A School Boy's Yearbook Ambition to Sell a Million Records

This is one of those stories that has a surprise ending, so stick around for the reveal!

Strange and interesting things are happening around us all the time.  It used to be that you'd hear about some story that happened to your friend's cousin's neighbor's dad and you'd dismiss it with a chuckle because it was too far fetched.  But now, with the internet, these kind of tales are being told the day they happen and most of the time the teller provides some proof.

The Charity Thrift Store

That was the case on Reddit in a sub-section of the site where people talk about the awesome stuff they find at their local thrift stores.  One poster starts a thread explaining that he operates a thrift store for charity and they always receive random yearbooks from all over the country.  You can imagine, when the majority of what comes through the store is clothes, pots and pans, furniture, and VHS tapes, that a high school yearbook is probably pretty interesting.

1965 cortez high school yearbook arizona

Cortez High School's 1965 Yearbook

This store owner said that (somehow, he didn't give the details) that people around the country will ask to buy these certain yearbooks and he'll send them to the buyer for the cost of postage.  He's a nice guy and the nostalgia is worth sharing.   I bring this up because it comes back into the story later...

Two Interesting Finds

So in the meantime, our guy at the store is flipping through the yearbook.  It's from some school in Arizona for the year 1965.  In this particular year, and perhaps every year, the senior students were allowed to list their ambitions and dreams for their adult life under their names.  Of course our guy starts rapid fire reading off everyone's hopes and dreams.

Turns out, in Arizona in 1965, nearly every female wanted be either a hair dresser or a secretary of some kind.  He didn't say that there was any pattern for the boys, but there were two that were interesting enough that he decided to see if these young men had attained their goals.

The first was an athletic gentlemen who wanted to become a professional surfer.  A quick series of Google searches failed to return any results showing the boy managed to pull it off.  I can't say I'm surprised, if you know that Arizona is a very dry, very land-locked state.

But the second young man, named Vincent Damon Furnier, had the most intriguing ambition.  He simply wanted to be a million record seller.

This kid might have a chance.  He was highly involved in clubs and sports, including track, cross-country, Letterman's Club, Art Club, and more.

vincent damon furnier

Now, for the sake of building the story, I won't tell you the outcome just yet.  Because young Vincent's adventure had just begun.

Vincent Damon Furnier's Dream

Vincent, our dreamer with the goal of selling a million music records, was already in a band at the time with some of his classmates.  Apparently they would practice and play live shows fairly regularly.  They'd already hit the studio to record a single (back when it costed an arm and a leg and you needed a major label to help front the cost of a whole album's worth of time in the recording studio).

Once they graduated from this Arizona high school, they moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue the dream.  To mark the occasion they changed the name of their band and released another single.  But as fate would have it, there was another band using the same name, that included Todd Rundgren, a multi-instrumentalist, band-mate, and recording engineer for some pretty big acts.  So there was no point in fighting it.  They had to change names again!

As luck would have it, they came up with their new band name and got to work, only for a new television show to come out that featured a character that used the exact same name.  This was Mayberry R.F.D., the spin off of The Andy Griffith Show.  Well, they said 'screw it' and kept the name, but ultimately they disbanded altogether.

So the kid with the ambition to sell a million records kept the branding and adopted the band's name as his stage name.

It turns out that the young athlete named Vincent Damon Furnier who attended Cortez High School in Arizona in 1965 is, in fact, none other than the great...

alice cooper

Alice Cooper!

"Classmates" of Alice Cooper

Remember how I said at the start that these "tall tales" are usually treated with skepticism, but these days people can provide proof immediately to the masses over the internet?  I also mentioned people would call our thrift store worker from all over the country about their yearbooks.

Well, on Reddit when this story was told, tons of young people started posting saying "Oh yeah, my uncle said he went to school with Alice Cooper.  He was a year behind him, will you check for this name for me?"

The thrift store guy reported back after sifting through a ton of private messages of requests to find their dad, who always claimed he used to pick on Alice Cooper in high school.  It should come as no surprise that of the dozens of requests to find these Redditors dads and uncles, only a couple of them turned out to be true.

So be skeptical of these old stories that carry no proof.  But as far as Alice Cooper goes, he did know what he wanted to do as far back as high school, stuck to it, and made it happen.  The proof is in the pudding.

But, despite what he says, your dad never bullied him in the lunch room.