The Styling Section Music Committee
by Stan Mott
Upon moving into the new Tech Center Styling building in 1955 our ears were assailed by demented Musak background noise pumped into studios. It was Lawrence Welk et al tweedly-doodling. It was horrifically distracting to we designers. We’d turn it off. Clay modelers turned it on. We turned it off and removed the knob. Someone got long-nosed pliers and turned it back on. This went on a while…
Until Robert Cumberford and I found a cheaper music company that piped in better music. We proposed to management they go the cheaper route. They did. With the money saved we proposed we form a Music Committee, Robert and me, to buy inspiring music. Management agreed. With company funds, Robert and I bought and played over the company sound system what pleased us; Bartok, “Victory at Sea”, “American In Paris”, “New World Symphony” and other crashers. It was most inspirational! It was the clay modelers who turned the sound off. We used the long-nosed pliers. Then I got a phone call from Mr Earl’s secretary.
“This is Mr Earl’s secretary.”
“That music is awfully loud and distracting. Will you please take care of it?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll make sure it’s the first thing on our agenda when the Music Committee meets.”
“I said that music is awful and will you do something…”
“Yes, ma’m, first thing when we meet…”
Another reason we didn’t last long at GM.
Studio Music Stories from Dean’s Garage, The Future Is Back
Let’s Turn It Off
There were always studio music wars. Someone would bring in a stereo or they’d buy one out of the coffee fund. Station battles followed. Seems like in the morning the music would be boring but non-controversal. Then after lunch sometimes Ted Schroeder would put on jazz. Jazz wasn’t too popular, but Ted was the assistant and got his way. When Ted would leave the room for some reason, one of the classical buffs might use the opportunity to put on the classical station. Even though it added a touch of needed class to the atmosphere, it was liked less than jazz. I remember Jack Orava hollering, “What is this?” Nobody usually answered. Probably nobody knew. Then Jack would follow up with, “If nobody knows what it is, let’s turn it off.”
After a classical piece ended there was always a respectful pause. The announcer would come on and say that was such-and-such, Opus whatever, played by XYZ philharmonic orchestra conducted by so-and-so. One time, after a piece ended but before the announcer came on, someone hollered, “Now they’re gonna tell us why we were supposed to have liked that.” By the way, Rock was never tolerated.
Is That All There Is?
In Olds One studio some nefarious sculptor recorded Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is” back-to-back on both sides of a 90 minute tape. The first couple of weeks listening to that depressing song played for hours on end were the hardest. Haven’t heard it? Click here.