It was in grade school when I first heard the song about the cowboy with the shiny gun.  A parody of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I had two buddies in my grade, both named Andy, and they had a knack for finding and sharing this kind of song.  There was an alternative version of On Top of Old Smokey, where a teacher was killed.  The teacher was tossed overboard in Row Row Row Your Boat.  While screaming!

Send Those Kids to a Special School

In modern times, I suspect Andy and Andy would be expelled and only allowed back into class after attending several sessions with a psychiatrist.  They would be coerced into making a pledge to never again sing parodies and their parents would also need to grovel before school administrators.

Two other friends were University of Idaho graduates back in the 1970s.  They kept firearms in their dormitory rooms and would go hunting after class.  One remembers gun racks in pickup trucks on campus.

When I was a boy, many schools had rifle clubs and competing teams.  One of my Andy friends used to bring knives to school.  Dozens of boys carried jackknives.  I remember one day when one of our teachers was admiring the various blades the guys were carrying.  Mine had a simple design.  It looked like it had a bark covering.  Others more resembled ivory.  One of my Andy friends used his knife to carve his desktop.  He didn’t lose his carving tool.  He had to sand the top of his own desk.  It cured his artistic ambitions.

Songs, Guns, and Knives Aren't the Problems

I bring all of these stories up because I was driving to work one-morning last week and listening to the latest school shooting news.  We had songs about violence and instruments of potential violence, but we had no violence.

What we did have was a moral foundation.  Put in place by parents, churches, and the community.  It’s not the gun, folks.

Check Out the Best-Selling Album From the Year You Graduated High School

Do you remember the top album from the year you graduated high school? Stacker analyzed Billboard data to determine just that, looking at the best-selling album from every year going all the way back to 1956. Sales data is included only from 1992 onward when Nielsen's SoundScan began gathering computerized figures.

Going in chronological order from 1956 to 2020, we present the best-selling album from the year you graduated high school.

TOP 10: The best holiday TV specials of all time, ranked