Brian Eno is a musician and producer who’s been in the music biz longer than many of us have been alive. He’s done all kinds of music, but he’s most popular for “ambient music,” and well, if I’ve got to describe it, that’ll ruin it for you.
Microsoft knew what a cool guy he was, so when they were looking for some cool new sound to set their new Windows 95 apart (What? They had computers back then?), Brian was the guy they went to.
So Eno composed the little musical cue many of us came to forever associate with the booting up of our Windows 95 machines – hopeful, a new day dawning, a sun coming up somewhere over a hilly field of green grass with a gorgeous blue sky overhead and some fluffy white clouds that… Hey, wait a minute… that was the generic Windows XP desktop, wasn’t it?
Actually, Eno came up with 83 pieces of music, and Microsoft picked the one they liked the best. The four adjectives Microsoft gave him when they commissioned him was “inspirational, sexy, driving, provocative and nostalgic.” Imagine having to work all four of those things into just a few notes.
It’s not saying too much that Eno’s little musical cue is responsible for a big part of the Windows 95 experience, but it might surprise you to know that Eno isn’t a PC guy… Nope, he’s Mac, all the way. He says he composed the little piece of Windows music on a Mac, and he’s never used a PC in his life, nor does he ever intend to.
But that wasn’t enough to stop Microsoft from using his instantly recognizable little “theme” for Windows 95.