A Brief History of the Corporate Anthem


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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