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United's RHAPSODY IN BLUE: An Underrused Jewel

United's RHAPSODY IN BLUE: An Underrused Jewel

 
Old Jan 28, 02, 10:52 am
  #1  
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United's RHAPSODY IN BLUE: An Underrused Jewel

After flying big United several times within the last week, it annoyed me how little Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, in its original form, United is using.

You only hear a tiny soundbite in commercials, you don't hear it on the United Entertainment Network, you don't hear it as boarding music, and most annoying of all: when you hear it in the safety video, it is the cheezy synthesized "instructional video" version.

When most people hear or even think of the tune, I believe it inspires within people warm memories of the United that was, the friendly skies that it used to pride itself on flying.

I for one think the airline should start playing the original, unedited version in boarding lounges, onboard prior to departure and upon arrival, over the phone (instead of that once again cheezy and insulting MUZAK version).

While the ORD tunnel electronic version is pretty cool, I think it would be a better marketing tool to use the full, unedited Rhapsody in Blue playing in loop during that ~5 min walk.

Exposing pax to this would first bring back, and then reinforce the feelings of the United brand that was: an airline that prided itself on flying the best fleet, flying to "worldwide destinations of wonder", flying with the safest standards, and flying for your comfort in mind.

In a way, if you always expose people to this wonderful, classic song (which United is so lucky to have linked to it), during all of their experiences with United, you will somehow, in a very subtle way, convey consistency. It's a very easy and inexpensive thing to do, considering United already has the rights to use the song ad nauseum.

Also, I had a pilot announce, "thanks for flying the United skies." I like this modification of 'the friendly skies', and think this is a very good slogan, because United can mean anything to anyone, including but not limited to surly service or even the best network. :-)

U N I T E D | Come fly the United skies

[This message has been edited by imkeww (edited 01-28-2002).]

[This message has been edited by imkeww (edited 01-28-2002).]

[This message has been edited by imkeww (edited 01-28-2002).]
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Old Jan 28, 02, 10:58 am
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I get a kick out of the ORD tunnel version, too.

However, my experience on 744s on pacific service is that UA plays "Rhapsody in Blue" so much during boarding (with the psychedelic sunflower and cherubs video) that the tune is stuck in my mind for a month.

I'm sure the Gershwin estate wishes they use it more as well.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 11:07 am
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Well I haven't done a pacific run on UA since I was a wee little lad in 1991, but I will be doing SFO-SIN and back this coming weekend in hopefully C or F. Probably C. :-)

So I guess I'll see there for myself. At least domestically, there's little use of boarding video, and the boarding music is usually some generic elevator muzak.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 11:15 am
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While I agree that Rhapsody in Blue is a wonderful piece, I'm absolutely sick of hearing it. I now associate most of my experiences with Rhapsondy in Blue with being kept endlessly on hold at UA.

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Old Jan 28, 02, 11:31 am
  #5  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by MatthewClement:
While I agree that Rhapsody in Blue is a wonderful piece, I'm absolutely sick of hearing it. I now associate most of my experiences with Rhapsondy in Blue with being kept endlessly on hold at UA.
</font>
Absolutely. Whatever its musical mertis, years of hearing Rhapsody in Blue while on permanent hold, on un-airconditioned planes in ground holds, and in stuffy, overcrowded airports now causes the piece to reliably induce the Ludovico Effect (from A Clockwork Orange) in me.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 11:34 am
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I agree. Perhaps the reason they don't play it so much on planes is because they know you've heard it endlessly in other United circumstances. I for one was glad when they started playing it less on the planes. I was sick of Rhapsody in Blue inundation a few years ago.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 11:53 am
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Thing is, the one you hear on the phone is the horrible version.

I'm asking for the original, puh-leease like the one performed by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 1:11 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by imkeww:
Thing is, the one you hear on the phone is the horrible version.

I'm asking for the original, puh-leease like the one performed by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.
</font>
Hey imkeww,

Please contact me regarding SIN ... I'll be there too!

*HIghFlyah*

------------------
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

- Leonardo da Vinci
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Old Jan 28, 02, 1:55 pm
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This thread reminds me of the band that played on as the Titanic sank.

Or Nero fiddling as Rome burned.

Pick your analogy. The result was the same.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 7:11 pm
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Various renditions of "Rhapsody" are in the openings to every audio segment on the "United Entertainment Network" - I quite like the country rock one and the soft sounds one myself.

If you want the original, might I suggest hopping to your nearest outlet and finding an actual CD of Gershwin's original? Many offer recordings of the "Paul whiteman band arrangement" as well as that for symphony orchestra (which is a much fuller and colourful rendition, IMHO).

I always get a cheesy smile when I hear it - it *is* a part of UA for me!

(and yeah, the B-&gt;C tunnel version at ORD is surreal!)

------------------
RichardMEL, UA 1K
A Star Alliance Member.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 7:22 pm
  #11  
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Sometimes I play it on the way to SFO as what I hope to be the start of a perfect trip - or at least the last 6 or 7 minutes of it... as I go SLOWLY through the Park-n-Fly if I overestimate the rest of my drive by a minute or so...
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Old Jan 28, 02, 10:50 pm
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Tangentially: why is the "the moving walkway is ending" so loud in the ORD tunnel that you hear it no matter where you are on the moving walkway? Kinda ruins the Gershwin for me.
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Old Jan 28, 02, 11:05 pm
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Scary thread...

As I sit here in the Hilton Auckland, my patio door open to the harbor - ONE of the cruise boats just went by playing RHAPSODY IN BLUE!

No more of this tune, to many bad memories of having to hold forever on the 1K line to get rebooked
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Old Jan 29, 02, 10:46 am
  #14  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by pynchonesque:
Tangentially: why is the "the moving walkway is ending" so loud in the ORD tunnel that you hear it no matter where you are on the moving walkway? Kinda ruins the Gershwin for me.</font>
I second that. Why did they get rid of,
by the way, the almost subliminal voice
under the jangle that said "keep walking"?
It was aimed at the two middle lanes.
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Old Jan 29, 02, 12:32 pm
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I have Gershwin CDs already

I think that the fact that some of you are repulsed by the song is a virtue of its success. Overplaying a song as part of an ad campaign won't do any harm: the song isn't playing for music's sake (we're not trying to sell the song), but to make the brand more memorable. It definitely makes the United brand stick out in your mind.

And I hardly think anyone would ditch United because of the song they use. Playing it repeatedly could only reinforce the united brand, and would absolutely not drive business away.

Also, UA may be in an extremeley precarious situation, but what else can we do besides act like business as usual? Best not to act like its dying before its dead.

Long live UA and Rhapsody in Blue.
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