October 29th, 2008
12:03 PM ET

Bong-bing-booong

The National Broadcasting Company was founded in 1926. For most of that time, the network has had a distinctive chime consisting of the notes G-E-C (which, coincidentally, match the initials of one of the firm’s founding corporations and, now, owner). The notes have been since been played by a variety of instruments, but almost always anonymously.

Not anymore.

To celebrate the audio trademark, NBC asked some of its stars and several music luminaries for their own versions of the chimes.

But it seems the network is only scratching the surface. Who would you like to see do the chimes? And is it time for a new musical theme? (Brian Eno may be available.) Chime in here.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer


Filed under: television

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. marquee.blogs.cnn.com

    Bong bing booong.. Super 🙂

    April 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Buzz

    Great article on the history of the NBC chimes here:

    radioremembered.org/chimes.htm

    November 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jake

    Hendrix.

    November 11, 2008 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Konaguy

    It's a pity Jimi isn't around to give it a go......

    November 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    They should bring back the original radio recording from the 30s. I've heard it and it just sounds eerie.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ex-CBS Guy

    It should sound like this. Listen close.

    October 30, 2008 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. M-ATL

    The new chimes are very innovative and entertaining. Gives me something to look forward to during commercial breaks. And looks and sounds good on HDTV.

    October 29, 2008 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Manuel

    Try the 1984 Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. We did a rendition of the song NBC "Chimes Festival" that will wake you up and we also put a fun twist to it.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mindy

    I recently saw some of the pieces where the stars would sing the NBC tones. I really liked it! Especially the one where the stars from Heroes beat-box it.

    I think it's fun to see your fave stars outside their shows, and to see them performing in a novel way. And I like that at the same time, they sing something that is SO recognizable.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Victoria

    The bigger question is why CNN is devoting even a small amount of web space to this issue.

    October 29, 2008 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    Neil Peart, drummer from Rush. He's a monster on the tubular bells

    October 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HSBandGuy

    Tommy Newsome of Tonight Show Band fame wrote a very cool piece called NBC Chimes Festival about 20 years ago. Bring that back.

    October 29, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Craig

    The biggest guy you find like Lurch from the addams Family or a summor wrestler type guy aggressivly approaching a set of brass tubular bells and gently tapping it out.

    October 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    Some things you get right the first time! Monkeying with them downstream displays poor judgment.

    Putting some creative talent to work to celebrate the anniversary of the chimes is, however, a great idea. For example, look at what Beethoven did with G-G-G-E flat.

    October 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chuck in Ohio

    Please just leave the tones alone.
    Those familiar tones are more than just a marketing gimick.
    They represent a time when this country was on top....
    When this country was actually a force in the universe and all
    other countries wanted to be like us.
    When I hear " N-B-C" I also hear "U-S-A".
    Please don't change or alter this.
    Long live the tones!

    October 29, 2008 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Rich

    Have Obama do it. He owes them at least that much!

    October 29, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Me

    Why mess with a good thing? Isn't it perfectly fine?

    October 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Steven

    Leave them alone as they are – we've had the same tones all these years that are easy to recognize – there's no need to change them now by having others play the tune!

    October 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Joshua

    Bring back Michael Winslow (of "Police Academy" fame)! I'm sure he can do a wide array of whatever with his voice...

    October 29, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Winona

    Keep the same musical theme – it was invaluable during Music Theory classes – "Ma-jor-sixth!"

    October 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  21. John MacDaniel, Huntsville AL

    When a "commercial television station" spends more than half of the time that is allocated for a 'show' on commercials – who has time to listen for a three second chime?

    These stations used to be a viable part of our communities – but if you want to find out what is going on in the community, you have to go to CNN or some other real television station to get the news and/or action and/or drama and/or film venue that you are looking to seeing.

    Welcome to the real purpose of 'commercial' television – where the commercial is king – and the rest of the time is spent letting you wish that you could really participate in what you were trying to look at – at the time that you turned on your television set in the first place.

    October 29, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Tom

    1. Tone signals from one of the Mars rovers.

    2. Tones from the humpback whale mating song.

    October 29, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Davis Mann

    The new chime ads which use clips from NBC shows like The Office are incredibly annoying. Someone needs to put a stop to it immediately. Bet you anything the actors in the clips (Tina Fey, Rainn Wilson, etc.) and the writers who wrote the original bits where the chimes have been overdubbed are each and every one irritated by the awkward, non-funny, nothingness promos.

    October 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Dallas, Texas

    An astronaut while at the International Space Station. I'm sure Russia will appreciate the money to pull it off.

    Hillary Clinton is available, and Bill trading in his saxaphone would be fun.

    October 29, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |

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