1. Opener (2:00)
2. Which Did You Say Was Number One? (4:12)
3. People You Like to Talk to (2:11)
4. The Personal Touch (4:42)
5. As Advertised in Life (3:01)
6. Productivity (1:25)
7. 26 Market Mix (2:38)
8. Typical People (2:17)
9. Top Stories (1:03)
10. Guantanamo (2:03)
11. Rocky on the Rocks (1:35)
12. The Big Walk (2:32)
13. Do You Remember (4:15)
14. Finale: The Big Parade (2:32)
What do you get when you mix rising Broadway talent with the budget of America's top periodical in 1963? A rollicking good industrial musical promoting the benefits of advertising in Life.
What this album lacks in overall production value, consisting almost entirely of piano and voice, with a smattering of drum and horn, it more than makes up for in songwriting and talent.
Broadway afficionados may recognize the voices of Michael Allinson, Gloria Bleezarde, William Linton, Eliza Ross, Jay Stuart, and Ronny Whyte. Journeymen Mike McWhinney and Jerry Powell provided words and music, respectively, Ed Nayor and Nat Greenblatt wrote the book, and Rod Warren served as musical director. Nearly everyone involved went on to some level of Broadway or off-Broadway success. Allinson popped up recently in the film Syriana.
The show was originally produced for Life's annual gathering of sponsors, then found its way to vinyl as a gift for regular advertisers. The songs lampoon news events and the challenges of modern life, from the Desk Set overtones of "The Personal Touch" to the off-color musings on the Cuban Revolution in "Guantanamo."
Along the way we learn about the history, the personalities, and the advertisers who helped to make Life vital American reading in the 1960s. "26 Market Mix" lacks direction and "As Advertised in Life" goes a little too far in aping doo-wop sounds and themes, but even these, the least of the songs in the collection, show a tremendous songwriting flair. Everyone involved seems to find the concept of an industrial musical a bit silly; freed from the constraints of taking corporate image seriously, they attack the subjects with abandon. The result is a genuinely fun listen that doubles as a history lesson for both early-'60s America and the magazine business.