2007   MAY 2   #122

American-Standard - The Bathrooms Are Coming!

01. It's Revolution (1:13)
02. The Distributors (1:21)
03. Bring Back Those Glorious_Years (3:19)
04. Behind Every Man Is A Woman (2:56)
05. Proximatics (2:37)
06. Ultra Bath Dream (1:38)
07. The Time for Change (2:32)
08. Look at this Tub (2:12)
09. My Bathroom (3:09)
10. The Ultra Bath (1:38)
11. Spectra 70 (1:36)
12. Couldn't Be Done (1:16)
13. It's Revolution (reprise) (1:12)

By special request, here is one of the weirdest - and surely one of the greatest - Industrial Musicals of all time. Back in the mid-1990s, a few tracks from this corporate artifact appeared on the Product Music CD from Honest Abe records. Most notable of those was the track "My Bathroom," which became something of a cult song, somehow sneaking onto NPR a few times. The truth is that almost the entire record is just as bizarre. Take the liner notes, for example:

The Bathrooms are Coming premiered a new decade of bathroom fixtures born out of exhaustive human and product research by American-Standard. The story began with the introduction of a mythical Greek goddess Femma, the epitome of all women's attitudes, reflections and desires and the leader of all women's movements. In the play Femma is called upon by other women to start a bathroom revolution - "Join the fight for bathroom safety, Femma.the fight for beauty and luxury. We need freedom from bathroom oppression. Join the fight for better bathrooms."

And so it was that Femma led the story. It began with a declaration that "plumbing" is a feminine business, shoring a profile of the "woman of the 70's," and the case for change against the status quo, She carried the audience through the Cornell research, to a view of markets in terms of people. Then, the Revolution unfolded in terms of new attitudes, new programs. Then one by one, the real stars of the show were revealed - Economy Wall Surround, Proximatics, Ultra Bath, Bone and Spectra 70.

We sincerely hope that this delightful music helps you to recapture the excitement, color and laughter of the original show.

So, is the show a mockery of the then-current women's movement, or is it simply an innocent take on bathroom fixtures? Does it matter? Mercifully, they left the dialogue off the record and kept only the musical highlights. In this case, the music and lyrics were written by Sid Siegel, who had a fruitful career in this business, writing entertaining musicals for Standard Oil's Western Division, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Converters, Inc., a company that made disposable paper hospital garments. Go, Sid!

Besides "My Bathroom" track, I believe the best songs are the ones that concentrate on the new fixtures, like "My Ultra Bath" and "Spectra 70." But as I mentioned, the whole thing is pretty good. It dates from 1969. A couple notes: yes, "Ultra Bath Dream" and "The Ultra Bath" are pretty much the same song - and I apologize for the 20 seconds or so of scratchiness on Track 7.

- Contributed by: Jonathan Ward

Images: Front Cover


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