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  • 02.26.10

Man Made Music Tells Sonic Stories With a Little Help from Grammy Winners

It’s one thing to pen a jingle. “I’m telling stories,” says Joel Beckerman, the award-winning founder and President of Man Made Music.

The idea is that sounds–from the lowliest chime to the most intricate
composition, like Beckerman’s rework of the NBC Nightly News theme with
its original award-winning composer John Williams–evoke emotions and
memories and help create narratives.

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Beckerman’s done that by connecting the Black Eyed Peas and their
so-bad-it’s-unforgettable “I Gotta Feeling” with CBS, who has the song
on heavy rotation during all sorts of promos. He enlisted six-time
Grammy winner John Legend (above) to stunningly cover U2’s “Pride (In
the Name of Love)” for The History Channel’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
documentary, King.

“There was a moment when I paused, realizing the enormity of taking
on such a great, classic, signature song, but John really rose to the
occasion,” Beckerman says. “As far as I know, ‘Pride’ has never before
been covered by a major artist. The new arrangement is so wonderfully
simple and poignant–just John’s voice and piano playing. We were both
very happy with how it came out.” On another happy note, Beckerman’s
been able to grow his business 200% in the middle of one of the worst
times in music industry history. Odds are, you’ve heard his work, even
if you’ve never heard his or Man Made Music’s name. Check out the video
below for proof.

About the author

Tyler Gray is the former Editorial Director of Fast Company and co-author of the book The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel and Buy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), out in fall 2014. He previously authored The Hit Charade for HarperCollins and has written for The New York Times, SPIN, Blender, Esquire, and others.

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