Sep 2, 2019
As the 20th Anniversary of “Y2K” (the “Millennium Bug”) approaches on December 31, here’s a short music parody VIDEO (set to the music of “YMCA” by the Village People, a hit song from 1978) produced in 1999 by a Silicon Valley tech giant at the time, Sun Microsystems. It was one way the company used to break the ice at Y2K planning meetings in the 6 months leading up to the event.
The tongue-in-cheek parody music video was recorded by song parodist, Loose Bruce Kerr, together with a production staff of his fellow employees at Sun
Two years prior, Sun Microsystems hired attorney Bruce Kerr. Most were not aware he was the same as “Loose Bruce Kerr,” a nationally-known song parodist who’d opened for “Weird Al” Yankovic back during Bruce’s previous twenty year performing career, before then returning to law. Early in 1999, Bruce performed for a Sun legal conference his latest parody at that time, “Y2K” (“The Western World collapsing/My car insurance lapsing”).
Over 6 months in early 1999, Bruce and a team of his fellow Sun employees were charged by their employer with producing a music video (MTV was popular at the time) to Bruce’s soundtrack and a script he quickly put together. Sun senior executives were used as extras, including cameos by Sun’s CEO, Scott McNealy and COO, Ed Zander.
Here, then, is the story of the Y2K threat as seen through the lens of a computer company dealing lightheartedly with that threat in the months leading up to 01/01/00, with the assistance of song parodist Loose Bruce Kerr.
As it turned out, only minor disruptions occurred after millions were spent by banks and other companies trying to avert disaster. With dates in many computer systems at the time represented by only two digits (e.g., 00) instead of four (e.g., 2000 or 1900), the worry was “00” would be seen by the systems as 1900, not the year 2000, and worldwide systems might shut down big time, disrupting everything from bank, commerce, and health systems to even including images of “airplanes falling from the sky.”
Later, Kerr became Assistant General Counsel at Sun and is currently an attorney working at Oracle, which acquired Sun in 2010.
CREDITS: Producer: Anna Weldon; Executive Producers: John Croll, Tony Hampell, & Jan Testarmata; Associate Producer: Jenny Quang; Director: Mark Weldon; the band consisted of Bruce’s fellow legal reps: Bass: Stephen Clayton; keyboard: Darryl Payton; percussion: Anne Tirsell; drums: Bill Lard.
Also available on youtube.com