Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Those are the notes in the shutdown jingle played on Windows XP. Those are also the first four notes (and the notes beginning all the 12-string breaks on The Byrds song Eight Miles High). This is what Roger McGuinn, founder of the Byrds, alleged in his announcement posted on his website on July 19, 2003, that he was "filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Microsoft, charging that the software
company is illegally using the first four notes of the Byrds hit, 'Eight Miles High' in the closing theme music for the Windows XP operating system". {see more}. Dr. Jordan Bochanis of the University of Bridgeport, a noted music culture anthropologist, had this to say: "Roger McGuinn is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of all time, and he has every right to lay claim to these four notes," said Jordan Bochanis of the University of Bridgeport. "If I were him, I wouldn't stop at Microsoft. I'd sue the Beatles, Tom Petty and the Gin Blossoms. I'd even sue Bob Dylan for making a hash of Mr. Tambourine Man after the Byrds did such a nice job on it. So I'm glad to hear Roger McGuinn say to Microsoft - hey, no more getting 'High' for free.".

All this sounds ludicrous to say the least, and one followup response to the post on the MSFN sums it up rather well: I think King Solomon should sue Roger McGuinn for stealing the entire lyrics of "Turn Turn Turn" from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiates in the Bible. That's the song that they are best known for, so Israel deserves some compensation..

Hardly had Redmond-naysayers and believers in other causes that McGuinn supports (including free music downloads) started their hosannas, when McGuinn posted a followup on July 21, 2003 cancelling the suit after remembering that he didn't really write the first four notes of "Eight Miles High" after all. "After I thought about it, I remembered that John Coltrane actually wrote that riff, and I basically stole it," McGuinn said. "Actually, the parts of the song I didn't take from Coltrane were ripped from Ravi Shankar and Andres Segovia.". Responses to this were mixed. There were supportive fans, shocked and disappointed fans ("I can't believe Roger McGuinn uses Windows. I was sure he was a Macintosh guy")

And Dr. Jordan Bochanis, the "music culture anthropologist" from the University of Bridgeport, is actually a waiter at the Acropolis Diner in nearby Fairfield, Connecticut.

On a related note, here's another great hoax: "Metallica are suing independant Canadian rockers Unfaith over what they call "unsanctioned usage of two chords [Metallica] have been using since 1982 : E and F".

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