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Singing the Big Blues
September 1, 2012 11:47 PM   Subscribe

Corporate music at IBM. Chronology. Song clips. Scans of selected songs from Songs of the IBM, with commentary. A description of the 1937 IBM Symphony by Vittorio Giannini. 106 IBM Company Songs.
posted by grouse (17 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Evilspork at 3:30 AM on September 2, 2012


Can you even imagine a company doing this non-ironically today?

BTW, GE, I think, did this too. I'm almost sure I saw a GE songbook (or maybe it was just one song on the back of a corporate booklet) at a friend's house when I was a kid. His dad was an old-school GE guy. I dug around and, while I didn't find the songbook, I found information on their musical instead. Don't miss the follow-on to that one, Got To Investigate Silicones!.
posted by jquinby at 6:14 AM on September 2, 2012


I can't believe there's still a copy of this old internet gem.
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:36 AM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you like weird corporate music: There's a whole genre of what are called industrial musicals, that were popular, I think, from the 50's to the 70's. Here's a song for the Chevrolet sales people, and a whole album from American Standard, the toilet company. Here's an article about them, and an audio interview with industrial musical aficionado Steve Young about their history. It's a very weird genre, and I think a lot of well known composers wrote them occasionally.
posted by ManInSuit at 7:01 AM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite IBM music is played on the 1403 line printer or the 1401 CPU.
posted by autopilot at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


How you gonna do it? PS/2 it.
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:02 AM on September 2, 2012


I (fortunately) missed the songs, but most of the older guys I worked with talked about Fridays in Endicott, going down to the place (I think it was a fire hall?) to sing. And you were expected to sing with gusto. The phrase 'Ever Onward' was often tossed about, as a kind of 'let's get on with what we've got to do' phrase, but it wasn't until years later that I actually heard the song. It was included in a CD of software updates. And even later than that someone gave me a photocopy of the 1940 'SONGS of The IBM', with the lyrics to 15 songs, which I have at hand now.
Nobody says 'The IBM' any more. Pity.
posted by MtDewd at 11:08 AM on September 2, 2012


Can you even imagine a company doing this non-ironically today?

I don't even have to imagine.

Not sure about "today" but back in the 90s when my sister worked for Lenscrafters, they were given a cassette of corporate music. We tried to listen to it once, but it was really awful and creepy.


Those people who are really into that "teambuilding" corporate rah-rah! crap? The sort where you start kind of trying to look in their eyes to see if you can catch a glimpse of circuitry, or some blinking LEDs, because no human being could possibly be that goddamn invested in a company pep rally? They are not doing it ironically. THEY ARE SERIOUS.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:27 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


By the '80s this stuff was dead. I actually have the sheet music for "Ever Onward", and was quite disappointed that none of my colleagues had heard of it. Of course, this was in Austin, Toronto, Rochester (MN) and San Jose — in the former IBM Heartland (Poughkeepsie, Westchester and southern tier NY), there were probably a few left that remembered.
posted by ubiquity at 1:22 PM on September 2, 2012


Not just companies -- trade fairs have songs too!

I was looking for the old DRUPA song, and discovered that they're still doing it.

Here's the 1986 version (mp3),
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:28 PM on September 2, 2012


Oh, and here's KPMG.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:30 PM on September 2, 2012


I just sent this link to a familly member. He worked for IBM in the '70s, and they were still doing this then.

Is it anecdotal that big Japanese companies still do this today?
posted by Mezentian at 3:59 PM on September 2, 2012


Yeah, I've got a fairly wide selection. ;)
posted by wierdo at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


And since accounting firms were mentioned..

KPMG (The Power of One) (another version)
PwC (Your World Our People)
PwC again
EY (Happy Day..this one probably wins)
EY again

I seem not to have any of Deloitte's attempts at hand, but I know for a fact they've done a few.
posted by wierdo at 4:32 PM on September 2, 2012


I suppose these are more in keeping with the theme of the post, as a counterpoint anyway:

Apple II Forever
Apple Is Breaking Through
Another apple song, whose title I don't know
And another
posted by wierdo at 5:16 PM on September 2, 2012


Bringing Home the Oil (Gulf Oil sea chanty)
Written and performed by the Clancy Brothers

I'm an able-bodied sailor and I've often crossed the line,
On whalin' ships and sailin' ships and ships of e-ve-ry kind.
But now I have the very best job I've had in many a day,
'A workin' on a tanker bringin' oil to Bantry Bay!

Bringin' home the oil, me boys, bringin' home the oil!
Sailing all around the world, bringin' home the oil!
A workin' on a giant ship, it's very hard we toil,
Sailin' into Bantry Bay, bringin' home the oil!

She is the biggest ship, me lads, that ever sailed the sea.
As graceful as a swan she goes; we sail her at our ease.
From Arabie around Cape Hope we proudly make our way,
To keep all Europe movin' from our base at Bantry Bay!
(Chorus)

They're building other tankers now to speed more oil to you,
The Universe Kuwait, me boys; Japan and Portugal, too.
Also the Universe Ireland, I'm very proud to say,
Is among the giant ships a bringin' oil to Bantry Bay!
(Chorus)

Where the Rubber Meets the Road (Firestone)
If you're carrying steel or tilling the soil
Gonna visit Grandma or looking for oil
For the youngest driver or the real old pro
For a jet to land or a lawn to mow

Wherever wheels are turning, no matter what the load
The name that's known is Firestone
[low brass/tymps: Ba BUM bum bum!]
Where the rubber meets the road.

The Ballad of the Big-O (Lawson's convenience stores)
Oh the oranges ripen in the Florida sun
Sweet on the trees they stay
Then we pick em and we squeeze, just as quick as you please,
And the Big O leaves the same day

Roll on, Big O!
Get that juice up to Lawson's in forty hours!

Oh, one man drinks sleeps while the other man drives
On the non-stop Lawsons run
And the cold cold juice in the tank truck caboose
Stays as fresh as the Florida sun

Roll on, Big O!
Get that juice up to Lawson's in forty hours!

There was also the "Hard working people of Republic Steel" song, but I can't find it nor remember more than the chorus.
 
posted by Herodios at 6:30 PM on September 2, 2012


Amway classics!!
posted by not_on_display at 11:00 PM on September 2, 2012


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