Replacements, "Fuck School"
This typically snotty track from the Mats' debut Stink consists of little else but Paul Westerberg sneering "Fuck school, fuck school, fuck my school" again and again over a track that sounds like it was recorded on a Walkman (and may have been). Maybe that's why we really want to go back to school: So we can hate it all over again. It's been a rough month.