IT Anthems: We're AT&T!

IT anthems is back -- with a focus on a classic in the making. Meet the AT&T CEO who saw his company as one big happy family

The full lyrics and download of AT&T's anthem are on page 2. Here's the story of its creation

The 1995 anthem, the AT&T Family Song, richly deserves a place in the hall of fame. It sports every single mark of a great corporate anthem. A painfully-obvious effort to rouse employees battered by mergers, and energise them by telling them they are "all part of the family", it takes a classic pop single and updates it with corporate-speak lyrics. But unlike many such efforts, it's actually performed by a senior executive. And most amazingly of all, given all this, it is good.

In 1995, AT&T was made up of a number of disparate business units resulting from a series of acquisitions. In the UK these included Istel, most of which was subsequently acquired by Cap Gemini, and overseas they included NCR. In that year an attempt was made to leverage the AT&T brand and the collective capabilities of the business units -- to form "One AT&T".

At this time, the President and CEO of AT&T Istel was an extroverted Swede called Per-Olof Loof. As part of the 'kick off' of this new "One AT&T", Loof performed as lead singer and guitarist of an AT&T band, called the 'All in the Family Band' -- in fact the Hoffman Circus Band plus Per-Olof.

He then topped this by producing a CD which was distributed to all AT&T employees in the UK -- and possibly Europe. The four tracks including a live version of the 'AT&T Family Song', performed by Loof and the band.

This sets Per-Olof's lyrics to the classic 1979 Sister Sledge hit 'We Are Family', written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (of the 70s band Chic, completists will want to note).

Interestingly, the original song has since become a post 9/11 anthem, recorded in 2001 by celebrities for the We Are Family Foundation, a refreshingly flag-free initiative which aims to promote tolerance in the wake of the tragedy. Perhaps AT&T might care to sponsor this?

The disc also included 'Anytime, Anywhere', a very earnest ballad, for which Loof provided both music, lyrics and lead vocals, a song which IT Anthems will surely feature in the future. The fourth track was a filler called We're Having a Party, with no references to AT&T.

Ooops! Not such a happy family

About 18 months later, AT&T broke this happy family into 3 - AT&T, Lucent and NCR. Per-Olof became senior vice president in charge of NCR's Financial Services Group. the set-back and shake-up didn't stop him rocking, of course, according to Business Week (4/12/97): "In a ballroom at the Hotel Del Coronado, an opulent beachfront hotel in San Diego, Per-Olof Loof, the evening's star performer, has strapped on his electric guitar. Loof, a top executive at $7 billion NCR Corp., is an unlikely rocker but quickly launches into Back at the New NCR, his own version of the 1969 Beatles hit, Back in the U.S.S.R. Applause erupts from dozens of NCR employees and customers." (Does anyone have a copy of this one? Please let us know if you do) Prior to his AT&T career, Loof spent 12 years with Digital Equipment, holding a variety of management positions, and was a senior consultant and manager with Arthur Andersen in both the United States and Europe. Are there further examples of Loof's musical prowess from his time at either of these firms?

On August 23, 1999, Loof -- by now a rocking 48 year old -- became President and CEO of Sensormatic Electronics, which has since been acquired by Tyco. In February of this year, Loof joined the board of Protegrity, a provider of database privacy software. Has he continued to rock their worlds?

Expect to hear more from AT&T in these pages -- senior executives performed a heavily branded version of the US National Anthem at the merger of the company with cable company TCI.

Audio (Real Audio format) We're AT&T, everything you want it to be.
We are family, the one and only AT&T.
Call 'round the world - at the touch of a button, we're CSG.
We'll bring you together it's smooth like cotton, AT&T. (AT&T!)
Look for the switching that brings it together, we're NSG.
Siemens and Northern just can't take the weather, AT&T. We're AT&T, one big happy family.
We're AT&T, all the Business Units and me.
We're AT&T, everything you want it to be.
We are family, the one and only AT&T.
Definity call centres won't make you stall, it's MPG.
Whatever your business we'll make you tall, AT&T. (AT&T!)
Systems and global solutions and software - technology.
We get it, we move it, we use it, we share - AT&T. We're AT&T, one big happy family. We're AT&T, all the Business Units and me.
We're AT&T, everything you want it to be.
We are family, the one and only AT&T.
Computing and comms. Applications on Networks, will set you free. (eh?)
Istel and NABS deliver the perks, AT&T. (tea?)
Outsourcing Call Centres, American Transtech, from A to Zee. (and tea!) We're here for you, we've got the spec. - AT&T. We're AT&T, one big happy family (AT&T!)
We're AT&T, all the Business Units and me.
We're AT&T everything you want it to be.
We are family, the one and only AT&T.
When we compete like in Moscow and Saudi, you just wait'n see. (AT&T!)
No one can beat us we're summa cum laudi, AT&T. We're AT&T, one big happy family.
We're AT&T, all the Business Units and me.
We're AT&T, everything you want it to be.
We are family, the one and only AT&T.
Mail us if you have more anthems to include in these pages.
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