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Atlanta airport grooving to clean music

  • Story Highlights
  • Visitors to Atlanta's airport will hear some familiar classics
  • Older R&B hits reworked to promote airport cleanliness
  • Original artists re-record songs meant to gently prompt passengers
  • Airport also using scent to help relax visitors
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By Lisa Respers France
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(CNN) -- Imagine arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, one of the busiest and most bustling airports in the country.

People are dashing about, waiting at checkpoints and scanning the screens for departure and arrival times.

Invariably there are delays and since you aren't going anywhere anytime soon, you might as well enjoy the tunes playing over the public announcement system.

Hey, isn't that the Peaches and Herb classic "Shake Your Groove Thing"? You haven't heard that in years!

But wait, what are they singing? It sounds like "Shake Your Groove Thing," but the lyrics playing don't match the ones you know. Click on the image above to hear two of the airport's new songs.

"Opening Day fresh, Opening Day fresh,

Yeah, yeah

Hartsfield-Jackson do it now

Opening Day fresh, Opening Day fresh,

Yeah, yeah

Show 'em how we do it now!

Show 'em how we do it now!"

Welcome to parody with a purpose.

As part of an initiative to keep the airport clean and get people excited about the airport's new shops and dining options, officials there bought the rights to three popular R & B classics: "Shake Your Groove Thing" by Peaches and Herb, "Bustin' Loose" by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers and "Fantastic Voyage" by Lakeside.

With rights secured, Doug Strachan, Creative Innovations Manager for the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation, rewrote the lyrics and invited the original artists to record the revamped songs.

"Whereas words reach the mind, music reaches the heart," Strachan said. "These are hit songs that people love ... real powerful, catchy and make you want to dance. If you can make someone dance, you can probably motivate them to do other things."

So "Groove Thing" became "Keep It Opening Day Fresh," "Bustin Loose" morphed into "We're Steady Cleaning Up," and "Fantastic Voyage" was reborn as "Our New Concessions." Clean music with a clean message -- literally.

The concept of "opening day fresh" refers to keeping the airport as clean as if it were opening day, which means smelling fresh and looking as spotless as possible.

The catchy tunes are a way to subtly remind visitors that it takes a team effort to keep the airport sparkling. "Our New Concessions" reminds travelers about the facility's retail offerings and food service.

Strachan said much effort was put into making sure the songs were produced in such a way that they were respectful to the song and the artist.

"The whole idea is to make it sound as much like the original as possible," Strachan said. "If it's not really done with deft, then it kind of detracts from it rather than enhances it."

Herb Fame, half of Peaches and Herb, loved the idea and was pleased to remake his classic.

"Shake Your Grove Thing" "was a worldwide song and people recognize the melody," said Fame, who continues to perform. "It was fun to do and every time I come through the airport I listen to it."

Mark Wood, lead vocalist of the group Lakeside, said Strachan did a great job transforming "Fantastic Voyage" into a new, yet familiar song.

"It's important to send the message in a way that the message will get through," Wood said. "Ours is a song that people may have grown up hearing or they may have played for their kids and so you might have generations that can relate to it."

Such messaging can be extremely effective, said Matt Wallaert, lead scientist for Thrive, an online financial advisory company for young adults.

Wallaert, an expert in behavioral finance and social psychology, said the airport is obviously attempting to do something his company also aims for -- offering useful information in a way that is less stressful for the user.

"If you put up a sign that says 'Don't Litter,' people see it the first time you put it up, but every time after that it loses its impact, because it becomes a standard part of what they see," he said. "Music is pervasive in a way that a sign is not because it's everywhere."

Strachan said officials at the airport definitely want those coming through to enjoy their time.

As part of that, the airport recently launched the initial phases of a program that uses a scent called "Breeze" to help enhance visitors' mood. Strachan said the scent, which was first tested on a limited group of passengers, uses a variety of different notes, including vanilla and a little lavender.

The pleasant, relaxing scent is going over so well that Strachan said a custom scent that will be exclusive to Hartsfield-Jackson is being developed.

"We want to make people feel better," he said. "We wanted to give them an olfactory cue which suggested that the airport is opening day fresh and we want to enhance their travel experience."

Stefanie Michaels, also known as Adventure Girl, is a travel commentator and writer who is a frequent traveler.

Anything airports can do to make air travel more relaxing is more than welcome, especially in the times we live in, she said.

"Movie theaters and restaurants have been using scents and those kinds of subliminal tactics for years," Michaels said. "Music makes people feel good and with the economy the way it is, people are just stressed to no end, so from a subconscious level it's a really wise thing for the airport to do."

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