A Brief History of the Corporate Anthem

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Perhaps the stress of putting out a new issue is getting to them, but everyone around the Mother Jones offices has been e-mailing each other cheesy corporate theme songs today. You’re all kooks! Some of these are more well-known than others, but it seems a shame not to share them with you, dear Riff readers.

First up, the saga of Nixon Peabody. Once there was a law firm who thought celebrating some good press with a specially-commissioned tune was a great idea, and I guess you know the rest:

Style: ’80s soul played by a wedding band
Great line: “There’s no disputin’/The folks at Fortune Magazine agree!”

Next, feel the power of KPMG. Their theme song, “Vision of Global Strategy” got a blogger in trouble when he linked to it, back in 2001.
Listen here.
Style: Japanese ballad
Great line: “We’ll be number one, with effort and fun!”

This isn’t really a corporate theme song, but I remember it as one of the first “Internet memes,” back in the early days of this awesomely entertaining series of tubes. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft was filmed at a developers conference, chanting, well, “developers,” over and over, and after it was circulated, people began making their own remixes and mashups. Check out the techno mix:

Style: The Prodigy
Great line: when he says “developers” the 293rd time

Don’t forget Price Waterhouse Coopers, who burst onto the corporate theme song scene back in 2001 with their hands-in-the-air anthem, “Your World, Our People.”
Listen here
Style: What was that Kenny Rogers/Sheena Easton duet?
Great line: “We don’t sell no dogma/All we’ve got is skill”

Finally, of course, late last year, a Bank of America employee was aiming for a raise and put together a little ditty about B of A’s merger with MBNA, set to the tune of U2’s “One.” It’s so excruciating, I’ve never actually sat through the entire thing; if you ever want me to stop being a criminal, clamp my eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and force me to watch this over and over, I’ll be a real horrowshow chelovek.

Style: Bono gone bad
Great line: “We’ve got Bank One on the run/What’s in your wallet, it’s not Capital One”

Don’t forget the level this came to: in November, comedian David Cross covered “One Bank,” with Johnny Marr, formerly of the Smiths, before a Modest Mouse show in New York City.

Corporate anthem websites seem to come and go rather quickly as their hosts get hit with ceast-and-desist orders. Hopefully these fine companies have all found their sense of humor by now, ha-ha. Commenters, any other corporate themes out there make you want to abolish capitalism? Or any ideas for a Mother Jones theme song?

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Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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