Did Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ Album Come Wrapped in Panties?

A piece of rock 'n' roll memorabilia caught the internet's attention in 2021.

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Claim

Alice Cooper's album "School's Out" came wrapped in a pair of panties.

Rating

Context

Alice Cooper's 1972 album "School's Out" was originally packaged with a pair of paper panties. This packaging was subsequently pulled from shelves, however, as it violated the Flammable Fabric Act.

Origin

In September 2021, a photograph was posted to the r/mildlyinteresting section of Reddit that supposedly showed the original packaging of Alice Cooper’s 1972 album “School’s Out” that was wrapped in a pair of pink panties:

The packaging for Cooper’s “School’s Out” album was created by Craig Braun, the designer who also helped make The Who‘s “Tommy!” and the Rolling Stone’s “Sticky Fingers” album covers. In addition to wrapping the album in a pink pair of panties, Cooper’s “School’s Out” album also folded out into a small desk.

In 2018, Braun told LongLiveVinyl.com that he tried to make the desk feel real by including images of the desk’s contents, such as report cards, marbles, gum, and some student graffiti: 

I think this caught people off guard, as it opens into a real desk with legs, inkwell, pencil grooves, etc … I carved initials and stuff in the wood of an antique desk I had someone source in downtown NYC and then my staff put boogers and chewing gum on there. Then I wrapped the record in a pair of women’s panties over the vinyl. A woman gave me a pair of her undies, so I thought they might look great wrapped around the vinyl: the album ‘wearing’ panties.

While this album was initially released wrapped in a pair of panties, U.S. Customs officials seized nearly 500,000 copies of the album after finding that the panties fell in violation of the Flammable Fabric Act. 

19 Jun 1972, Mon The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) Newspapers.com

It’s unclear how many of these albums were sold with the original paper panties dust jacket. Ashley Pandel, an official with a firm that represented Cooper, said in 1972 that about 250,000 albums packaged with the panties were sent out for distribution before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intervened. Pandel also noted that the record company could circumvent the ban by applying a flame retardant spray to the panties. 

Despite thousands of records being seized, Cooper found the ban to be beneficial. In Cooper’s biography, “Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock ‘n’ Roller’s Life and 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict,” the rock star writes:

The School’s Out album was an example of fun and excessive packaging. We worked with a group of graphic artists who did all of our album covers. Those guys were a lot like us. We worked well together, throwing out ideas.

What if a kid lifted up his desk on Monday after the weekend What would he find? What if he produced a pair of panties? Then he was the guy! What else might be inside the desk? A switchblade? Notebooks? I have an idea. “Let’s wrap the next record inside a pair of pink panties instead of a dust cover.” A typical Alice Cooper formula: Kids will love it; parents will hate it.

The entire concept changed: The album cover would transform into a desk that would actually unfold so you could open it. We scratched our own names into this desk that they would take a picture of it for the cover. The original carved desk now lives in a Hard Rock Cafe … Warner’s Bros. released “School’s Out” in July of 1972, right after school was out. You couldn’t buy the kind of publicity we received. The album was soon banned. Why? The panties the record was wrapped in didn’t conform to Federal Trade Commission standards — they weren’t fireproof! Of course, my response was “Who would be lighting a cigarette or a match down there anyway?”

So now we had 100,000 pairs of pink, white, or blue paper panties wrapped around the first pressings of “School’s Out” albums that were considered a fire hazard by the U.S. government. Today the album pressing with the panties are collectibles on Goldmine and eBay. Sometimes the best thing is to get banned. It was another Alice Cooperism that went on to shape our destiny and reputation.


Sources:

Cooper, Alice, and Kent Zimmerman. Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock “n” Roller’s Life and 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict. Random House Incorporated, 2008.

“Craig Braun.” Making Vinyl, https://makingvinyl.com/speaker/craig-braun/. Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.
“Rock Group Can’t Put On Its Panties.” The Charlotte Observer, 19 June 1972, p. 13.

Classic Covers: Craig Braun. 31 May 2018, https://longlivevinyl.net/2018/05/31/classic-covers-craig-braun/.

WelcometomyNightmare.Co.Uk – School’s Out Era. https://www.welcometomynightmare.co.uk/my-collection/school-s-out-era/. Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.