We Don’t Need No Education: What albums would be in your “School of Rock” curriculum?

I’ve been “re-discovering” old music recently.  Lately I’ve been listening to music that my parents would have listened to, and a lot of the music that I listened to while I was growing up.

Some of the artists that I have been finding renewed appreciation for include David Bowie, Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Cars, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, just to name a few.

Upon listening to these old classic artists I have several times said to myself:  “Damn, this is really fucking GOOD,” and I am amazed at the genius and innovation of some of the bands who created this old music.

It is amazing to me that a band can create a song and have it bring so much joy and happiness to people around the world.  Over the years I have had much joy singing Queen songs to my dogs and dancing and bouncing all over the house to songs by The Cars.  As a teenager I used to fall asleep nightly to the first side of the record “Dark Side of the Moon,” by Pink Floyd.  So many Beatles songs simply make me happy and I have fond childhood memories of my mother singing along to Simon and Garfunkel songs.

When I was a little kid, my dad introduced me to the album “The Wall,” by Pink Floyd.  As a kid I didn’t understand the meaning behind the songs, but loved the tunes and especially loved the children singing with British accents “We don’t need no education”  and the old man scolding “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding.  How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”  I loved listening to the album and listened to it many times during my childhood and continued listening to it into my teenage years.  Over time I slowly began to develop an understanding for some of the deeper meaning of the lyrics regarding the subjects of mental health issues, war, government and society, alienation and isolation.  To me, listening to that album was part of growing up, and learning about the adult themes poised within this “concept album” was also, for me, a part of growing up.  Image

So as I’ve been re-discovering these various bands, I began to contemplate how amazing some of these classic artists are and I think about the fact that there are probably people on the planet who do not know these artists, albums or songs.  I find that to be a shame.  I really feel as though some of these classic albums were so inventive and groundbreaking that they have provided a stepping stone for many other great artists to take music to another level.

At one point in my life, I would say that every single person I knew was familiar with the albums “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, “Abbey Road” by the Beatles, and “The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” by David Bowie.  Now, with the passing of time, and as my circle of friends has grown more diverse, I wonder how many of my friends are familiar with these classic albums and artists.

I feel like there there is plenty of amazing innovative music out there and although some may think:  “We don’t need no education,”  let’s pretend for a minute that you were in charge of providing a basic music 101 class, in which students must become familiar with classic albums in an effort to encourage music appreciation.

If you were in charge of assigning albums for someone to listen to to improve their music education, “School of Rock” style, what albums would you choose?

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Some of my choices would be:

Abbey Road by The Beatles

Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

The Wall by Pink Floyd

A Night at the Opera by Queen

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie

Nevermind by Nirvana

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Thriller by Michael Jackson

The Cars by The Cars

Aqualung by Jethro Tull

Purple Rain by Prince

I could probably list more, but I am curious as to what your list includes, please comment and let me know, and then I can start doing some homework.

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The Bitch in the Beer Truck

As a junior in high school I decided to take a car repair class.  The school had a big garage and offered a couple of classes.  I signed up for a basic auto repair class.  I thought it would be fun.

My first day in class I discovered that I was the only girl in class.  Cool, I thought.  All the guys will like me and it can be a good time.  That was NOT how it went.  Turns out all the guys seemed to wanted to have their own boys’ club and they wanted time without a stupid girl in their class.  They relentlessly made fun of me and gave me a hard time, asking me why I would take this class and they implied that I wouldn’t be able to lift a tire, let alone change one.

My strategy was to ignore them and to do my best.  I figured that I was smarter than all of them anyway and that I would do fine.  I figured they would chill on making fun of me soon and things would be fine.

One thing that was awesome about the class was that you could bring in your own car and fix things on it.  I didn’t really have a car, but my mom let me use her newer Honda Accord and take it to class.  After changing the oil and rotating and balancing the tires, there wasn’t a lot left to do on the car.  On any given day in shop class if you didn’t have something to work on with your own car, you were supposed to help someone with their car.  Obviously the shop couldn’t accommodate one car for each student anyway.  I tried to help some of the boys with their projects, but nobody wanted me to work on their cars.  I would constantly be told “We got it handled,”  “We already have too many people here,” or “There is nothing for you to help with here.”

My grandpa had heard about my class and he was proud of me.  He decided to buy me a vehicle that could use a lot of work, so that I could learn a lot in class and get to do a lot to it.  My grandpa bought me the biggest ancient piece of shit truck I have ever seen.  It was a Mazda B2000 two wheel drive, manual-shift pick up truck, I think it was a 1983 model.  The cab was sort of like a tin box with toy doors.  The entire thing was rusty, parts were falling off.  The exhaust system had holes in it and it was so loud that everyone would stare when I started it up.  The gas tank leaked and I could only put a couple of dollars of gas in it at a time because it started leaking out.  I literally would fill it up until I saw the gas leaking on the ground and then stop, usually about $3 or so worth of gas.  I was at the gas station a lot.  One time as I was driving down the road I heard a loud noise from the engine and as I looked in my rearview mirror I saw a reasonably large rusty part, maybe about the size of a softball, had fallen out of the engine and it was bouncing down the road spraying rust everywhere with each bounce……  Ummmmmm….. the truck kept driving….  I decided it must not have been that important of a part.

The real kicker was that this truck had once been a advertising truck for Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.  It was painted white and blue.  It had the logo “Pabst” across the hood and it had the logo on the side with the slogan: “What’ll You Have?”

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The truck was so awesome!!!   I took it to shop class and I learned so much.  I got to replace brake pads and turn down rotors.  I learned about fuses and replaced several.  I got new tires and put them on and balanced them.  I changed oil, I changed antifreeze, I changed brake fluid.  I even ended up replacing the gas tank.

The boys in the class, however, would never help me.  They relentlessly made fun of me.  They tried to rip parts off of my truck and use them on their own cars.  They teased me for having the biggest pile of shit truck and told me that Pabst Blue Ribbon beer sucks.  They called me the bitch in the beer truck.  I continued to ignore them and tried to learn as much as possible.

The shop teacher liked me.  He thought I was a hard worker.  He, however, was also astounded at what a junker the truck was.  We had it up on a lift and he looked at it skeptically and then asked me how much my grandpa paid for it.  I knew my grandpa paid $500 for it, but it seemed like a lot so I just told him I didn’t know.  He told me he hoped my grandpa didn’t pay a lot.

Shop class only lasted a semester, but I managed to fix enough on the truck that it lasted quite a while after.  I ended up driving the truck to work and back for over a year and even drove the truck to my junior prom.  It was awesome.  All my friends would know where I was in town.  I learned so much from it and I was proud to be the bitch in the beer truck.