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Laughing as bubble burst, S&P analyst penned Talking Heads parody

February 05, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • An S&P analyst set new lyrics about the housing market to an old song and emailed it to colleagues. It wound up in the government's lawsuit against the ratings agency.
An S&P analyst set new lyrics about the housing market to an old song… (Henny Ray Abrams / Associated…)

As the housing market collapsed in 2007, an analyst at Standard & Poor's composed a little tune for colleagues -- "Analyst D's" own version of "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads.

The email, cited in the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against the ratings agency filed in Los Angeles late Monday, came in March 2007 after the analyst conducted a risk analysis of bonds packed with souring mortgages the previous year.

"With apologies to David Byrne," the email began, "here's my version of 'Burning Down the House'

Watch out

Housing market went softer

Cooling down

Strong market is now much weaker

Subprime is boi-lingĀ  o-ver

Bringing down the house

Hold tight

CDO biz -- has a bother

Hold tight

Leveraged CDOs they were after

Going -- all the way down, with

Subprime mortgages

Own it

Hey you need a downgrade now


Huge delinquencies hit it now


Bringing down the house."

Perhaps sensing this song might go down in the annals of embarrassing work emails that could one day find their way into litigation -- ahem -- the analyst quickly sent a follow-up email, according to the government's lawsuit.

"For obvious professional reasons, please do not forward this song," the analyst said. "If you are interested, I can sing it in your cube ;-)."


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