Radiohead, the world renowned English rock band, formed in the year 1985 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, consists of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway. Here are some interesting facts about the band:
The band's third album "OK Computer," released in 1997, is often acclaimed as a landmark record of the 1990s, for its complex production and themes of modern alienation.
In the year 2005, Radiohead was ranked at #73 in the Rolling Stone's list of "The Greatest Artists of All Time." Guitarists Jonny and Ed were listed at #48 and #59 in the magazine's list of "Greatest Guitarists," while Thom was listed at #66 in their list of "Greatest Singers."
The "kicking, screaming, Gucci little piggy" line in the song "Paranoid Android," is a reference to an actual encounter Thom had, with a woman who threw a fit when someone spilled a drink on her in a bar.
Their popular songs - "I Will" from "Hail to the Thief" and "Like Spinning Plates" from "Amnesiac," are actually the same song. The song "Like Spinning Plates" came out of a moment, when Thom heard the vocals of "I Will" played backward. He liked it so much that he learned how to sing backward and recorded "I Will" as "Like Spinning Plates."
Thom had actually written the lyrics of "Creep," in the late 1980s, when he was studying at Exeter University. It is said to be the song inspired when Thom was rejected by a girl he had a crush on.
Phil, in the early 1990s, quit the band and moved to Ireland. But was back to Oxford when his relationship ended. It was after his relationship ending that he rejoined the band.
The lyrics to the chorus of "How to Disappear Completely" were given to Thom, as a mantra by his friend Michael Stipe of R.E.M., as a way of dealing with anxiety on tour.
In "The Bends” title track, the noise heard at the beginning of the single, is actually a group of kids parading outside the hotel in which the band were staying. Hearing it, Thom reportedly ran out and taped it.
Abingdon School's then-headmaster was not a fan of the boys and was against the idea of the band formation or even the band practicing in the school. It was reported that at one point of time, the headmaster actually sent a bill to the band, for using the school's rehearsal room on a Sunday.
In the late 1994, Thom recorded the vocals of "Fake Plastic Trees," just after seeing Jeff Buckley play the Garage in London. Thom reportedly broke into tears after doing just two takes at the studio.
Thom reportedly wrote "Creep" and "Motion Picture Soundtrack," on the same day, in the 1980s. "Motion Picture Soundtrack" had been in existence as an acoustic bootleg for many years, before finally making it as the pedal organ-led closing track on "Kid A."
In the mid 1990’s Jonny started wearing a wrist brace to support a poorly strumming hand. Later, he decided that it looked rather dapper and kept it on as a kind of trademark look, even after his wrist was better.
Their most popular breakthrough tune "Creep," was initially dismissed as a possible single, with producers mistaking it to be a Scott Walker Cover. The said confusion actually happened when the band demoed the song with Thom describing it as "our Scott Walker song."
The band's first gig after Jonny's first rehearsal was at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford, in the year 1987. The band reportedly modelled themselves on early heroes "Talking Heads," added a brass section along with two saxophone-playing sisters to complete the line-up.
In the single "Paranoid Android," from their third studio album "OK Computer," the rattling percussion sound is actually a cabassa, an instrument popular in Latin Jazz. The said instrument is used in music therapy, specifically with individuals having neurological disabilities. Ed is the one playing the instrument in the song.
The popular single "Creep," was initially smothing more like a flop, until it was picked up by a DJ at a college radio station near San Francisco. This made it an underground hit in the Bay Area, and later in California. It was when the censored version was released that the song became a mainstream hit in the United States.
While writing the lyrics of the single "Exit Music (For A Film)," from their album "OK Computer," Thom knew it would be used on the "Romeo And Juliet" soundtrack and even attempted to use lines from Shakespeare's play.
The band credits their music teacher - Terence Gilmore-James, as an early mentor, claiming his support to have been very important in formation of the band.
Once in an interview in the year 2000, Thom admitted to have gotten his ego a bit out of control, following the popularity with their debut album "Pablo Honey."
Their first album's title "Pablo Honey," was inspired by one of the skirts of the early 90s prank phonecall kings "The Jerky Boys." In one of their skits, the prank caller says “Pablo, honey? Please come to Florida!” to his victim. Radiohead has even sampled this snippet on the track "How Do You?"
Thom finds his own singing voice irritating and once in an interview stated that “It annoys me how pretty my voice is… how polite it can sound when perhaps what I’m singing is deeply acidic.”
Thom’s father, a nuclear physicist and later a chemical equipment salesman, was also an amateur boxer, who even encouraged his son to take up boxing as a hobby.
In the year 2004, he deliberately smashed his recently acquired NME Award, stating that the bird flicking middle digit in the award to be offensive. That said middle digit was sold for £248 on ebay.
The popular song "My Iron Lung," is actually about their breakthrough song "Creep." It is about how much the band hated playing the song over and over again after the album "Pablo Honey" was released.
Initially, the members together formed the band "On a Friday," in 1985, as a reference to the usual rehearsal day in the school's music room.
The hit single "Fake Plastic Trees," from the second album "The Bends," was actually recorded at the end of an extremely frustrating and emotional day in the studio. Thom had reportedly shouted at everyone, and the producer sent them away.
The band members is famous for playing homage to their offsprings by dedicating various singles to them. Their most popular "Hail To The Thief," is dedicated to Jonny's firstborn son Tamir, while "Amnesiac," is dedicated to Thom's son Noah. Thom's solo effort "The Eraser," is dedicated to his daughter Agnes.
On the cover of "Airbag/How Am I Driving," there was a number 1426148550 listed. The said number was actually Thom's old pager number, which when dialed leaves Thom's voice recorded "Hello." It was reported that the band listened to every message left by the fans and was even kept for possible inclusion in a future recording.
Radiohead's most popular single "Just," from "The Bends" album, is said to be about a narcissistic friend of Thom. Once in an interview Thom revealed that the said song was a result of a competition between Jonny and him to fit as many chords as possible into a song.
In the year 1987, Thom and his girlfriend were involved in a car crash, which brought on his car phobia, which he wrote about in the songs such as “Airbag,” “Killer Cars,” “Stupid Car” and “Drunkk Machine.”