Health & Family

Hugh McColl. Mayor Roberts. Toussaint Romain. 2 Panthers. A streetcar. And ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ What??

Trolley Karaoke with Hugh McColl

Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and others cut loose to the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" to raise awareness of heart disease.
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Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and others cut loose to the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" to raise awareness of heart disease.

You have to see it to believe it. And even then, while you’re watching it, you might not actually believe it.

The video opens with former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl sitting at the controls of a Gold Line streetcar, clad in a red BofA hat and a red BofA T-shirt.

“Every 80 seconds, a woman dies from heart disease,” he says. “But 80 percent of the time, the causes are preventable. It’s important to know CPR.” And then he reaches the point of no return: “To help you remember the right beat for CPR chest compressions, I’ve asked some Charlotte celebrities to join me in a little trolley karaoke. Hit it.”

What follows is two-plus minutes of...

Well, frankly, there are hundreds of words that could describe the sound of “Stayin’ Alive” paired with the sight of McColl, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, city public defender Toussaint Romain, a couple of Carolina Panthers, a Charlotte Ballet dancer, an Opera Carolina singer, a fitness-studio owner and three sports mascots dancing and singing along to the Bee Gees’ disco classic.

Watch the video (back up there at the top of the story) and decide what those words should be for yourself.

Trolley Karaoke_01
Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, front and center, flanked by Chubby (the Charlotte Checkers mascot), Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, and public defender Toussaint Romain. Wheelhouse Media

For the uninitiated, this is in fact another in a long line of videos extolling the virtues of conjuring the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” in your head if you ever need to perform hands-only CPR.

The “trolley karaoke” video – part of a campaign to raise awareness of heart disease – started with an idea by Kim Henderson, chief of staff to the president and CEO at Novant Health (and a heart-attack survivor herself); it was produced as a collaboration between Charlotte-based Wheelhouse Media and Paula Broadwell’s Think Broader, and unveiled at the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon in Charlotte on Thursday.

“We reached out to CATS to see if we could use the Trolley and the city was very supportive,” Broadwell told me in an email. “As you can imagine it was like herding cats (trying to find one day that worked for all). Poor Mr. McColl had to sing the song seven times! We all had a lot of fun, though.”

On a more-serious note, lest you get halfway through watching it and forget what McColl’s original point was, here are some facts about women and heart health, courtesy of the AHA:

▪ Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.

▪ An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

▪ Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.

▪ Eighty percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

And on a less-serious note, if for some reason you want the Bee Gees’ song even further embedded in your brain today, here are the three “Stayin’ Alive”-inspired CPR videos that have gone most viral over the years:

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes