40 Songs About School, Intelligence, and Feeling Smart

Updated on February 8, 2019
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FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about school, education, intelligence and feeling smart.  Remember your school days or celebrate that they're history!
Make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about school, education, intelligence and feeling smart. Remember your school days or celebrate that they're history! | Source

Never Stop Learning

Education can open so many doors of possibility, although not everyone appreciates its life-altering potential. As I watch soon-to-be minted high school graduates, I wonder if they understand the value of their schooling and how many people have supported them along their path to success? Just as importantly, do they realize that some of the most important lessons in life can never come from a classroom?

Perhaps you're celebrating the start or end of the school year or looking forward to graduation. If so, why not make a playlist to celebrate school and feeling smart? We've got a long list of pop, rock, and country songs reflecting a variety of angles on education, including:

  • school spirit
  • intelligence
  • dropping out
  • memories of classmates
  • changes after high school
  • joy of summer vacation and
  • what was learned.

1. "We're Going to Be Friends" by The White Stripes

Remember the kids you once played tag with on the elementary school playground? It was a time when school was the center of your small universe. And making friends was your biggest priority. This delightful alternative rock song from 2001 describes childhood schoolmates as they embark upon a new school year of experiences together.

2. "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd

One of Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time," this 1979 rock song protests overly restrictive schooling and boarding schools. According to the song, thought control and dark sarcasm are among the tactics that teachers use to control students, and students are better off without them. I've had teachers who name-called students and hated their jobs, and I sure remember them, but not in a good way. How about you?

3. "Good Girls" by 5 Seconds of Summer

This 2014 pop song describes a smart high school girl who is headed for Harvard. She's a straight-A student who has her parents convinced that she's spending all of her time with her nose buried in the books. However, she acknowledges that good girls are bad girls who haven't been caught.

4. "High School" by Kelsea Ballerini

The guy in this to-be-released country song is stuck in a time warp. He still drives the hand-me-down truck that he did back in high school. He lives for Friday night football games, still wears his football jersey, and calls the girl he dated back in high school.

But her heart has moved on and so has the rest of his life in the five years since he has graduated. The world can be cruel when you're stuck in an emotional vaccum, too immature to move forward.

Facts and Statistics About Education, Schools and Intelligence

Did You Know?
By 1900, 31 American states required children ages 8-14 to attend school. By 1918, each state mandated that students complete elementary school.
In the U.S., high school dropouts are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated. They are also 50% less likely to vote, not eligible for up to 90% of jobs, more likely to need public assistance, and they earn less than half as much as college graduates.
The following countries have 100% literacy rates: Finland, Greenland, North Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, and Vatican City.
American students who are not reading at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to later drop out of school.
Only 11-12% of Americans can read above an eighth grade level, whereas 14% of the American population cannot read at all.
IQ test scores have increased an average of 3 points from one generation to the next from 1930 until the present. This overall improvement applies to every modern industrialized country, age range, and ability level.
Which statistic or fact surprises you the most?

5. "School's Out" by Alice Cooper

Woo-hoo! This celebratory 1972 hard rock song was named one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Capturing the sheer elation of school vacation, it's become an anthem for the the best two and a half months of the year. (The song actually claims that there's no more school forever because the school has been blown up.)

The hit has been so widespread that Alice Cooper sang it with The Muppets and allowed it to be used by Staples office stores to promote back-to-school items.

6. "ABC" by Jackson 5

The narrator in this 1970 R&B pop song thinks he can teach his honey how to love, so he sits her down and explains how simple it is. He convinces her that it's as easy as learning the alphabet or counting to three.

7. "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift

The narrator in this 2008 country song describes life as a 15 year-old high school freshman. It provides perspective about false promises, changing priorities, and the process of discovering who one is.

All of this identity-searching happens during those four glorious (and sometimes terrible) years in high school. I'm so glad to be an adult!

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela, South African leader
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela, South African leader | Source

8. "Beauty School Dropout" by Frankie Avalon

It's a sad situation when you have the dream but not the drive to finish beauty school. This 1978 pop song from the movie Grease makes light of Frenchy of the Pink Ladies who flunks beauty school. The narrator, her guardian angel, urges her to return to high school.

9. "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades" by Timbuk3

In this 1986 pop song, a future nuclear scientist boasts that he's got a great future in front of him: a good-paying job lined up after graduation, good grades, and he loves his field of study. He's one of the in-demand STEM students who can just about name his price. What an enviable position to be in!

10. "High School Never Ends" by Bowling for Soup

This 2006 rock tune reveals the truth about high school: that it's a microcosm of the bigger world. People gossip about others' attire and sexual relationships, social connections and appearance, addictions and emotional disorders. Truly, high school never ends, and only the players change.

Tell Us What You Remember Most About High School

Funny or serious, wistful or inspirational, share your memory in the Comments Section below.

11. "(What a) Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke

The poor sorry sucker in this 1960 rock song admits that he is no A student, and he rattles off all the subjects he's performed poorly in: history, biology, science, French, geography, trig, and algebra.

However, he is certain that he loves the girl in his life, and it's his hope that if he tries hard enough to be an A student, maybe she will love him in return.

12. "School Days" by Chuck Berry

Long live rock and roll! The teeny boppers of the 1950s looked forward to heading to the juke joint to dance and cut loose with friends.

This 1957 song became a rock anthem. It describes how after a stressful day of tests, dealing with teachers and trying to find a seat in the lunchroom, music provides a welcome release for students.

13. "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake

I like the narrator in this 2001 rock song because he sees intelligence as sexy. You have to love a man who can appreciate a woman's mind as much as her behind.

The guy describes his ideal woman. He's looking for one with a short skirt, but he also wants one

  • with a mind like a diamond
  • with the right allocations and good dividends
  • who's fast and thorough
  • and sharp as a tack.

14. "Don't Be a Dropout" by James Brown

The narrator in this 1967 rock song tries to convince the listener of the necessity of an education by relating a story about a friend. When he went to a job interview he was told that without an education, one might as well be dead. Seems like a harsh way to make a point, don't you think?

Even so, he's right that dropouts face an uphill battle in that they don't qualify for a majority of available jobs, earn substantially less in their lifespan than their more educated counterparts, and experience higher rates of unemployment. So as James Brown encourages, stay in school!

"Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world." - Malcolm X, American civil rights leader
"Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world." - Malcolm X, American civil rights leader | Source

15. "Be True To Your School" by Beach Boys

There's a lot of "rah, rah, rah" and "sis, boom, bah" in this peppy pop song from 1963. It urges students to show some school spirit. The narrator defends his school's honor just as he would stick up for his girl. Do you show pride in your school?

16. "Too Cool For School" by Fountains Of Wayne

This 2000 rock song from the horror comedy Scary Movie describes a truant who is an instigator, eliminating his enemies when the lights go down:

He's got his own way of getting things done
He's always looking out for number one
Don't try to beat him cause he's already won
And he's too cool for school.

17. "No Such Thing" by John Mayer

In this 2002 rock song from John Mayer's early career, he speaks out against guidance counselors and others who advise students to embark on careful and sensible career paths. Instead, he'd rather follow a long shot dream, something that makes him completely happy, even if others consider it less practical:

They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something's better
On the other side.

18. "School Is Out" by Regina Spektor

Empty schools can be lonely, reflective places. The narrator (a student? faculty or staff member?) walks the bare hallways of her school in this unreleased pop song. She makes note of the pennies that litter the floor, the bathroom graffiti, and items left behind, feeling disconnected and out of place without the crowd of people around her.

Reader Poll

Tell us the truth. How smart are you?

See results

19. "Don't Stay in School" by Boysinaband

The narrator in this 2015 rock song laments that he learned about isotopes, the American West, Shakespeare, physics, and the solar system. Instead, he wanted to learn more practical things in school, such as:

  • how to vote
  • how to look after his health
  • the laws of the land
  • how to budget his money
  • what to do if he has a headache
  • how to be a good parent

He comes to the senseless conclusion that his childhood was wasted inside those four walls. Hey, we can't be spoon fed all of the information we need in life, big guy. Express some curiosity and go get the practical information you need for yourself.

20. "Smarter Than You" by The Undertones

The know-it-all narrator in this 1979 rock song claims to be an intellectual. Within just a few minutes of meeting a girl, he claims that he is smarter.

Anyone who is this impressed with himself is probably hiding some monumental insecurities. He's a case in point for the old saying by Mark Twain: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - Jeff Rich, English musician
"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - Jeff Rich, English musician | Source

Even More Songs About Education, School, Intelligence, and Feeling Smart

Year Released
21. School
New Edition
22. School
23. She Was Smart
Tracy Byrd
24. Smart Girls
25. What I Go to School For
Jonas Brothers
26. School Is Out
Gary U.S. Bonds
27. School
28. Firefly
Sister Hazel
29. Hot for Teacher
Van Halen
30. Education
Modest Mouse
31. Man Smart (Woman Smarter)
Harry Belafonte
32. Education
Pearl Jam
33. Rock N Roll High School
The Ramones
34. Smart Woman (In A Real Short Skirt)
Jimmy Buffett
35. High School Heart
John Michael Montgomery
36. Smokin' in the Boys' Room
Mötley Crüe
37. Stupid Girl
38. Be Chrool to Your Scuel
Twisted Sister (featuring Alice Cooper)
39. Graduation (Friends Forever)
Vitamin C
40. Senior Year
Randy Houser
Know a song that should be on our Education and Feeling Smart Playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below.
"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm Forbes, American entrepreneur
"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm Forbes, American entrepreneur | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Can you give me the name of other female singers who have songs like Loretta Lynn and her song, "Coat of Many Colors," please?

    The singer and songwriter of that tune is actually Dolly Parton rather than Loretta Lynn. Similar singers might include Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Tanya Tucker, The Judds, Lorrie Morgan, and Emmylou Harris to name a few.

© 2017 FlourishAnyway


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    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      2 months ago from USA

      Peggy - Exactly. Is anything really 100%? There are always the unwell, unable, etc. who cannot be taught.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      That is a pretty sad statistic regarding the percentage of Americans who can read above an 8th-grade level. I also found it fascinating that North Korea has a 100% literacy rate. I wonder who verifies that? It is not exactly an open environment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      9 months ago from USA

      Anonymous - Perhaps try "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades" by Timbuk 3 or "Pi" by Kate Bush.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      I need a song about a boy that is smart in school?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      9 months ago from USA

      Nithya - I'm glad these songs bring back the memories. Have a wonderful week!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      9 months ago from Dubai

      A great selection of songs reflecting on school experiences. These songs brought back memories of school back in the good old days.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      9 months ago from USA

      Marietta - This doesn't strike a chord with me, but I'm hoping a reader can offer some assistance.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      i'm looking for the name of a song writer. She sings about being poor, of not fitting in because of her clothes, her haircut, her lunches. can you help me?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Suhail & K2 - Glad you enjoyed! Have a great week! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Great play list! Pink Floyd, Van Halen, and Alice Cooper featured, and Motley Crue, Pearl Jam and Nirvana also listed, this was perfect.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Genna - Thank you so much for the kind compliment. I believe so much in education. If I could have stayed in school forever, I would have. I love learning. Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This is an interesting combination. "Education can open so many doors of possibility..." One of my favorite words is "possibilities..." You always create new ones with your song lists. I just love them.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Nell - Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Awesome article and facts as always! And I remember most of these, and some I just didn't know. But now I have go another brick in the wall in my head! LOL!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Rasma - Thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      3 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Another awesome hub and fantastic music. Always really enjoyed Alice Cooper's School's Out.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Linda - I used to be an HR manager at a manufacturing plant where a lot of employees hadn't graduated from high school and were illiterate or read at very basic levels. We started a GED program. It was very humbling to think that they had gotten that far not knowing how to read but they'd come to me for help with reading their divorce or legal related papers, etc. Some went to great extents to hide it.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I found the news that 14% of Americans can't read at all both surprising and alarming. As I've said before, I appreciate the fact that you share educational information as well as music in your playlist articles.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Bill - They're both actually on there! Thanks for stopping by!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I did better on this one. I got Pink Floyd right off, but then my mind went to "Smokin' in the Boys Room" LOL Not quite what you were after.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Martie - Censoring something is the quickest way to make it very, very popular! Thanks for stopping by.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      MsDora - Glad you enjoyed this. Thanks as always for reading!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      Lovely Playlist! Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd was banned in SA for years. And this has made the song even more popular among the kids.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Missed out on all these songs except the Jackson's ABC. Bet they influenced the school kids back then. I like the Learned, Mississippi address.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Heidi - That song sure does have endurance. I cannot imagine the Muppets being associated with school being out forever and being blown up! Thanks for stopping by!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Linda - That's what I was thinking on North Korea. When you're starving, are you really motivated to learn to read? Hmm.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      This must have been a tough one to put together; what an amazing list of songs on what I thought would be an impossible topic. I can't think of one that you missed (and you included a LOT that I had forgotten about).

      But...I'm not sure I would believe any information (i.e. propaganda) that comes out of North Korea. 100 percent literacy rate? I sincerely doubt it.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Alice Cooper's "School's Out" has got to be this month's theme song with the semester ending. And glad you added one of my fave Van Halen tracks. ;) Another fun playlist! Have a great day!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from USA

      Shyron - You are quite the musical and theatre library! Wow! These were actually pretty tough to find the lyrics for. You should consider doing some music hubs of your own!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Don’t want to be Teacher’s Pet – Frankie Avelon

      I want to be Teacher’s Pet – I have the song on one of Elvis’ albums

      Teacher's Pet is a song for Teacher's Pet: The Movie. It was performed by Christy Carlson Romano of Kim Possible and Even Stevens. This version of the song is actually a remake of Doris Day's song "Teacher's Pet" from the 1958 film "Teacher's Pet" starring Clark Gable and Doris Day.

      Blessings always


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