An insight into the Windows 95 startup sound

Raymond Chen

Doo, dudududingggggg…. ding…. ding… ding…

In an interview with Joel Selvin at the San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Eno explains.

Q: How did you come to compose “The Microsoft Sound”?

A: The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — solve it.”

The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.”

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel.

In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

The Windows 95 CD contained extra multimedia toss-ins. The ones I remember are a cartoon or two by Bill Plympton, a Weezer music video, and music video of Edie Brickell singing Good Times.

For some reason, everybody wanted to know the artist from the Good Times video. Nobody was interested in the artists who did any of the other stuff. (Okay, probably nobody asked about Weezer because, well, that’s the group right there in the filename.)

Hint: Right-click and select Properties. That will tell you the artist.

Oh, and the question nobody asked but I’m going to answer it anyway: The composer of the Windows 95 Easter Egg theme is Brian Orr. Here’s his story of how it came to be.


Discussion is closed.

Feedback usabilla icon