Throw up now: McDonalds silences rowdy eaters with Bach

Throw up now: McDonalds silences rowdy eaters with Bach


norman lebrecht

June 07, 2015

Franchise owners of a late-night fast-food joint in Argyll Street, Glasgow, have started pumping in classical music to quell its customers drunken revelries. Apparently, police have been called to this branch of McDonalds, the busiest in Scotland, more than 200 times in 14 months.

The classical remedy aims to sooth savage stomachs while waiting for the patties to fry.

Seldom has good music been so degraded.

mcdonalds music



  • william osborne says:

    This fits with McInnovation that so many US orchestras are using to market themselves. I see a whole new economic opportunity for classical music in this “alternative venue.”

  • Patrick says:

    Well, as they say, “Music has charms to soothe a savage McChicken breast.”

  • Brent Straughan says:

    “Supersize” me….

  • James McCarty says:

    I see nothing wrong with this as long as they are using recordings with period instruments and performance practice, and as long as they are paying royalties to the musicians. 🙂

  • Anon2 says:

    Every time I pass thru Grand Central Station in NYC there’s classical music on the loudspeakers. Maybe they have the same idea. . .

  • Mikey says:

    “waah! waah! the wider public is not being exposed to classical music! waah!”

    “waah! waah! the wider public is being exposed to classical music in a manner of which I disapprove! waah!”

    Wow, it’s always something, isn’t it.

    • James Alexander says:

      Agreed. Such snobbery. Does it REALLY matter!?

      I’ve been campaigning for years to have classical music played in A&E Depts rather than shock jock talk radio which invites higher levels of anxiety and aggression.

      Go Bach.

      Am lovin’ it !!!

  • justsayin' says:

    Mikey has a point.
    If the place would change its name to “Zimmermann’s”, one might even argue that there’s a certain air of authenticity in performance practice.
    Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht und höret was jetzund geschicht.

  • Kathleen McCarthy says:

    I’ve heard of stores in shopping malls using piped in classical music to keep rowdy kids away – and it works. Teenagers wouldn’t be caught dead congregating around old farts music.

    • Chris says:

      Try using that “old farts music” remark on my youth orchestra or, likely, any other youth orchestra.

      • T-ARAFANBOY says:

        Well said.

        • Brian b says:

          The PC term in academia is DWEMs. Dead White European Males. And therefore what they say in their music you needn’t mind.

          • T-ARAFANBOY says:

            Nevertheless, these DWEMs are more alive than most people today, and their music still has a lot to say, as does all great art…but I don’t expect academia to be very sensitive to such things..

      • Kathleen McCarthy says:

        Lighten up. I’m referring only to the typical teen perception, not mine. Maybe I should have used quote marks.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    If music be the food of Lovin’ It, play on…

  • Richard Carlisle says:

    Can classical music be degraded at the same time it’s displaying power over rowdiness …for me it adds up to a summary positive.

  • MacroV says:

    I don’t see anything wrong here. If classical music leads to calm behavior, why not? And someone might actually like it. Though I suspect it’s more Vivaldi and Mozart (Eine Kliene Nachtmusic, not Don Giovanni) rather than Bartok and Stravinsky.

  • Dr Presume says:

    In an odd bit of irony, I’m planning to open a classical music venue soon, and if anyone doesn’t leave at the end of a concert, I’m going to serve them McDonalds food.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Nothing new: this started at 7-11s in some “savage” nabes in the States about 15 years ago, to keep the kids from hangin’ in the parkign lots.

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      The underground car park where I leave my bike now plays classical music, too. It’s wonderful.

  • Tobias says:

    What the…? What food can possible be better than McDonalds at three thirty in the morning, when you’re drunk and need a quick bite before you collapse in bed? And a bit of Bach to go with it… fab! Next time in Glasgow, for sure.

    (My local tube station in London, Kilburn Park, has played classical music for years – not that I can see anything “degrading” about that.)

  • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

    I think this is a great idea.

    Rarely has music been so downgraded?


    How about using one composer’s music as the soundtrack for a holocaust, then?

  • Ks. Cristopher Robson says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Whenever I visit London I am always pleasantly surprised by the snippets of Bach and Beethoven wafting through the doors of London Underground stations. I know the McDonalds in Argyll St., and if ever I am in Glasgow I will be more than happy to have a late night Big Mac or a McCapuccino and enjoy hearing music by Bach and others wafting down from the ceiling speakers. 🙂

  • Eric says:

    This, as opposed to a lower Manhattan location of McDonald’s which has welcomed a pianist each weekend. An old story, but he still plays:

  • Julie says:

    I think that all public spaces including car parks, restaurants, lifts, shops etc should be completely free from any kind of music. Life would then be a whole lot less stressful.

    • Mikey says:

      We could start by de-funding music education… because we all know that teaching children about music makes them want more. Then we can work our way up to pushing arts organizations to bankruptcy, that way older people who knew a BIT about music won’t have their memories refreshed… this way, we can finally get rid of all that annoying music and stuff which gets in the way of silence and the clickety-click of fingers typing on cellphone keyboards.

  • Bruys says:

    There’s nothing snobbish about decrying the debasement of music into noise pollution. Incidentally, being force-fed distorted classics has the opposite effect of calming on me. I was also offended recently to hear the Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man being used as supermarket brain-deadening material. Beethoven’s Ninth to sell, what was it, a car? What happened to Muzak? At least it had its own integrity in being used for the purpose it was designed for.