The F-U to the Beatles Hidden in Old Mac Computers

If you’re a longtime Mac user, you may remember the System 7 OS, which arrived in the spring of 1991.

It was around this time that Apple, the computer company, was involved in the first of its many trademark skirmishes against Apple Corps, the Beatles record label.

If users went to System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects, they’d find a file called Sosumi.  It was a short sample of a xylophone that could be assigned to any event on the machine.

This, however, was a problem.  Apple Corps was dead against Apple Computer doing anything that was “too musical” and thus infringed on Apple Corps trademark rights.  

Apple Computer had to go so far as to review all the sounds in System 7 with Apple Corps to make sure there weren’t any issues.

But Jim Reekes, the creator of the Mac startup sound, wouldn’t have any of this.  He wanted this xylophone sample in System 7.  Screw the Beatles.  So he snuck it into the OS.

At first, he called the sound Let It Bleep, but he got pushback from Legal on that one.  “So sue me!” he thought.  


Reekes resubmitted the name of the sample to Legal as “Sosumi“–and it got through.  Take that, Beatles.

(Via Mac Life)


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “The F-U to the Beatles Hidden in Old Mac Computers

  • December 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    It's not hidden and it's not only on old Mac's… it's still right here (OSX 10.6.8).


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