But didn't Cooper also count down those final three minutes until summertime became a reality?

"Sure, I loved the time off because basically the band was going to practice all summer and go on tour. At the same time, I did not loathe high school at all," he says. "In fact, I might have been the only one there who was really enjoying it."

But Cooper profited off those who weren't enjoying it — or at least couldn't wait for the term to end. The song's anthemic qualities made it an instant radio staple that resonated with youth everywhere. The record sales quickly catapulted Cooper's band (which a year earlier had had a lesser hit with another anthem, "I'm Eighteen") from small to mid-size venues to stadiums and arenas, with a heavy dose of TV appearances tossed into the mix. This also afforded the band a chance to expand the already "notorious" stage show into a multi-level affair with guillotines, pyrotechnics, and numerous special effects and costumes. For "School's Out," giant confetti-filled weather balloons were launched from the stage.

Alice Cooper: 40 years of "School's Out"
Alice Cooper: 40 years of "School's Out"

Though Cooper often changes the lyrics of the song in concert, a fairly steady addition since the 1980s has been a merging into Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2." The end of the song now typically mixes right into, "We don't need no education / We don't need no thought control / No dark sarcasm in our classroom/Teachers leave them kids alone." Both songs feature kids singing and anti-school rhetoric and were produced by Bob Ezrin, though Cooper takes credit for Pink Floyd borrowing those attributes from him.

"Pink Floyd liked it so much they decided to put the kids on The Wall also," he says. "The two songs fit together like a glove."

Now, 40 years after its initial release, no Alice Cooper concert is complete without "School's Out," nor is the last day of school. The song remains a rite of passage for many, and should be for generations to come.

"It was the only song out of [my] 14 hit records that I was absolutely sure of," he says. "It was the one song I would have bet the whole farm on."

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Alice Cooper was always in a league all his own. Looking back, I really like the way he distanced himself musically with all the hits that were theme songs back then, including Cold Ethyl.


About 15 years ago Alice did a benefit concert for a kids youth center on an Indian reservation here in Arizona. When I was able to see the generation had changed and Alice still was helping people. To this day I know he won many lifelong fans.


 @andre-leonard  alice cooper is a born again christian and also a sunday school teacher in paradise valley where he lives. hjs dad was a preacher.

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