Despite getting busted for offenses such as tardiness and note-passing in this account of his high school days, Young MC probably didn't spend much time in the principal's office. Even after securing a record deal and releasing 'Bust a Move' in 1988, the brainy rapper stayed in college, graduating from USC that year with a degree in economics.
'Be True to Your School'
This all-time top school song's simple structure, pre-psychedelic '60s imagery and "Rah rah / Sis boom bah" lyrics are a bit outdated for today's school-going youth. Afterall, there's no guest rapper to be found anywhere on the track. Still, the plain-spoken, undeniable pride in the supremacy of one's alma matter is something students from any generation can understand.
When these 'Graceland'-loving New York City popsters released their debut album in 2008, fans debated whether the "cruel professor" of the song's lyrics was a college teacher or simply a fellow student. Regardless, the song works as a cautionary tale about how small and crowded even the biggest campuses can be when a romance ends badly.
'Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard'
Unfinished homework is nothing compared to the problems facing the dual protagonists of this unusual school song from Paul Simon's 1972 solo album. Seems these two pals got caught by somebody's mother doing something illegal in the schoolyard. What exactly they were up to has been debated by rock historians, but Simon reportedly doesn't know and doesn't care. Obviously he's no Narc.
'Rock 'n' Roll High School'
It's a safe bet you wouldn't have found the Ramones on the school spirit squad. Check out their progressive views on public education: "I hate the teachers and the principal / Don't wanna be taught to be no fool." The track is taken from the 1979 film of the same name, which starred the band as the inspiration for a destructive student-led school takeover.
Chuck Berry, the grandfather of rock 'n' roll, chronicles his good-natured and dutiful battles with homework, classroom bullies and crowded lunchrooms, all in the name of higher education. Come three o' clock he gets his daily reward: "Right to the juke joint you go in / Drop the coin right into the slot /You're gotta hear somethin' that's really hot."
'No Such Thing'
John Mayer stands up on behalf of frustrated high school artists and musicians everywhere, rejecting institutional and parental pressure to conform. Take heart; it seems he too had trouble convincing those around him that he could make it in the entertainment business: "They love to tell you stay inside the lines / But something's better on the other side."
This serious school song was inspired by the tragic real-life story of a young student who killed himself in front of his classmates, to protest their bullying actions. So, maybe this semester, take it easy on the nerdy kid who doesn't quite fit in, okay? Some of us bloom later than others, maybe even some of your favorite musicians.
'Hot for Teacher'
This might be the most awesome school video in the history of the universe. How perfectly cast are Van Halen's junior dopplegangers? The band dancing in red tuxes? The endless library desk from Eddie's solo? The late great Phil Hartman's vocal turn as Waldo? And remember, back then, high school student-teacher romances were fictional!
Cooper explains this song perfectly right here, but allow us to wax philosophically. Kids, they get you nine months every year, and that's pretty rough. But take a look down the road, when you'll be lucky to get a few weeks off. Now go and cause a lot of trouble this and every other summer while you still can!