When you listen to Radiohead playing a concert, there will be no doubt in your mind that the members of this band were born to be together and make beautiful music all the time. Hardly do we ever think how far they have come in order to produce such great music because they have really come so far.
This band formed in 1985 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, when the original members, who are still the current members, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Phil Selway were still in school. All five members attended the Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, an all-boys independent school. Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway were in the same year; Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood were one year behind, while Jonny Greenwood, who is Colin’s brother, was three years behind Ed and Phil.
The amazing band we know today as Radiohead first went by the name On a Friday, a name that they came up with because Friday was their day of practice when they were still in school. The band later changed to its current name, naming themselves after the band Talking Heads’ 1986 True Stories album track 6, “Radio Head”.
With over 30 million album sales worldwide, Radiohead is one of the best rock bands we have today. Listeners as well as critics love this band, with their music featuring highly in most rankings, with the Rolling Stone’s list of The Greatest Artists of All Time ranking them 73rd in 2005. Furthermore, Jonny and O’Brien are considered some of the greatest guitarists in the world while Yorke is considered one of the greatest singers.
15. Teacher: Terence Gilmore-James
Teachers are and have always been a great pillar of our society, because they help us to become the best that we can be, as long as we desire the same for ourselves. Most teachers use their time, energy, and resources to invest in their students’ lives, hoping that their students will make something out of themselves someday and succeed in life. This band has a lot of love and respect for their music teacher Terence Gilmore-James, who apart from teaching them the basics about music, became their mentor and inspiration to reach the heights they have gotten to today.
Support from Terence Gilmore-James was so important because the headmaster of the school at the time did not support the band or the idea that the band was practicing in school in any way. At one time, the headmaster actually sent a bill to the band, requesting them to pay for the use of the school for their rehearsals.
14. Level Of Education
Most people often have the misconception that rock stars are the kind of people who quit school or get kicked out of school for whatever reason. Although quite a number of rock stars did not have a passion for concentrating in class or completing school, these five are a special lot. Each of these musicians is well educated, and this is more than the regular public education that most people go through.
Believe it or not, but Thom Yorke has an English and Fine Arts degree from the University Of Exeter, Colin Greenwood has a degree in English from Cambridge University, and Ed O’Brien has an economics degree from Manchester University. Phil Selway has a BA on English and History from Liverpool University, Jonny Greenwood did not finish his Music degree from Oxford Brookes, but he is a classically trained musician and a multi-instrumentalist who plays almost any instrument. This goes to show that a passion for music should not cost anyone his or her education.
13. Their Second Album
Radiohead’s second album The Bends is one of the greatest albums of all time, a fact that both fans and critics agree on. Released on March 13, 1995, this album signified a shift in Radiohead’s aesthetics and themes, where they started to use the keyboard more as well as abrasive guitar tracks together with subtle ones. However, what most people do not know is that the name of this album was an indication of what the band members were feeling and going through at that point in their careers.
Medically, the bends, or in other words decompression sickness, is a condition where deep-sea divers develop sore joints, paralysis, or even die resulting from a very quick rise to the surface. In the same way, Radiohead had risen to the top so fast, owing to their successful first album that contained hit songs such as “Creep”, which brought these rock stars instant fame that they were not ready for.
12. Why Thom Yorke Sings So Much About Cars
It is hard to come across someone who has a phobia for driving unless he or she does not know how to drive. Thom Yorke is one of those few people in the world who knows how to drive, but would rather not, a phobia that a small percentage of the population has to live with. Such phobias are usually the result of traumatic experiences such as car crashes, where the affected can be affected for a period or even for a lifetime.
In 1987, Thom Yorke, together with his then girlfriend got involved in a car accident, the incident that brought about this phobia. Although Thom and his girlfriend walked out of the accident without any serious injuries, Thom still has a phobia for driving. This phobia is probably one of the reasons why Yorke wrote songs such as Killer Cars, Stupid Car, Airbag, and Drunkk Machine, which the band recorded and performs for its fans.
11. Thom Yorke Hates The Sound Of His Own Voice
Have you ever hated anything about yourself? If you hate something about yourself, chances are that you try to hide it from everyone else and try changing that particular thing to the best of your abilities. The situation might be more complicated if you were, a singer and you hated your voice, a predicament that would either ruin your singing career or make you uncomfortable every time you have to go up on stage or even record.
Thom, when interviewed confessed to finding his voice annoying because it sounds too polite for the kind of music he sings. If you listen to songs such as A Wolf At The Door and Myxomatosis, you will discover Thom doing a form of semi-speaking as opposed to singing his heart out, the result of his dissatisfaction with his voice. The only good thing about this is that hardly any of Radiohead’s fans agree with him because they all seem to enjoy every band member’s performance.
10. Unique Noise In The Background
Rock music has had its fair share of attacks from the religious community, with most people terming it to be the devil’s music. Therefore, since so many rock bands out there claim loyalty to Lucifer or the devil himself, any weird noise in the background is associated with the devil or devil worship. If you listen to the title track of The Bends, the intro is a particularly noisy 13 seconds that one might not be able to explain.
Apparently, that sound came from a group of eight-year-old kids outside the hotel they were staying at in the United States, parading with different musical instruments. The kids’ trainer was encouraging them to keep up the racket, through a microphone attached to his sweater. At this time, Thom Yorke had an obsession of recording everything he heard, so he ran downstairs, recorded the noise, and that is how it ended up on their album.
9. Failed Sabotage
Have you ever hated something you were doing, whether at home, school or work, so much, but you still had to do it anyway? The feeling is usually worse compared to how children feel when their parents force them to eat their vegetables or stand at the corner and think about their actions after doing something wrong. Since adults might not sulk or break out into a tantrum, chances of attempting to sabotage the whole operation are high.
Jonny Greenwood found himself in this situation, where he hated the song Creep so much that he was willing to make it sound terrible from his end. In an attempt to sabotage the song, he crunched the strings together, turned the distortion pedals to the max, and struck the strings with all his might. The resulting sound was an iconic crunch that was not only a work of genius, but Jonny Greenwood’s signature sound for the song.
8. An Unexpected Fan Favorite
If you had the opportunity to trade in your job for becoming a rock star, would you do it? Most people would not even think twice about making the switch because most people hate their dead-end jobs, which offer little to no excitement, compared to what being a rock star is all about. The song High and Dry was Radiohead’s “dead-end” song, which the members of the band dismissed as sounding too much like Rod Stewart, and they hated it and even laughed at their performance during the recording.
In the interviews, it was clear that the band members did not like the song much, and they even claimed to never listen back to it when they finished it, they just thought of how dreadful it was. Weird enough, the production team picked the song for their second album, and it ended up being one of the fan favorites of the album.
7. A Few Bad Reviews
Even the best of the best have haters. This means that although Radiohead has a huge following, it has some people who absolutely hate what they do, but it is quite understandable in this business. Unlike most other rock bands who receive the worst criticism from critics, Radiohead has enjoyed numerous good reviews from different critics and people have even labeled them to be a “critic’s band.”
Critics have the power to influence how people receive something, regardless of whether the “thing” in question is a movie, a song, a person or a product, since not so many people have strong or even valid opinions on most things. One negative review the band got from Chuck Eddy on The Bends, a music journalist whose opinion matters, was that their music reminded him of Suede trying to rock like Sparks only coming off like U2, he gave them a 5/10. However, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.
6. Girls Reject Even The Best Of Us
Today, celebrity musicians and rock stars have millions of followers who would do anything they asked including jumping off a bridge. Most male celebrities have so many women who would go crazy if they got the opportunity to meet face-to-face with them let alone go out on a date with them. This celebrity status and having almost everything going their way is what makes so many people envious of celebrities, but the flip side of this story is that the women are obviously never in love with the person, they are just in love with the money and celebrity status.
The song Creep is about a girl who rejected Thom Yorke, a girl he had developed feelings for from a distance, a girl that he followed for a while during the time he was studying at Exeter University. After the girl rejected Thom, his band members claim that the ordeal really shook him up and infuriated him, leading him to compose the song Creep.
5. Unusual Way To Success
All songs in an album are usually different, and audiences will love different songs differently. It is common to find fans loving or only knowing the few most famous songs that their favorite artists are known for, and having no idea of the other songs that these artists have that do not make it high up in the charts. Although Street Spirit was successful and remains to be one of Radiohead’s best songs of all time, its B-side Talk Show Host got a much wider reception when it featured on Baz Luhrmann’s cult classic Romeo + Juliet.
This film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, a version that depicts the couple at Verona Beach, a fictional seaside town in Verona Beach. The initial reception for the film was not as good as the years following its release since it achieved cult status and with it took Radiohead’s song to audiences who had not even heard of the band.
4. The Interesting “Just”
Radiohead released the song Just in 1995, a song that was apparently a competition between Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, to see who between the two would fit the most chords in a song. This “competition” led to the development of a masterpiece that ranked number 34 out of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, according to NME in 2007.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the song’s video is the mystery man who develops a heated conversation with a crowd, a conversation that audiences can only follow by reading the subtitles. The crowd demands to know why the man was lying on the floor, and he is very reluctant to tell them. The part which the man shares his reason is marked by the camera zooming towards his mouth, but the subtitles cease, the audience never gets to know what the man says, but the crowd of people all lay down like the man.
3. Stephen Hawking On Fitter Happier
It is always a great idea for musicians to feature other celebrities in their productions, whether the celebrities are in the same industry or not because the inclusion of such celebrities widens up the people they reach considerably. When you listen to the song Fitter Happier, chances are that you will believe that the computerized voice in the song is that of Stephen Hawking. Although Stephen Hawking is one of the most popular and open-minded celebrity scientists in history, he is not the voice in the song.
The interesting thing is that it is highly likely that Hawking would oblige to the request of being featured in a rock song, so Radiohead should really consider approaching him on that. The voice we hear in the song is Thom Yorke’s creation on his computer, a voice he made one night that he was angry. The inclusion of the weird sounding computer voice gives this song a unique feel to it.
2. The Main Reason Why Thom Started A Band With Collin
Different things attract different people together, and the stories of how great relationships start are usually compelling and inspiring. The history that Thom and Collin have goes beyond the band, since as stated earlier, the two as well as the rest of the band members, were in the same school at the same time. Of course, their passion for rock music and the desire to become great must have been some of the reasons they decided to start this band, which is the case with most rock bands out there.
However, according to Thom, the main reason that Collin and himself ended up forming this group was their terrible taste in outfits. Although looking back at how far fashion has come to where it is today, these two were not too bad. When the two got invited to the same parties, their weird dressing would make them stand out, a factor that led them to spend time together and sharing their passion for music.
1. True Love Waits
True Love Waits is a song by Radiohead that is probably the most revisited song in their history, taking it through so many changes and improving it with every attempt. This song was officially released in 2001 as part of the I Might Be Wrong: Live Recording, after a series of attempts to record it for a long time. The band and the producer Nigel Godrich did not feel like it was a good fit for OK Computer in 1997, in Kid A in 2000, or even Amnesiac in 2001.
For the longest time, this song was Radiohead’s most famous yet to be released song, one that they first performed in 1995. What is even more disappointing is the fact that the song was written and remade a few times when Thom and his wife were still together, but its release on the 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool coincided with the end of their 23-year long marriage.