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Artist: Radiohead



Radiohead is an English alternative rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK which formed in 1985. The band is composed of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, beats), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboard, other instruments), Ed O'Brien (guitar, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass guitar) and Phil Selway (drums, percussion). The early years (1992 – 1995) Radiohead released their first single, "Creep" in 1992. The song was initially unsuccessful, but it became a worldwide hit several months after the release of their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993). Radiohead's popularity rose in the United Kingdom with the release of their second album, The Bends (1995). The band's textured guitar parts and Yorke's falsetto singing were warmly received by critics and fans. International success (1996 - 2000) Radiohead's third album, OK Computer (1997), propelled them to greater international fame. Featuring an expansive sound and themes of modern alienation, OK Computer has often been acclaimed as a landmark record of the 1990s. A change in style and leaving EMI (2000 – 2003) Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) marked a change in the band's musical style. Radiohead incorporated experimental electronic music, Krautrock, post-punk and jazz influences into their songs, dividing fans and critics, but they remained popular. Hail to the Thief (2003), a mix of guitar-driven rock, electronics and lyrics inspired by headlines, was the band's final album for their major record label, EMI. Independent releases and touring (2005 - 2013) In 2007, Radiohead independently released their seventh album, In Rainbows, originally as a digital download for which each customer could set their own price, later in stores, to critical and chart success. In 2011, Radiohead released their eighth album, The King of Limbs - again independently - which was described as an exploration of rhythm and quieter textures. In February 2012, Radiohead began The King of Limbs world tour - with concerts in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In early 2013, following the tour, Thom Yorke released a studio album entitled Amok with his band Atoms for Peace. Ninth Studio Album - "A Moon Shaped Pool" (2016) After much speculation, on May 8, 2016, Radiohead released t
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Radiohead: Various Remixes - Pitchfork (Upcoming releases)

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On their website, Radiohead have made available for listening the latest installment of their series of remix singles of tracks from The King of Limbs. Below, stream Brokenchord's take on "Give Up the Ghost", Blawan's mix of "Bloom", and Altrice doing something called "TKOL". It will be for sale on August 29. TKOL RMX 1234567, the double-CD release rounding up all these remixes, is set for an October 10 release in the UK and October 11 release in North America.

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Radiohead: 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' and the Poetry of Perspective Chrome Dreams, Jan 2007

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Excerpt from Welcome to the Machine: OK Computer and the Death of the Classic Album

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Another thing tormented me in those days: the fact that no one else was like me, and I was like no one else. I am alone, I thought, and they are everybody.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

THE IDEA OF the outsider, the individual who is physically part of everyday society, but feels alienated and rejected by its norms and rules, is core to the whole genre of alternative music from which Radiohead came. Part of the appeal of performers such as Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Morrissey of the Smiths and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana is their essential 'otherness'. They don't sound or look the way that pop stars are supposed to be.

Of course, this outsider chic didn't begin in the aftermath of punk. It's an artistic and literary model that goes back several hundred years; it's possible to see Shakespeare's Hamlet as a precursor to self-absorbed indie kids who think too much, and can't properly engage with the mundane unpleasantness of life around them. From the mid-19th century on, writers such as Dostoevsky, Kafka, TS Eliot, Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald created protagonists whose identifying characteristic was that they simply didn't fit. But it was the Second World War and its aftermath that spawned pop-existentialist heroes, such as Meursault (in The Outsider by Albert Camus) and Holden Caulfield (in JD Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye), who would become archetypes for writers, artists, movie-makers, musicians and countless angst-ridden teenagers who, like Hamlet, wore "customary suits of inky black".

Thom Yorke had felt like an outsider from an early age; his size, his lazy eye, the numerous operations he endured, and the resulting bullying, meant that he saw life in a different way – both metaphorically and literally. Confronted with the meat-headed thuggery of his contemporaries, his attitude flip-flopped between abject self-loathing and a feisty assurance that the problem was with the world, not with him. As he said in 1996, "I'm surrounded by a world of grinning idiots and I don't think I want to be another one."

So there must have been some resonance when an English teacher at Abingdon asked him to imagine himself as an alien that had landed in the middle of Oxford. The task was almost certainly inspired by the poem 'A Martian Sends A Postcard Home' (1979), by the poet, critic and academic Craig Raine. In it, the alien sender of the card describes everyday, familiar objects in terms that are bizarre, almost surreal, but all make some sort of sense. Books, for example, are "mechanical birds with many wings" that "cause the eyes to melt or the body to shriek without pain". The poem in turn spawned a short-lived school of 'Martian poetry' that sought to use extreme, often comical metaphors to shake English verse from the grip of cosy familiarity.

The idea of turning the alien imagery into a song didn't occur to Yorke until he was driving through the Oxfordshire countryside one night, and struck a pheasant. Precedent might suggest that this would provoke another anti-car lyric, but for some reason he conceived the idea of writing about hovering extra-terrestrials. In any case, although clearly influenced by the Raine poem (or at least the question it posed), Yorke's finished lyric doesn't occupy the point of view of the spaceman. Instead, the human narrator lives in an anodyne town "where you can't smell a thing", and imagines aliens hovering above, observing homo sapiens and, as he put it in 1998, "pissing themselves laughing at how humans go about their daily business." If there's a direct influence here, it's the puppet spacemen who peopled the Smash commercials on British television in the 1970s, chuckling merrily as foolish housewives chose to peel, boil and mash fresh potatoes rather than enjoy the delicious wallpaper paste on offer in handy plastic packets.

In the second verse, Yorke occupies a different archetype, the human taken up into a flying saucer. This is an extremely common occurrence in modern folklore, and is probably most familiar from Whitley Strieber's (supposedly factual) book Communion (1987), in which the author describes being abducted by non-humans, presumably extra-terrestrials. Yorke's narrator looks forward to viewing "the world as I'd love to see it" from the alien craft but knows that if he ever told his earthbound acquaintances, he'd meet with scorn and disbelief, and finally be locked up; back to the classic existential, indie-kid outsider again.

In many ways, the narrator acts out the desires of the other voices on OK Computer. Many of them appear to be suburban wage-slaves, seething with indignation at their lot, and the madness that surrounds them, but unwilling or unable to make the necessary leap. The voice in 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' is that of the little boy who points out the emperor's nakedness. This time nobody believes him; but he's right, and this gives him a sense of moral leverage over the people who just keep their heads down and wait for the next paycheque.

Of course, Radiohead weren't the first band to use science fiction imagery in popular music. Novelty records such as 'Flying Saucer' by Buchanan and Goodman (1956) and 'Telstar' by the Tornadoes (1962) responded to the contemporary excitement over the space race. By the late 1960s, a whole 'space rock' genre began to coalesce: Hawkwind are the band most associated with the term, although some of Pink Floyd's music from the same period has often been included under this heading. While space rock often used imagery borrowed from science fiction, it's as much to do with the mental spaces that were opened up by the use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs. Some of the shoegazing bands with which Radiohead were associated in their early days shared many musical characteristics with the early space rockers, especially the use of soaring, phased guitar lines; the conceptual angle was picked up by bands as diverse as Funkadelic and ELO, both of whom used flying saucers as part of the stage sets. A number of other performers made their own supposed interplanetary associations a key element of their public identities: jazz bandleader Sun Ra claimed to have been born on Saturn; the cult musician Lucia Pamela claimed to have been the first person to record an album (1969's Into Outer Space With Lucia Pamela) on the moon; and, of course, David Bowie also toyed with a number of astronaut and alien alter egos.

Many of these performers used astral imagery as a means of expressing huge, unwieldy concepts; in 'Subterranean Homesick Alien', on the other hand, the evident banality and insignificance of the situation is key. The narrator hasn't really been abducted by space monsters; he's just bored out of his mind. Despite Radiohead's reputation for glum self-loathing, they were clearly having fun here. As with the previous track ('Paranoid Android'), the spirit of Douglas Adams is at work. Arthur Dent, the hero of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is rescued from the imminent destruction of Earth by hitching a ride on a Vogon spaceship; another key character is Ford Prefect, a correspondent for the eponymous guide, who observes Earthlings while pretending to be, not from a small planet not far from Betelgeuse, but from Guildford (a dull city not far from London). The title, too, indicates that nothing should be taken too seriously. It clearly refers to Bob Dylan's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' (1965), but as with that classic of surrealist rock/pop, the link between title and lyric might be a little tenuous. And the aliens aren't subterranean, of course. They stay in their spaceship, which is presumably above the ground, rather than under it. In any case, the original title for the Radiohead song was 'Uptight', a word that reflects the seething inner life of the narrator, but not the warm, almost drowsy feel of the music.

It's as if, while creating the lyrics, Yorke has taken an initial idea, then played with it over and over again until most traces of the original concept (the Martian's view of Oxford) have become vague smudges. The music followed a similar path. Originally performed by Yorke and Jonny Greenwood alone, on acoustic guitars, the arrangement on OK Computer came about when the singer forced himself to listen to Bitches Brew (1970) the seminal jazz-rock album by trumpet Miles Davis; this was despite his notorious initial belief that the record was nothing but "nauseating chaos". Apart from the prominent electric piano, there seems to be little obvious musical link between the two works, with 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' still clinging to the indicators that tie it to classic rock. The chiming 12-string guitars have something of the Byrds about them; the piano run beginning at 1:52 sounds a little like 'Riders on the Storm' by the Doors. It's more the feel and structure of the piece that echoes Davis, with smooth, bubbling runs disturbed by brief flashes of violence (in the case of 'Subterranean', by the urgent 'uptight!' choruses). Jonny Greenwood later suggested that by attempting to emulate a particular sound, and failing, something else interesting might happen:

"Sometimes a guitar plugged into an amplifier isn't enough. So you hear sounds in your head or you hear sounds on a record and you say, 'I want it to sound like this,' and sometimes it won't, for whatever the reason. I can't play the trumpet so it's not going to sound like Bitches Brew... But at least you can try and emulate the atmosphere. You aim for these things and end up with your own garbled version."

This, then, seems to be the Radiohead formula: take a half-remembered creative writing assignment inspired by a surreal, science-fiction poem; and a 27-year-old piece of jazz rock, created by a man in insane sunglasses; and attempt to copy them both; and fail. And yet, at the same time, it works.

This really was turning out to be a mighty peculiar record.

Radiohead’s Back Pages unpublished, Jan 1997

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DESPITE THE best efforts of such explosive talents as Suede, Polly Jean Harvey and the Manic Street Preachers, 1992 was not a great year for pop. The mainstream was clogged with such transient flotsam as Right Said Fred, Snap and Boys II Men, and the independent Zeitgeist awash with identikit grunge, chirping fraggloids in big shorts and brooding wallflowers gazing resolutely floorwards.

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Yet passionate salvation was waiting (somewhat impatiently) in the wings; five young men stood elegantly poised to unleash an awesome emotional hand grenade. This singular quintet were known as Radiohead, and their potent magnum opus, 'Creep'.

The five members of Radiohead initially hook up at a private boys school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Leading light Thom Yorke is born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire on October 7, 1968, and in order to correct an eye closed and paralysed form birth, Thom undergoes no less than five serious, muscle-grafting operations prior to his seventh birthday. When he is eight the slight, sensitive boy is presented with a Spanish guitar by his mother.

Realising that his voice is not suited to the raucous chainsaw ramalam served up by the school punk band, TNT, with whom he briefly dallies, Thom is drawn toward four like-minded soul-mates who share his passion for Joy Division and The Smiths; Ed O'Brien (guitar), Phil Selway (drums) and brothers Colin and Jonny Greenwood (bass and guitar/keyboards respectively). The band call themselves On A Friday (being the day that they generally rehearse), and, filling out their live sound with a pair of saxophone-playing sisters, play their first gig at Oxford's Jericho Tavern. The band is then temporarily put on hold as the members pursue their academic careers (Jonny completes his schooling as Thom, Colin and Phil head for further education).

The five finally regroup in the summer of 1991 and after a series of well-received (and wholly saxophoneless) gigs, ink a recording deal with Parlophone, and rechristen themselves Radiohead.

After a hesitant start (a dearth of airplay and blanket critical indifference which translates into meagre and disappointing sales), America warms to the band, and 'Creep' - re-released in '93 to capitalise on its enormous Stateside success - finally conquers the UK charts.

Three albums and four years down the line and Radiohead have emerged as one of the finest and most engaging bands on the planet, and what follows is their full, unexpurgated story.

Melody Maker, February 22, 1992: In the wake of an A & R feeding frenzy which culminates in On A Friday inking a recording deal with Parlophone, John Harris ventures to The Venue in Oxford to catch one of only a handful of gigs that the band play under this unfortunate appellation; 'On A Friday swing between uneasy calm and crazed desperation, hinting at extremes that belie the just-got-paid/let's-get-pissed overtones of their moniker... They've opted for the rock-as-catharsis principle, exorcising demons at a rate of knots and steering well clear of anything approaching frivolity... "Promising" seems something of an understatement.'

Melody Maker, May 9, 1992: Having realised that On A Friday is "the worst name in the fucking world", Thom and the boys swiftly rechristen themselves Radiohead (after a line from the title track of Talking Heads' True Stories album). John Harris hotfoots it to Oxford's Jericho Tavern where he meets the band as they prepare to hit the road with the Catherine Wheel, to support the release of their debut Drill EP.

"Throwaway pop wouldn't suit us," reveals guitarist Ed O'Brien "because it's very difficult to play live night after night. When we're onstage, it's almost like an exorcism - we really throw ourselves into what we play. How can you do that with a three-minute pop song?"

Thom concurs; "We just try to hold off all our energy, so that for 40 minutes we're burning through the songs. Being onstage is the most important thing we do; everything else just consists of waiting for that. It might sound old-fashioned, but we do try to give it everything."

Drill (recorded at Chipping Norton with Boston-based production maestros Sean Slade and Paul Q Kolderie at the controls) receives no airplay whatsoever and, unsurprisingly, tragically stalls at 101 in the charts. It is, however, indicative of the shape of things to come. Particularly lead track 'Prove Yourself', a dynamic, heart-stopping examination of the suicidal impulse.

Melody Maker, September 19, 1992: Radiohead continue to tour, supporting the likes of Kingmaker, Spiritualized and The Cardiacs, but MM's Dave Jennings catches them at a stand-alone, homecoming show at The Venue, Oxford and reports: 'The place is packed, the band are confident and charismatic - and it's all justified by one song alone. It's their forthcoming single. It's called 'Creep', and it's a magnificent piece of writing - a story of violently conflicting emotions, pride and ambition fighting hard against guilt and self-loathing. Musically, the song alternates between a tense whisper and a cathartic scream; so, come to that, does Radiohead's entire repertoire.'

Melody Maker, October 10, 1992: Prior to opening for The Frank And Walters at The Brighton Centre, Thom discusses the mighty 'Creep' with Dave Jennings: "In our book, 'Creep' is not a term of abuse. It means people who hate themselves, but get something creative out of it... A lot of our songs - the good ones, anyway - come from crisis points in my life. Songwriting, for me, is therapy. Most creativity comes out of some kind of crisis, and the coolest rock 'n' roll bands are people who can deal with that and admit to their problems. But this is a business where you can't be seen to be having problems all the time - so from that point of view, I suppose it is a strange thing to say. It's like announcing to the world, 'Hello! We hate ourselves! Please buy our record!'"

Following a mixed reception from the press and a distinct lack of airplay (due to the singularly depressing nature of its lead track), the 'Creep' EP peaks - somewhat modestly - at number 72 in the charts.

But the cumulative effect of Radiohead's tireless live regime is gradually paying off, and by the end of '92 'Creep' amasses respectable sales figures in excess of 12,000 copies. NME's editorial staff, meanwhile, vote it 4th best single of the year.

Melody Maker, January 23, 1993: With critical plaudits lining up to hail Radiohead as the band to watch in '93, Peter Paphides is ecstatic in the face of the band's compelling live onslaught on London's ULU; 'After a couple of encores it takes a titanic rendition of 'Prove Yourself' -elevated to the gods by an acrobatic vocal performance from Thom, straining to be heard over his own guitar - to convince us that Radiohead can't possibly improve any more. He appears to be a man at war with himself, which is probably scant consolation for him, but a mesmeric spectacle for us. I haven't overdosed on hyperbolic steroids. Radiohead, in January 1993, are just "so fucking special", and they're coming to your town. Watch them paint it blood red.'

NME, February 13, 1993: Thom discusses the band's latest single 'Anyone Can Play Guitar' (and Melody Maker 'Single Of The Week') with Stuart Bailie; "The song is an attack on people who think that growing their hair long and wearing tight leather trousers constitutes being a rock star - and God, it doesn't. It's such an easy way to market yourself."

'Which is why Jim Morrison is given a tough time in the new single and video?

"Jim Morrison was a bimbo. He was great looking and stuff and took loads of drugs and girls loved him, but his poetry just fucking sucked. The day they brought out a book of his poetry, it was all over. It's not art, it's pop music."'

Without a single play on daytime radio the uncharacteristically upbeat and melodic 'Anyone Can Play Guitar' still succeeds in reaching number 32 in the national chart.

Melody Maker/NME, February 20, 1993: The band's debut album Pablo Honey (named in respect of a character created by phone-hoaxing, tour-bus favourites the Jerky Boys) is hurled to the inky critics who remain far from convinced.

'They say we're repressed, us Brits, don't they?' asks MM's Simon Price, 'We bottle up all our passions behind a reserved exterior, until one day we get arrested for marching stark naked down the high street. You want another cliché? Boys Don't Cry. In this respect, Radiohead's promisingly imperfect Pablo Honey is as British and Boyish as they come.'

Meanwhile, NME's John Harris opines; 'Spoiled by the odd first-strike masterpiece, it's hard not to expect a debut album by one of our great hopes to be a finely-crafted statement of intent that encapsulates their nascent genius and establishes its makers as stars in waiting. Some manage it. Some fail miserably. And some make flawed-but-satisfying things that suggest their talents will really blossom later on. Such is Pablo Honey.'

The kids themselves are far less inclined to nebulous pontification, and simply vote with their wallets. And as a result Pablo Honey sails into the album charts at an extremely respectable number 20.

Later in the month NME's Paul Moody repairs to the Brighton Richmond and says of the band's performance; 'We couldn't have waited much longer really, could we? What with Suede so colossal, and the likes of The Auteurs and Kinky Machine still rubbing their eyes and blinking in the spotlight, SOMEBODY had to come along and remind us what greatness looks like. So thank God it's Radiohead. In the depths of the Richmond they manage to take pop music - forget 'indie', please - and coat it in a glitter dust not seen since Suede at Central London Poly and T.Rex, oh, anywhere.'

Elsewhere, however, a critical backlash is beginning to rear its ugly head. Negative comparisons to U2 are becoming increasingly rife, and the reception accorded May's 'Pop Is Dead' single is positively lukewarm. It's a relative commercial failure, stiffing at number 42. Yet, the band refuse to be downhearted and head defiantly for Europe, and ultimately, the United States.

NME/Melody Maker, September 11, 1993: As Radiohead return in triumph from the USA, Paul Moody heads for the band's native Oxford to examine their staggering progress: 'Life for Radiohead is changing. In America, 'Creep' is glued to the MTV schedules and has breached the top 50; Pablo Honey has sold half a million copies and is out-running Suede's sales by 15 to one, and even Arnie (not known for his indie upbringing) has made noises to the effect that he wants 'Creep' to be featured somewhere in is next film. This is ground-breaking stuff.'

Thom E Yorke seems to take the band's new found stateside success in his stride, even finding time to complain; "I can't really take any of it seriously. America is such a weird place. The people are really generous and nice and kind. It's also got an energy that most European countries lack. It's a dumb animal basically.

"I dreaded coming back to be honest. I didn't feel so much under pressure from the press out there. I have a totally antagonistic attitude toward the press, especially the British press, because they've treated me like shit, and I really can't handle it. I decided on the plane back over that I wasn't going to talk to the British press, and I'm only doing this as an exception."

MM's Chris Roberts, meanwhile, catches the band at The Highbury Garage and calls them; 'The most impressive pop group in the whole wired world. Tune in, turn on, no doubt.'
Taking their initiative from the single's success in the USA, Canada and all points west, Parlophone re-release 'Creep' which finally receives its just deserts by charting handsomely at number 7.

Melody Maker, October 23, 1993: 'British Creeps Storm America' cries the cover, and inside Paul Lester takes to the freeways with the Radiohead touring party. Despite unprecedented adulation from the local teenies, Thom remains a wracked and tortured soul, as here he discusses the inner meaning of 'Creep'; "It's about (pause)... It's about sympathy (longer pause)... This is all very hard (very long pause)... As soon as I say this everyone will take the piss. It's just, I think part of me is always looking for someone to turn around, buy me a drink, give me a hug and say it's all right. Because I just go off on one. For days I'm unbearable, I can't talk to people. And it shocks me because I'm still doing it. I want to be alone and I want people to notice me both at the same time. I can't help it."

Touring continues - with Tears For Fears in Canada and James in Europe and the UK - and by the end of the year, Radiohead are in a seemingly unassailable position. 'Creep' storms every end-of-year poll in the offing, taking number one slots from the writers of Rolling Stone and both the NME and Melody Maker readers. Incredibly, it also ranks at number 39 in Radio One's Top One Hundred Songs Of All Time.

Melody Maker, June 11, 1994: As Radiohead prepare to take to the stage of the Manchester Academy to play their first UK date since November '93, Holly Barringer comes face-to-face with Thom Yorke. Pablo Honey has sold a million, the lucrative Asian market is finally his for the taking, yet Thom remains the most miserable, self-pitying wretch in the cosmos; "I'm fucking ill," he chirps "And physically I'm completely fucked, and mentally I've had enough."

NME, October 1, 1994: Thom tells Stuart Bailie how, shortly before Radiohead's fearsome live performance at August's Reading Festival, he had harboured thoughts of leaving the band: "I thought I could go it alone. I thought I didn't need anybody, but I fucking do. It's so easy to think like that. It's such an easy frame of mind to lock yourself into and never get out of. As soon as you get any degree of success, you disappear up your own arse and you lose it forever. That's probably number one in the 'thousand ways to lose it' list."

The radio-unfriendly firestorm of the 'My Iron Lung' single is unleashed on the kids, yet is afforded a surprisingly cool reception, barely denting the top thirty. But the following February the melodic poptones of 'High And Dry' further consolidates the band's position by sailing majestically into the top twenty.

Vox, March 1995: Craig McLean is stunned by the sheer brilliance of Radiohead's long-awaited second album, The Bends and reports; 'Despite - or, more likely, because of - the fraught circumstances of its genesis. 'The Bends' is a remarkable achievement. Taut, fierce, scared and scary, it is the sound of humdrum rock lashed into brilliance by one man's howling turmoil and one band's grasp of light and shade.'

The Bends, produced by John Leckie (Magazine, The Stone Roses) is a quite astonishing album that artistically overshadows the mega-selling Pablo Honey. It's a far more complete album, which covers every conceivable mood. The glam exuberance of 'Bones', soaring ubergrunge of 'Just (Do It To Yourself)', anthemic majesty of 'Fake Plastic Trees' and fragile beauty of 'Nice Dream', are simply stunning. It will eventually attain platinum status.

Melody Maker, March 11, 1995: The Stud Brothers corner Thom Yorke and grill him gently on the subject of beauty, the fraught subject matter of the band's forthcoming 'Fake Plastic Trees' single; "I resent beauty," he admits "And when I say beauty I'm not referring to men. Women, that's what I mean. That narrows the boundaries a little. Confronted by a beautiful woman, I will leave as soon as possible, or hide in a corner until they leave. It's not just that I find them intimidating. It's the hideous way people flock around them. The way people act in front of them. The way they're allowed to believe they're being so fucking clever. Beauty is all about unearnt privilege and power. I am entirely cynical about it. I've never met a single beautiful woman I've actually liked."

NME, May 27, 1995: Ted Kessler joins Radiohead in Madrid. Colin Greenwood, momentarily distracted by the sight of two members of FC Barcelona, muses: "In a way we are sportsmen in Radiohead too. Being in Radiohead is a bit like a rock version of It's A Knockout and that was sport, wasn't it? Yes, see, there are all these different challenges. You have to avoid the holes and go through the hoops, only there's no Eddie Waring or Stuart What'shisface going 'ooooh they fucked up another interview and they lose 5,000 sales of The Bends for that!' In fact, maybe it's more like Challenge Anneka with the challenge being not to turn into a complete twat. Dunno."

Thom later reveals; "It's taken me two years to accept I do this for a living, to realise that I Don't have to sell myself in the way margarine is sold forever. I'm not a relaxed person but I'm more relaxed now I don't have to prove something. I'm calmer because The Bends justifies our position. Everything isn't a fucking battle now. It's just a question of whether I can enjoy it now."

Radiohead tour throughout the summer (Japan, USA) and join REM at the Milton Keynes Bowl on July 30th, 'Just' is released as a single and drummer Phil Selway is honoured by his very own 'Phil Is Great' Fan Club which is launched in Tokyo.

On October 4th, the first date of the band's American tour, Thom and Jonny are reduced to playing an acoustic set after all their equipment is stolen in Denver. Later in the month The Help EP is released in aid of the children of war-torn Bosnia. It features Radiohead's 'Lucky' and is chosen as both NME and Melody Maker's 'Single Of The Week'.

The fifth single from The Bends – ‘Street Spirit’ - is released in January '96 and becomes the band's biggest hit to date, reaching number 5.

Melody Maker, May 24/31, 1997: Mark Sutherland stalks the 'Head to their Oxford lair in search of a long-overdue chin-wag. Thom remains initially elusive but the band are more than keen to deride the cult of Britpop. Colin Greenwood; "What I really hated about Britpop was all that tiresome irony. As if bands shouldn't be serious things"

"We don't do irony," confirms Ed O'Brien "The only times we tried were when we were in America, where it just goes over everyone's heads, and on 'Pop Is Dead', which was rubbish. Surprisingly, those Saturday morning TV show offers didn't come pouring in."
The following week Thom joins the fray to offer a track-by-track insight into the band's long-awaited third album OK Computer. Of the line "Crushed like a bug in the ground" (from 'Let Down') Thom offers; "I am fascinated by how insects are squashed, especially wasps - the cracking sound and the yellow gak, just like people."

Melody Maker/NME, June 14, 1997: OK Computer finally appears to blanket critical approval. 'It's crimson music,' muses Taylor Parkes in the Maker, 'as grotesque and claustrophobic as those videos of internal organs filmed by a camera in a pipe shoved up inside the body. Purely as rock, in terms of composition and performance, it's very impressive. That's not the point. It doesn't sound like a rock record. It sounds like a facsimile of unwanted feelings on wet weekday afternoons, or in the middle of the night. I can't think of any time I'd ever want to listen to it. I can imagine a time when I might feel as though I needed to listen to it.'

NME's James Oldham, meanwhile, finds; 'In the space of under an hour, Thom Yorke has reached the same conclusion a dozen times about the need (and ultimate impossibility) of an escape from this life and this planet. The end result, though, is not one of despair but of acceptance. Love, work, sleep and politics have all failed - and all you can do is accept it. Such stoicism renders OK Computer a spectacular success: a true articulation of the anxiety of late-20th century man backed with music not only of extraordinary grace and melody, but also of experimental clarity and vision. Truly, this is one of the greatest albums of living memory - and the one that distances Radiohead from their peers by an interstellar mile. (10)'

Melody Maker, July 5, 1997: David Stubbs braves monsoon conditions and trenchfoot, as Radiohead wow Glastonbury: 'After the lumpen Britpop that's preceded them, the scalding, scathing, cascading sound of The Bends and 'Paranoid Android' is like a hot shower of redemption after a hard day's wading, literally and metaphorically, through the mud. Thom Yorke may look like a broody chicken and his problems may all stem from a dysfunctional attitude towards women but from such ignominious and unlikely sources spring the lava of rock genius.'


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