Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Late for School (by STEVE MARTIN), A Singable Book

Posted on: May 1, 2010

Oh STEVE!

I am positively ga-ga over his CD of banjo music, “The Crow.”

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My favorite song is on Track 4, Mr. Martin’s madcap, crazy banjo crazy song “Late for School,” (sung on the album by Steve himself!).

LATE FOR SCHOOL, THE SINGABLE PICTURE BOOK

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late for school
Late for School
Words and Music by Steve Martin
Illustrated by C.F. Payne
Published by Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, New York, 2010
ISBN 978-044-6-55702-3

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“Late for School” is illustrated by C. F. Payne.  See and learn more about his work on his website:
http://www.cfpayne.com/

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This is one of the top 5 most requested songs amid the hundreds in the Sing Books repertoire.  It’s hilarious (thank you Steve Martin) and situation everyone can relate to at one time or another.  Also, the paintings (by C. F. Payne) that make up the illustrations, wackily reminiscent of Norman Rockwell paintings) are fantastic.

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Steve Martin talks about his book on Good Morning America:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9UhO1N7w8Q&feature=fvsr

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The New York Times wrote a little item about his upcoming book releases:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/books/14arts-COMEDICOVERA_BRF.html

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Steve Martin performed this song on Saturday Night Live (February 2009):
http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/steve-martin-late-for-school/981401/

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Here’s another performance, somewhere else,

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LATE FOR SCHOOL
Words and Music by Steve Martin

Woke up this mornin’,
clock said I was late for school,
teacher told me “that’s not cool”
gotta put my shirt and pants on,
flew down the front stair,
wet my fingers and slicked my hair,
elbowed grandma passing by,
her face went into a pie.

If I’m late there’s misery,
I won’t be up on history,
I’ll be in the English grammar slammer,
and I’ll get a C.
Got a warning last semester,
told my mom and that depressed her,
promised dad I won’t be late, so got t’accelerate, let’s go!

Ran out the front door,
moving like a meteor,
I sped across the front lawn quickly,
missed the bus, my shoelace tripped me,
rounded the corner,
homework flying as I go,
neighbor shouted “tally ho!”
and gave a standing O.

Leapt across three lawn flamingos,
waved to Sal, (he’s Filipino)
jumped the fence,
and found that I was headed toward a pool.
in the air I did look funny,
on tv I’d make some money,
waved my arms and legs like mad
to alter where I’d land. Woah!

Aimed for the rubber boat,
hit instead the kiddie float.
I began to lose control,
I’m so glad I learned to log roll.
jumped onto the diving board,
bounced off it then headed toward,
a jungle gym,
I bounced just right and caught onto a kite.
WoooHoo! I’m flying!

Up so high, I see the school,
8AM, that’s the rule!
flying slowly, time is marking,
down below the dogs are barking,
I feel like I’m sailing,
but uh-oh, the wind is failing,
now I’m headed downward, ground-ward,
clown-ward to the school.

On the football field I crashed,
50-yard line, perfect smash,
grabbed my books and so begins
my frantic final dash.
down the hall I ricochet,
trophy cases in the way,
the other kids are all in class,
I wish that I were they!
ALMOST THERE!

I see the clock ends with delight,
8AM exactly right!
I pull a handle with a fight,
the door is locked and that’s not right
there’s not a person here today,
is everybody out to play?
now I’m thinking and it’s sinking in,
it’s Saturday!
Rats! I could have stayed in bed!

I’m out the school gate
wish that I could aviate,
or possibly evaporate,
I’ll be home and back in bed soon,
my dad is waiting
“What the heck were you up to?
Let’s go fishing,
my oh my, your grandma’s face is in a pie”

This is really something,
I’m with dad and fish are jumping,
mom gave me a new alarm
to set for Monday morn.
Never wanna be late for school,
never wanna be the classroom fool,
I’d be in the English grammar, slammer,
and I a D!
Now my feet are doing dances,
HIP HOORAY for second chances!
I’m not late and life is great, it’s time to celebrate, WooHoo!

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Link to Steve Martin’s “Music and Liner Notes” website page for his brief description on how he came to write the song (scroll down and click on link for “Late for School”:
http://stevemartin.com/stevemartin/music.html

As you might guess, Steve Martin’s Website is very funny and surprises with hilarious treats:
http://stevemartin.com/
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“Late for School” is one of the songs in my cabaret:
Oh, What a Beautiful Day: Sing Books with Emily, the Cabaret.”

My Song Craft Worksheet for LATE FOR SCHOOL,


 Emily’s Song Craft Worksheet

Because the first section of the Song Craft Worksheet involves background research on the song, I’ll share the answers with you so you can know about the song, too.  The more about the song you know (both concrete facts and less tangible artistic choices), the more “authority,” and heart and soul you can put into the singing and sharing of the song with others.  If you are interested in improving your artistic abilities for singing songs in any capacity, just simply filling out the Song Craft Worksheet is a great place to start!  After the background research, the rest of the Song Craft Worksheet gets VERY personal…don’t worry!  I won’t bore you with that.

1 Q: Who wrote the words?
1 A: Steve Martin

2Q: Who wrote the music?
2A: Steve Martin

3Q: When was the song written?
3A: 2009

4Q: At what point in the lyricists’ and composer’s career was the song written?
4A: Middle

5Q: What is the song from?
5A: Steve Martin’s Grammy Award winning banjo CD, “The Crow,” and a picture book put out later that year.

6Q: If from a show, what character sang it?
6A: NA

7Q: If from a show, from what situation does the song arise?  Why does the character sing the song?  What function does the song/character play in the story?
7A: NA

8Q:  What other contextual elements of the song are significant?
8A: Steve Martin first wrote this song as an instrumental and only later added the words.

9Q: Was the song written for a particular singer?  Why?
9A: Mr. Martin wrote the song for himself to sing on his CD and it naturally became a picture book owing the visual nature of the words

10Q: If not from a show, why did the songwriter write the song?
10A:  It was an instrumental banjo song and he ended up adding words.

11Q: What do you feel the lyricist is trying to say?
11A:  The anxiety of a school kid trying to get himself to school on time, trying to stay out of trouble!

12Q: Does the song tell a story or just express feelings or ideas?
12A: This song tells a story…a crazy, funny, free-wheeling story!

13Q: Who else has recorded this song:
13A: Steve Martin…and soon…Emily!

The rest of the questions require VERY personal answers and I will spare you those!

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Related Posts

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LATE FOR SCHOOL, 9/09/2015
SONG OF THE DAY
Sing Books with Emily (SBWE), Illustrated Songs of the Day:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/sbwe-songs-of-the-day/

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OH, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY: SING BOOKS WITH EMILY, THE CABARET
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-books-with-emily-the-cabaret/

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FUNNY SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS

That’s Hilarious! A List of Singable Picture Books that’ll Crack You Up!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/thats-hilarious-a-list-of-singable-picture-books-thatll-crack-you-up/

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BACK TO SCHOOL

Celebrating a return to school day routine and nurturing the skills of getting along with others and good citizenship
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/singable-picture-books-for-back-to-school/

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ME AND PAUL REVERE, NOT QUITE YET, A SINGABLE PICTURE BOOK
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/me-and-paul-revere-not-quite-yet-a-singable-picture-book/

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LATE FOR SCHOOL, AN ILLUSTRATED SONG
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/late-for-school-by-steve-martin-a-singable-book/

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