Chuck Berry – School Day

Chuck was more than a  than a rock and roll guitar player in the 50s. He was a  rock and roll poet. A side note…I’ve seen this listed as School Day and School Days.

This song described teenage life in the 50s wonderfully. Teenagers were the target audience for most rock music in that era, and Berry, 30 years old when he wrote the song, knew that he could sell a lot of records by appealing to this crowd.

School days hadn’t changed much since he was there, so his story about getting through the hectic day while thinking about dancing and being with your girl was still relevant to him.

He describes school as restrictive but when it came to rock music…it was all about freedom and Drop the coin right into the slot.

It peaked at #5 in the Billboard Hot 100, #1 in the R&B Charts, and #25 in the UK in 1956.

From Songfacts

Many people mistakenly think the title is the first line in the last verse, “Hail, hail, rock ‘n’ roll.” The line was used as the title for a 1988 rock documentary featuring Berry.

The stops and starts in this song evoke the nature of high school, where you go from one class or activity to another. Berry remembered a big change going from elementary school, where he stayed in the same room all day, to the peripatetic high school routine.

This was Berry’s first hit in the UK.

Berry released a follow-up to this in 1971 called “Lonely School Days (Version 2).”

School Days

Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You studyin’ hard and hopin’ to pass
Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone
And the guy behind you won’t leave you alone

Ring, ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunch room’s ready to sell
You’re lucky if you can find a seat
You’re fortunate if you have time to eat
Back in the classroom, open your books
Keep up the teacher don’t know how mean she looks

Soon as three o’clock rolls around
You finally lay your burden down
Close up your books, get outta your seat
Down the halls and into the street
Up to the corner and ’round the bend
Right to the juke joint, you go in

Drop the coin right into the slot
You’re gotta hear somethin’ that’s really hot
With the one you love, you’re makin’ romance
All day long you been wantin’ to dance,
Feeling the music from head to toe
Round and round and round we go

Drop the coin right into the slot
You’re gotta hear somethin’ that’s really hot
With the one you love, you’re makin’ romance
All day long you been wantin’ to dance,
Feeling the music from head to toe
Round and round and round we go

Hail, hail rock and roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock and roll
The beat of the drums, loud and bold
Rock, rock, rock and roll
The feelin’ is there, body and soul