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Radiohead
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Radiohead

Radiohead is a British rock band formed at Oxford in the late 1980s, originally under the name On A Friday, a name referring to the only time where all band members were able to practice. Their current moniker "Radiohead" was taken from a Talking Heads song. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards), Ed O'Brien (guitars, vocals), Jonny Greenwood (guitars and electronics), his brother Colin Greenwood (bass guitar), and Phil Selway (drums). Yorke and J. Greenwood are regarded as being the two staple artists behind the band, while the other members play supporting roles. Producer Nigel Godrich has worked with the band since the recording of The Bends, and has contributed significantly to their sound, often being dubbed the sixth member of the band. Another major contributor to the feel of the band has been Stanley Donwood, who has produced the artwork for the bands albums since The Bends in collaboration with "Dr. Tchock" – which is generally considered to be a pseudonym of Yorke, whom he met at Oxford – and the White Chocolate Farm.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Discography
3 Radiohead by others
4 Radiohead Messageboard
5 External Links

History

The group first came to international notice with the single "Creep", which received extensive airplay and charted in many countries, striking a highly popular note of self loathing. They later came to hate the song and until recently refused to play it, feeling that its meaning was misinterpreted and given too much weight by their fan base. Their first album, Pablo Honey (1993), is almost mundane, with less of the force and experimentation of their later recordings, drawing heavily on 1960s influences as well as recent grunge music such as Pixies. The follow-up, The Bends (1995) saw them finding their feet, with a much more "rocking" feel and greater maturity, both lyrically and musically. Widely praised, it is often considered one of the better albums of the mid-1990s. Notably, the EP My Iron Lung (1994) was released between the two albums, and saw the band in a transitional stage between the poppy simplicity of Pablo Honey and the heaviness and depth of The Bends.

After a year of solid touring, then recording in the Oxford countryside, Radiohead released the album OK Computer (1997), which received even greater acclaim than The Bends, featuring prominently in many "best album" polls, then and now. OK Computer found Radiohead taking musical risks uncommon in the Britpop world, experimenting with ambience and noise to create a set of songs that many consider to be a true monument in late-twentieth century culture.

Seemingly disconcerted by the attendant fame and on the verge of burnout following a huge world tour to support OK Computer, the band spent the latter part of 1998 in relative quiet, performing only occasionally. In 1999 they returned to the studio to record Kid A, a compulsively experimental album that complemented the lyrical and musical hooks of their earlier work with a more minimalist style, and arrangements that have been likened to a meeting of Pink Floyd and Aphex Twin. The album was released in October 2000. The band cited Alice Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Paul Lansky as influences, as well as the entire back catalogue of Warp Records. The following album, Amnesiac, which was released early in the following year, was comprised of further tracks from the recording sessions that produced Kid A, though it is by no means an 'out-takes' album; the two are similar in style and are linked by two different versions of the same song: "Morning Bell." To explain these two records, the band describes Kid A as seeing a fire from a great distance, whereas Amnesiac is akin to being inside the fire.

In 2003, the band released their sixth album, Hail to the Thief, which was less rooted in experimentation than its two immediate predecessors but still a long way from the guitar-driven rock of their more traditional classic rock material. Its title raised controversy, being interpreted as a reference to the 2000 U.S. Presidential election. Radiohead deny this claim. In the June 2003 issue of Spin Magazine, Thom Yorke was quoted as saying "If the motivation for naming our album had been based solely on the U.S. election, I'd find that to be pretty shallow." He also claimed to have heard the phrase on a radio program describing the United States' 1888 presidential election. The recording process for Hail to the Thief was remarkably different from those for the previous three studio albums. Rather than holing themselves up in a studio for months on end, they elected instead to take their new material on the road in Portugal and Spain during July and August of 2002 prior to recording it. With the songs fleshed out and debugged during the tour, the final recording process took only two and a half weeks spent in a Los Angeles studio.

While Radiohead is not normally referred to as a Britpop band, their influence on contemporary Britpop, especially bands such as Coldplay and Travis, is noticeable. Lately their electronic influence has placed them in Warp Records territory, though they remain basically an experimental pop group.

In 2003 Radiohead headlined the main (Pyramid) stage on the Saturday of the Glastonbury festival, to crowd acclaim and positive press reviews. They omitted the traditional fan-pleasing "Creep", to no-one's surprise, but the crowd got to hear it when it was covered by Sunday night's headliner, Moby.

During 2004 Jonny Greenwood became involved in the writing of a soundtrack for the avant-garde film Bodysong and became "Composer in Residence" for the BBC, charged with creating modern classical pieces for the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Discography

Albums

EPs

Singles

VHS and DVDs

Books

Radiohead by others

Radiohead's music has inspired musicians from other disciplines, from string quartet to classical and jazz piano.

In September 1998, Canadian jazz pianist Brad Mehldau included his version of Radiohead's "Exit Music (For a Film)" on his album The Art Of The Trio, Vol. 3. In August 2002 he released the album Largo which featured Radiohead's "Paranoid Android". Both of these tracks are taken from OK Computer. The Anything Goes album, released February 2004, includes a re-working of the track "Everything in its Right Place" from Radiohead's Kid A. All three albums were released under the Warner Brothers label.

OK Computer has proved popular with other artists. In 2001, independent record label Vitamin Records released a string quartet tribute to Radiohead, Strung Out On OK Computer performed by The Section. This is a track for track replica of OK Computer on violin, viola and cello.

In 2003 pianist Christopher O'Riley recorded True Love Waits, a collection of Radiohead tracks from various albums re-imagined for solo piano. It was published by Sony Music.

Radiohead Messageboard

The Radiohead Messageboard (also called RHMB) is an online messageboard on Radiohead's official website, which has gathered a cult following. Even members of the band occasionally post there.

External Links