Radiohead

  • British alternative rock band formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Ed O’Brien (guitar, vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass guitar, brother of Jonny), and Phil Selway (drums, vocals).
  • The band members met in high school, forming a band named On a Friday, since that was the day the band usually rehearsed in the school’s music room.
  • As the boys grew, they continued to play as On a Friday at local clubs. By 1991, the band signed a 6 record deal with a record company. At the label’s request, the name of the band was changed to Radiohead, taken from the Talking Heads song Radio Head from the True Stories album.
  • Their debut EP, Drill, was not well received. Their first single, Creep, was panned by the British press. Their debut album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993 – it too was not well received in the UK. However, in the U.S., they began to get radio and MTV play, and the band’s popularity gained momentum.
  • Their second album, The Bends, was released in 1995. That year, they toured with REM, which greatly increased their exposure. This album had positive reviews, noting the band’s unique sound, combining the artistry of three guitarists. The album had 4 singles, with Street Spirit reaching #5 in the UK. The album is listed in many lists of great albums of all time – Rolling Stone ranked it at #111.
  • OK Computer was released in 1997. This album put them at a new level of appreciation by music critics and fans alike. The album won a Grammy award for Best Alternative Album, and was nominated for Album of the Year. The singles from the album were Paranoid Android, Karma Police and No Surprises. The band started to gain comparisons to Pink Floyd for innovative art rock.
  • Their next album, Kid A, released in 2000, exhibited a change in their sound – it was more textured, more electronic, and included horns and strings.  It debuted at #1 in the U.S., despite not having any singles released from the album. It too received a Grammy award for Best Alternative Album. Rolling Stone named it the best album of the decade.
  • Radiohead was one of the first music acts to use the internet extensively. They had their own website in 1997. Their seventh album, In Rainbows, was released as a download from their website, and was offered to listeners as a pay-what-you-want release – buyers could pay whatever they wanted to pay for it, including the option to pay nothing. The day of the release, 1.2 million downloads were reportedly sold. They won their third Grammy award for this album. The King of Limbs, released on their website in 2011, sold between 300,000 and 400,000 downloads, and subsequently debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart when it was released in retail.
  • They have released 9 studio albums, 1 live album and 30 singles. They’ve sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Rolling Stone ranked them 73rd in their list of the Greatest Artists of All Time. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.
  • Yorke is the principal songwriter and lyricist, with all band members contributing to the production. They have been influenced by a wide variety of artists – from Queen to U2 to Miles Davis to the Beach Boys. This is a rare band that has been innovative and experimental, and yet has managed to be commercially successful – the comparison to Pink Floyd is a good one. The video for Creep has over 212 million views on YouTube – another sure sign of a superstar band. Here’s Creep for you to enjoy. YouTube also has full 2 hour concerts to watch if you want to. It will be nothing like anything you’ve seen before.

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