When Automakers Made Musicals

Email a Friend

The new book Everything’s Coming Up Profits digs into the golden age of post-WWII “industrial musicals” created by big American corporations. Co-author and Late Show With David Letterman writer Steve Young shares some of the near-Broadway quality songs composed by (and for) the auto industry in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Young defines the genre as "musicals that bear a startling resemblance to popular entertainments that would be on a Broadway stage, but they were never for the public to hear." They were staged (or sometimes screened) at sales meetings and conventions for company insiders, including sales people and distributors. And decades later, they are still incredibly catchy. 

Along with his co-author, the musician Sport Murphy, Young has collected an "appetizer menu" of songs for his Industrial Musicals Website -- and compiled a three-volume set available on iTunes.

This segment originally aired on Feb. 3, 2014.