When recently visiting Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA I came across an exhibit called "Songs of the IBM". It's from 1930s and has a song called "Ever onward" which extols then IBM President T.J Watson. It was regularly sung by IBMers.

This seemed very strange to me because the only current leader I can think of having songs extolling his virtues would be "Dear Leader" from North Korea.

So my questions are:

  1. Was it common in the beginning of 20th century for companies/organizations to have songs extolling their leaders?
  2. If yes, when did this go out of fashion and why?
  • 3
    Fun question :) While I don't know if they extol their leaders, a number of Japanese and Korean companies still have "company songs". Dec 18, 2012 at 5:10
  • +1 for the nice question and bringing up something that is sort of forgotten when looking back at industrialism in America
    – MichaelF
    Dec 18, 2012 at 9:07
  • 1
    Here you find more information (including lyrics :) of IBM songs and their history, plus a reference to a relatively recent performance back in 2003. I've also known people at IBM (still active) who remembered some of these songs verbatim (perhaps from fun performances).
    – Drux
    Dec 18, 2012 at 9:37
  • 2
    When coleopterist mentioned company songs, it just brought back the memory of a company called Aflack or something like that. Anyway, they were giving away toys that sang their song. Unfortunately, the sound quality wasn't very good and Aflack turned into Af***. :)
    – Russell
    Jan 4, 2013 at 16:53
  • 1
    Internal marketing in US business culture still exists, businessinsider.com.au/… , but I'm not sure that lionising CEOs through song has been all that popular. May 12, 2015 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


It just so happens that a marketing show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp radio channel did a nice history of corporate musicals, primarily in the US from the 1920's to the 1960's. The genre was borrowed from New York musicals. Give it a listen: You can download and listen to the podcast from the regular suspects or you can live stream it from the CBC site: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/undertheinfluence/this-week-summer-series-when-madison-avenue-met-broadway-the-world-of-industrial-musicals-1.3618080

The episode is called: When Madison Avenue Met Broadway - The World of Industrial Musicals. If you are interested in marketing, this is a great podcast. I always learn something. The website often has bonus material such as video, lyrics, and supplementary material.

Bradley Foster

  • 1
    I don't think that this really addresses the question (about internal corporate songs that extol the company's leaders). Your reference seems to be about musicals that promote the company and its products to the public.
    – Steve Bird
    Aug 31, 2016 at 20:43
  • 1
    You make a good point in that I didn't exactly answer the question. If I remember rightly there was a reference to the IBM song in the episode, but it sets the context of the song about Watson. Other than political leaders, I don't know of any other song extolling corporate leaders. Aug 31, 2016 at 22:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.