"School Days" is the second track on Three Friends, the third studio album by Gentle Giant. This song is said by many fans to be the best on the album. Vocals are by Kerry Minnear and Phil Shulman. Three Friends amounts to something between a concept album and a rock opera. It tells the story of three friends who went to school together (the part of the story told by this song) who each grow up to go their separate ways, as a road digger, an artist, and an office worker. From the Three Friends liner notes: "The idea of this album came about simply from normal conversations within the group. You know how people often reminisce about old school friends and wonder whatever became of them; or the people who surprise us with their successes or failures. Anyway, the theme in this album is based on three people - friends at school but inevitably separated by chance, skill and fate."
In our Songfacts interview, Ray Shulman gives us the inside scoop: "...the song 'School Days' starts off with the sounds of the schoolyard playground in England. We started off using the sound effects of the schoolyard so it would be very nostalgic, and that's a whole song about being at school together, and how these friends went their own different ways. One goes into manual labor, one goes into clerical work, and one is an artist." (Check out the full Gentle Giant interview with Derek and Ray Shulman)