Jun 1, 2010, 18:51

The History Channel has added a new visual element to their logo they call a “propel”. This promo spot, directed by Adam Levite at Ghost Robot Productions, features a re-make of a 1957 Buddy Holly song “Everyday”:


Grizzled factory workers (live action) manufacture countless “propels” on giant machinery. Scenes of red triangles riding in wheel barrows and conveyer belts are accompanied by a pulsing, acoustic rock track with a sleepily sung 1st verse. Perhaps this section symbolizes the organizational process undergone at the History Channel to re-define a mission and prepare for its launch.

About 30 seconds in, the “propels” are released from the factory roof like a flock of birds. The music explodes into a new section radically different from the Buddy Holly version and the vocals seem to howl from an incredibly wounded place. We then see a sequence of exterior shots of blue collar Americans noticing these flocks flying overhead.

The music settles into a groovy dénouement as the spot ends on a full screen shot of a single “propel” embedding itself onto the left side of the familiar History Channel logo. This TV promo, targeted towards the History Channel’s core audience of males age 25 to 54, works like crazy.

The Behind-the-Scenes Story:
The song “Everyday”, originally released as a B-side to the huge Buddy Holly hit “Peggy Sue”, is ranked #236 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The lyrics address the rapid passage time against instrumentation that sounds like a nursery rhyme.

“We partner with our research department daily to understand what motivates men to interact with History.” explains Krista Liney, Creative Director at The History Channel. “When I heard this song I knew it was a clear standout. The lyrics engage our audience more than any other song we researched.”

The History Channel tapped Jaren Gutstadt, owner of Jinglepunks to demo a few versions of the song. They also reached out to Casey Gartland of GMR Entertainment to obtain rights and clearances from song’s publisher.

“Jingle Punks was the only company I reached out to for this project.”, Liney continues. “They sent three versions. This [acoustic rock] version ‘made history’ (pun intended) from the start. My team finessed it to fit to our initiative, but it is exactly what we wanted! Both [Jinglepunks and GRM] go to great lengths to understand our brand and the direction of [this campaign].”

The amazing vocals were performed by NY-based, Mike Del Rio. Billboard Magazine described Mike’s music as:

“the type of music you want to scream at the top of your lungs in your car, and constantly replay until the CD skips. His diversity with instruments and ability to take on several careers at such a young age is highly admirable and will enable him to survive in music’s demanding industry.”
When asked about the section of the recording that so drastically splits away from the original version Liney says, “The story behind the music change [at :30] is that my team wanted something big, epic and aspirational; which is exactly what we received! The track was cut down to fit this particular promo image-wise. We’ve used the track before in previous image spots; but wanted this version to be timed perfectly…the swell of the music with the History Factory exterior as our ‘propels’ erupt from the pipe. We really wanted this to be an emotional, monumental moment.”

Check out vocalist (and self-appointed “maker of madness”) Mike Del Rio in his appearance on Billboard Underground:


Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of http://www.musicrevolution.com, a production music marketplace where media producers and business owners can license high-quality, affordable music from a online community of musicians.

2 Responses to “Music Sync of the Week: How a Buddy Holly B-Side Reshaped History”

  1. It Box @ All Around the World News Says:

    1st CD Maker…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Barnaby Says:

    Would have been more exciting to hear a teaser clip of the engine than this picture.

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