Soundtrack Saturday: “Summer School”

This week’s post comes to you by request from my friend Dan. I’ve actually been wanting to write about Summer School (1987) for a while, but just managed to find the last few songs I’d been searching for so I could give you a complete soundtrack.

When I was a kid, my mom used to run the video department at our local grocery store. My family had just gotten our first VCR and, with mom’s discount, we were able to rent videos pretty often. The film I requested most often when asked what I wanted to rent: Summer School (well, maybe I asked for Return of the Jedi more often, but whatever). Why was this movie so popular with me? Well, it has one of my favorite scenes in a comedy: the classroom horror scene. I was highly impressed by the creativity of those kids in that scene, and, as a big fan of horror films, I always wanted to see something like that happen at my school. But, alas, my friends and I didn’t have much talent for creating gore.

For those of you who haven’t seen Summer School, here’s a synopsis: Gym teacher Freddie Shoop (Mark Harmon) is blackmailed into teaching a summer school remedial English class by the smarmy assistant principal (Robin Thomas) of his beachfront high school. His class is made up of a motley crew of underachievers who relish in the fact that Shoop is as big a goof-off as they are. After taking the students on a series of field trips to a petting zoo and amusement parks, he gets in trouble with the assistant principal and is told that if his students don’t pass an English skills test they’ve all previously failed, his job will be in jeopardy. In order to get them to study, Shoop bribes them and agrees to grant each one a wish, including teaching one student to drive, throwing a Fourth of July party at his house, allowing a screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in class, being a pregnant student’s Lamaze coach, and allowing another student to have a bed in the classroom.

As the summer progresses, the students have fun while taking extreme advantage of Shoop’s good-natured attitude. Eventually he gets tired of them not taking him seriously and quits. But after terrorizing a substitute teacher who’s brought in after Shoop leaves, the students convince him to come back and help them pass the test. With the help of a fellow teacher he has the hots for (Kirstie Alley), Shoop helps the class prepare, and in the process he and the students discover that they have it in them to accomplish whatever they want, even if his method of teaching and their method of learning are a little unorthodox.

The soundtrack is full of fun 1980s fare, including two tracks by ’80s movie-soundtrack regular Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily. Her song “Mind Over Matter” was a moderate hit, though she almost didn’t get to sing it: apparently it was written for Debbie Harry, who dropped it for legal reasons. I managed to find the entire soundtrack, including a few songs that never made it onto the official release. I even included a bonus remix version of “Mind Over Matter” for your listening enjoyment.

Danny Elfman – Happy
Billy Burnette – Get an Education
The Fabulous Thunderbirds – My Babe
Tonio K. – I’m Supposed to Have Sex With You
Tone Norum – Second Language
Vinnie Vincent – Animal
Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily – Seduction
Blondie – Rapture
Paul Engemann – Brain Power
Tami Show – All I Want From You
Elisa Fiorillo – Jackie
Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily – Mind Over Matter

Bonus track:
Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily – Mind Over Matter (Remix)




  • Matt

    I love this movie.

  • another Matt

    Summer School is a very, very, very, very, very, very,…. very, very, very, very,…. very, very, very, very great '80s movie.

  • Terrence

    I read somewhere that the Paul Engemann track had been on the original Device album 22B3, but was dropped because Holly Knight liked “Who Says” better. The idea was that the less-favored of the two would end up on this soundtrack. Any idea if this is true?

  • http://www.bullz-eye.com DavidMedsker

    This popped on TV a while back (I never saw it when it first came out), and laughed out loud when I saw that Courtney Thorne-Smith was one of the students.

    I love '80s soundtracks. Thanks for posting.

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    Hmm … was the “Saved by the Bell” theme song “inspired” by “Get an Education”?

  • http://www.thefivereasons.com Paul Engemann

    Not True. I was approached by the music coordinator of the film to do the vocal on this track. The song was written in part by Michael jay who recommended that I do the vocal. Holly had nothing to do with it. Thanks- Paul Engemann

  • http://mulberrypanda96.blogspot.com rwcass

    Paul, if I may ask, what happened with Device? Why was there no second album? (“22B3″ was the second cassette I ever bought.) Were each of you busy with other projects?

  • Neil

    You sir or madam (with Kelly it could be either) have done me a great favor by posting this. Thank you so much. I just watched this movie again today. One of my favorites from the 80's!

  • Power Bomb

    It's definitely a great film, and I thought Pat Benatar sung “Mind Over Matter”!? Man, EG Daily was kicking ass left and right during the 80's.

  • http://flophhaus.blogspot.com mffishdog

    loved the movie… thanks for sharing the soundtrack.

    i love how young those actors are… especially Salma Hayek as the exchange student.

  • Kamal

    Very Cool–Thanks for having this available!

  • Jeff

    Can you upload these files again? Desperately seeking this one. Thanks!

  • onejett

    Hi love this movie been trying to find the soundtrack everywhere. However was having trouble downloading it off your site, what should I do. Am looking for the song Mind Over Matter by EG Daily.

  • Summer school nerd

    This is awesome. I grew up with this movie and had some lyrics stuck in my head, but no idea from what song…thanks for helping to clear this up. Now I know–it's Danny Elfman and the song “Happy.” The perfect song for the summer school I am almost done with;)

  • Summer school nerd

    This is awesome. I grew up with this movie and had some lyrics stuck in my head, but no idea from what song…thanks for helping to clear this up. Now I know–it's Danny Elfman and the song “Happy.” The perfect song for the summer school I am almost done with;)

  • Summer school nerd

    This is awesome. I grew up with this movie and had some lyrics stuck in my head, but no idea from what song…thanks for helping to clear this up. Now I know–it's Danny Elfman and the song “Happy.” The perfect song for the summer school I am almost done with;)

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  • Schoopfan

    I have been looking all over for this soundtrack on CD, as I have no way to play my old tape! Now I find this and the links aren’t working! Looks like I’m only 3 years too late! Cheapest I can find it is $99 on amazon!