Monday, April 13, 2009

You Never Can Lose, You Always Win

I'm not a jazz musician on a Saturday night bandstand. I don't have the talent to improvise nine or ten riffs around a recognizable theme before powering up with a Big Band flourish on the last verse while the beloved, Italian-American bandleader croaks out the familiar lyrics, wails out the climax, and takes a warm bow to scattered applause in the room.

But if I were, I'd arrange an 8-minute jam to the Schenectady Savings Bank's 30-second television commercial of the 1960's and 1970's, the one that's still lodged in my cranium like a crowbar:

          Get the most,
          Get the most,
          At Schenectady Savings Bank!
          It's the most,
          Yes the most,
          That's Schenectady Savings Bank!
          You never can lose, you always win
          When Schenectady's the bank you keep your money in!
          Get the most,
          Get the most,
          That's Schenectady Savings Bank!

God forbid this should be the last tune going through my mind when I pass away, but based on the commercial's reach and frequency when I was growing up, not to mention its penetrating melody and vocal harmonies, I wouldn't bet against it. It's not a bad little tune, actually; the syncopation is rather catchy. I'll take it over that cloying, ubiquitious Jared Jewelers jingle anytime. A toast to the composer -- wherever he may be banking now.

As for the lyrics: the careful observer will notice that there's some serious public policy embedded in the song's bridge, resulting in today's claims in perpetuity on taxpayer dollars. I'll bet Bernanke and Geithner wish they could musically improvise on that "never can lose" line right about now.

Schenectady Savings Bank eventually merged with Hartford Federal Savings & Loan in 1982; the combination was federalized and renamed Northeast Savings. Northeast Savings was bought out by Shawmut National Corp. in 1994; which merged into Fleet Financial Group in 1995; which in turn merged with BankBoston -- itself a 1996 merger of the Bank of Boston and BayBanks -- to form FleetBoston Financial in 1999. All of which was acquired by Bank of America in 2004.

In 2009, Bank of America, too big to fail, received $20 billion of taxpayer money and $118 billion in government guarantees against toxic assets.

Get the most? I'll say!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...