Lap it up as small victory in the “war of influence” (a war over whether Continental or United will emerge as the true post-meger airline), but United confirmed today it will keep “Rhapsody in Blue” as its signature theme song…sort of.
“We’re going to keep that around, but whether it will be part of ad campaigns, we haven’t decided,” said United Holdings spokesman Rahsaan Johnson. “We still have the rights to use it, so we will.”
United Airlines purchased the rights to George Gershwin’s familiar 1924 piano music in 1976 and has used it in radio and televisions spots since the mid-1980s.
The music will also continue playing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. “If you walk between concourses B and C, you hear it playing overhead. It will still be around,” Johnson said.
That’s not the most reassuring statement, but what does reassure me that Gershwin’s famous tune will stay around is that we are now hearing it on Continental safety videos.
Why does the song matter?
Well first, I just like it–it’s a catchy tune and a tune that has been attached to United for two decades. In a merger that keeps the United name but more accurately seems to be Continental replacing United, it is nice to see a small part of UA’s heritage beat out the all-business, no-nonsense Continental.