Changing Planet

They’re playing our song–Gospel-style

By Boyd Matson

Frequently when I leave my radio studio I found myself humming our song, the familiar National Geographic theme. It’s contagious because it gets in your head. You can’t get it out of there.

You may have had that happen with a pop tune. Frequently it’s because the song is so annoying. It’s just stuck there, going over and over like a loop, and you think, “how can I get that out of my head.”

Fast Company recently did a survey of the most contagious sounds. They call it the ten most addictive sounds in all the world. Some of them are commercials, some natural sounds. See the list below.

No. 1 on the list of the most contagious sounds was a baby’s giggle. No. 2 was a commercial sound, the Intel theme.

No. 5 on the Fast Company magazine list of the ten most addictive sounds in the whole world is the National Geographic theme.

Here at National Geographic Weekend we’ve taken that theme and tried to change it up a little by getting some of our musician friends to record a variety of versions. You can hear some of those on our radio show, if you tune in to National Geographic Weekend.

In this video I will give you a little sample of what the Gospel version sounds like, recorded by the band Open Hands:



Non-branded and branded sounds:
1. Baby giggle
2. Intel
3. Vibrating phone
4. ATM / cash register
5. National Geographic
6. MTV
7. T-Mobile Ringtone
8. McDonald’s
9. ‘Star Spangled Banner’
10. State Farm

Top 10 Branded sounds:
1. Intel
2. National Geographic
3. MTV
4. T-Mobile
5. McDonald’s
7. State Farm
8. AT&T Ringtone
9. Home Depot
10 Palm Treo Ringtone

Boyd Matson is the host of the radio show National Geographic Weekend. Visit the show’s website to find out more about how to listen to the story about meeting the transportation needs for most of the world’s population, the people for whom even owning a motorbike is out of the question.


Join Boyd Matson and some of the greatest explorers on the planet for the adventure of a lifetime as National Geographic takes you to the far corners of the planet and the hidden corners of your own backyard. Spend your weekend exploring with National Geographic.

Watch Boyd Matson’s Wild Chronicles

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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