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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

One more business item, this one playing out on YouTube and other video-sharing Web sites. It involves a Bank of America manager, the re-working of a U2 song and a corporate merger.

NPR's Luke Burbank picks up the story.

(Soundbite of music)

LUKE BURBANK: It probably seemed like a good idea at the time; these things usually do. Ethan Chandler's Bank of America bosses were looking for a way to welcome the executives of another bank, MBNA, which they were essentially absorbing.

Mr. ETHAN CHANDLER (Bank of America): Our piece was just a piece to kind of really celebrate them coming into, you know, the fold.

BURBANK: They approached Chandler, who was known around the company as quite the singer - he'd actually released his own CD a few years back - and they gave him a list of potential songs he could rewrite for the occasion. He chose the song “One” by U2.

(Soundbite of song parody of “One”)

Mr. CHANDLER: (Singing) It is even better now that we're the same.

Mr. CHANDLER: The whole theme can really be found in the first part of the song. It's going to only make us better to bring together the culture of two great companies.

(Soundbite of song parody of “One”)

Mr. CHANDLER: (Singing) MBNA is B of A, and it's one bank, one (unintelligible), one name…

BURBANK: The visual of the performance, and, by the way, you really have to go to our Web site to check it out, is pretty amazing. Chandler and his boss, Jim DuBois, who's the one playing guitar, are in shirts and ties singing to a somber room of bank employees. Even so, Chandler really sells it. He writhes, moves back from the mic thoughtfully after each stanza.

Mr. CHANDLER: Well yeah, I was, because it was, you know, it was kind of serious for me in that, you know, this was a celebration. It was meant to be comical in some parts, obviously.

(Soundbite of song parody of “One”)

Mr. CHANDLER: (Singing) Do you like the Yankees, or is NASCAR more your speed…

BURBANK: Had Bank of America not been videotaping the event, it would've just gone down as a, sort of, overly earnest, comically corporate moment, something straight out of the TV show “The Office.” But they were videotaping it, and that tape made its way onto YouTube.com and even snarkier sites like the taste-making stereogum.com. In the past week, the clip has been watched over 100,000 between the various Web sites, and the reviews have been almost universally negative.

I have here a printed out just some of the reaction on this Web site Stereogum, which posted it, and this is some of the stuff that people have said: In what universe did this seem like a good idea? It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. And somebody else just said oh my God.

(Soundbite of song parody of “One”)

Mr. CHANDLER: (Singing) And we've got Bank One on the run. What's in your wallet? It's not Capital One…

Mr. CHANDLER: It just goes to show you kind of what a judgmental world we live in. They kind of laugh at the people's names I mention in the song. And I'm kind of well, you're not supposed to really know who those people are because it was meant to be internal.

BURBANK: This is the part of the song where you actually substitute upper-level managers of Bank of America. You actually drop their name into the song.

Mr. CHANDLER: Right.

(Soundbite of song parody of “One”)

Mr. CHANDLER: (Singing) Have you come to me, Bruce Henners(ph)? Have you come to me Liam McGee(ph)? Have you heard about Michelle Sheppard(ph)? She's leading the team in the Northeast…

BURBANK: The performance has garnered so much attention, recently showing up on VH1, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, that Universal Music, who owns the rights to the original song, even posted a cease and desist letter in the comments section of the Stereogum blog. The interesting thing, though, is that despite all the scorn, Ethan Chandler is actually a pretty good singer. He can hold a tune. His biggest crime, it would seem, is really a lack of self-awareness. But as it turns out, Chandler might be smarter than he's letting on. When, I called him this week for the interview, he didn't call me back. It was his newly minted publicist who did.

Luke Burbank, NPR News, Los Angeles.

(Soundbite of song parody of “One”)

Mr. CHANDLER: (Singing) At Bank of America, one bank…

CHADWICK: There's a link to the entire performance at our Web site, npr.org.

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