Microsoft Theme Song

An old topic still of interest to me: Why did Microsoft choose a song with such inappropriate lyrics to launch Windows 95? Lines such as “I can’t compete with the other riders in the heats” “You make a grown man cry - my eyes dilate, my lips go green my hands are greasy” and “you make a dead man cum” make Bill Gates sound like Darryl the Mechanic from U-Turn. The karma police must have thought so too.

The big difference from a user’s point of view between the Win95 interface and the older MS versions (3.1, NT3.x) was the “Start” button. Also, the words “start me up” went along well with a long-anticipated product launch, and implied that your computer would be able to do things it couldn’t before.

I don’t think their commercials ever actually aired the words “you make a dead man come”.

Well, it was chosen more for the directly appropriate lyric- “Start me up.”

One of the big selling points/ features/ little do-dads that wasn’t worth $100 for in Windows 95 was the “Start” button. Gates and others felt that the “Start” button feature was a major draw and a major example of how much better and easier Windows 95 was; so, the rights to a song to draw attention to it- “Start Me Up” were bought, and that song- with a very identifyable opening riff, which is great when you’re advertising- was used as the theme song for Windows 95.

Maybe the rest of the song doesn’t really lend itself to product placement (or it leads to really weird images of Bill Gates in hot pants and pursed lips), but the ads rarely played more than that opening riff and the first few lines. And besides, it’s not nearly as bizarre as some of the other songs stolen for ad campaigns.


“Y’know, I would invite y’all to go feltch a dead goat, but that would be abuse of a perfectly good dead goat and an insult to all those who engage in that practice for fun.” -weirddave, set to maximum flame

Another example of this selective lyric use appeared way back in '84 when Reagan used Springsteen’s Born in the USA for his campaign, which features the lyrics :

“Born down in a dead man’s town,
The first kick I took was when I the ground.
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much,
'Till you spend half your life trying to cover it up”


“Got in a little hometown jam,
So they put a rifle in my hand.
Sent me off to a foreign land,
To go and kill the yellow man.”

…among other disturbing images that don’t fit too well into the psuedo-optimistic attitude of a political campaign.

“Start” button? Ah, yes, it doesn’t do anything but bring down a menu. Silly thing.

Yep, and I find it ironic that I have to select “Start” to shut down properly. Of course, on the machine I’m using at the moment, the “Start” button typically causes a catastrophic crash about 1/2 the time you use it.

ObWindows/MacOS Slam: "I liked the “Start” button a lot better when it was called the “Apple Menu.”

I understand the “Start Me Up” song idea, but why’d they go with the Mozart Requiem bit? I don’t recall what it was for – maybe Windows 98 or something, but didn’t they use the Confutatis Maledictus in a commercial at some point?

Was this an attempt to have something “dark, classical, well-known, with motion to it” or as a threat to their competition.

oh well, at least in Windows you get an explanation of the message board icons in that little beige box.

panama jack who uses a mac.

The lyrics were just fine in the demo version.

Nope Reagan didn’t get permission to use this song. Ronnie only referred to it in passing in a speech. Bruce wondered if Reagan or anybody on his campaign had listened to it. He felt the last verse of “My Hometown” worked better for Reagan.
See “My Hometown” and “The Heart of Rock and Soul” by Dave Marsh for details

The funniest thing about the Requiem commercial is that when the banner said ``Where do you want to go today?’’ the music was saying something about the flames of hell.

``You’re just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird.’’ – Tori Amos.

xekul, I was just about to ask if that is true. I can’t hear the commercial but my friend said that is just what it was about. Wasn’t it a John Lennon song?

Today’s song: 'Microsoft 99 cents per share, it fell down, Microsoft 98 cents per share, it fell down, Microsoft 97 cents per share ’ :slight_smile:

“‘How do you know I’m mad’ said Alice.
'You must be, ’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’”

I thought that the lyrics would have undermined the ad campaign just a little bit - did Microsoft employees feel stupid singing them at motivation meetings for instance? Music with strong hooks and riffs is powerful the people who can write it must be extremely powerful. But does that mean “style over content” should always win out? Pearl Jam’s Better Man has the greatest melody but a woman would have to be pretty stupid to be humming it down at the women’s refuge* (having missed the irony).

*for victims of violence.