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- A Night on Bald Mountain
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Radiohead is a British rock band from Oxford. Their current moniker, 'Radiohead', was taken from the song 'Radio Head' by Talking Heads , whose album Remain in Light is a band favorite and major influence on their Kid A The band consists of Thom Yorke vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards , Ed O'Brien guitars , vocals , Jonny Greenwood guitars, keyboards, Ondes Martenot , and other electronics , his brother Colin Greenwood bass guitar , and Phil Selway drums and percussion. Yorke and J.
Greenwood are chiefly responsible for songwriting, most often with Yorke originating songs and Greenwood building on them. Later influences include German art-rock band Can , electronic artists such as Autechre , and jazz artists such as Charles Mingus and Miles Davis.
Producer Nigel Godrich has worked with the band since the recording of The Bends , where he assisted producer John Leckie , and has contributed significantly to their sound, often being dubbed the 'sixth member' of the band. Another major contributor is Stanley Donwood , who has produced the artwork for the band's albums since their My Iron Lung EP in collaboration with 'Dr. Tchock '—a pseudonym for Yorke. Donwood and Yorke met at the University of Exeter , and also produce the official band website, Radiohead.
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While not normally considered Britpop , Radiohead's strong influence on Britpop bands such as Coldplay , Stereophonics , Muse and Travis , is undeniable. The Bends , released in , has been particularly influential to the genre. With his usual wry wit, Thom commented on this: in , when asked by The New Yorker , 'how do you guys feel about the fact that bands like Travis, Coldplay, and Muse are making a career sounding exactly like your records did in ? Radiohead formed during the late s , originally under the name On A Friday , a name referring to the only time where all band members were able to practice.
They first came to international attention in the early s , when their single 'Creep' received extensive airplay and charted in many countries. Striking a highly popular and sympathetic note of similar self-loathing among fans, 'Creep' was released around the same time as other so-called ' slacker ' anthems such as Beck 's 'Loser'.
The band weren't unanimously keen on Creep and, until recently, refused to play it, believing that its meaning had been misinterpreted and given too much weight by fans. It was initially passed over, dismissed by Yorke as 'Jonny's Scott Walker song'.
Legend says that Jonny's famous guitar crunches were supposedly an attempt to ruin a song he didn't like. So that's what got us the job doing the album. The single 'Creep' was released in September , while the album was scheduled for February next year.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the band, a radio station in San Fransisco, 'Live ' had just named Pablo Honey its favourite record of the year and quickly crossed over onto L. The single eventually peaked at a modest 34 in the US, but Pablo Honey went gold. A year after its original release, a reissued 'Creep' finally hit the UK charts, peaking at number 7.
Because the album kept on breaking around the world, the Pablo Honey supporting tour lumbered into its second year. Pablo Honey was a solid, if unremarkable recording, that lacks both the force and experimentation of their later work. In it was time for their second record - the singificant and better one The Bends. It was unexpected and suprisingly more mature than their previous, considering the fact that they were marked as a one-hit-wonders after their debut.
However the edifice marked 'follow-up to Creep' casted a long shadow over the sessions for their second album. Everyone was pulling their hair and saying, 'It's not good enough!
We were trying too hard. The solution was a change of scenario: they quit the studio and toured Australasia and the Far East. Drawing heavily on s influences as well as the then popular music exemplified by groups such as the Pixies and R. Tracks such as 'Planet Telex', 'Street Spirit fade out ' and 'Fake Plastic Trees' were striking, original and indicators of the group's subsequent developments.
Although the album helped the band shake off the popular conception that they were 'one hit wonders', it wasn't until the fifth single, 'Street Spirit fade out ', that the band would hit the top 10 again after 'Creep'.
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Although it was not a Britpop album at all, the record was associated with the movement and in early —widely praised a year after the album's release—Radiohead took part in Cool Britannia, battling famous acts like Oasis , Blur , Pulp and Suede. Now, The Bends is considered by many critics and fans as one of the best albums of the mids. Radiohead began writing OK Computer in early at their rehearsal studio, Canned Applause, a converted apple shed near their homes in Oxford, England.
By July they had recorded four songs with producer Nigel Godrich. Having learnt from The Bends , they decided to break the songs in live before completing the record. By July , Canned Applause was set up for recording.
It was the first time the band had attempted to cut album tracks outside of a conventional studio environment. Despite the experimental and unconventional setting, four songs from Canned Applause found their way onto the album. At July and August, they returned briefly for touring to present and try the new songs. In September they moved to St. Catherine's Court—a mansion owned by actress Jane Seymour —where they recorded the rest of OK Computer , without pressure.
They made much use of the various different rooms and atmospheres throughout the house, and the isolation from the outside world encouraged time to run at a different pace, making working hours more flexible and spontaneous.
A couple of songs—'Exit Music for a film ' and 'Let Down'—were recorded live. By Christmas , the album was finished, and in February and March was mixed. We were delaying it because we were a bit frightened of actually finishing stuff. In 16 June OK Computer was released and received even greater acclaim than The Bends , featuring prominently in many 'best album' polls, then and now.
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It found Radiohead taking musical risks uncommon in the Britpop genre, experimenting with ambience and noise to create a set of songs that many consider to be a high point of late-twentieth century rock music. Grant Gee , the director of the 'No Surprises' video, accompanied the band on their tour and filmed it, which resulted in the 'on the fly' documentary Meeting People Is Easy. Colin Greenwood said about the album: 'I think the overall mood on the record is starker than The Bends. I think that there is a consistent sound to 80 percent of the new album.
I think we made things a little bit more extreme on this record.
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The important thing for us on this record was that we produce it ourselves. We had to learn how to make decisions amongst the six of us. We learned a lot from doing it on our own and in retrospect, we are very proud of this record. The more notable is the second, which has few songs that could best be described as a bridge between the progressive alternative rock of OK Computer and their subsequent experimental work.
OK Computer and Verve 's sublime final effort - Urban Hymns - are regarded as a boost of the already dying Britpop movement, despite that both records departed from the style.
Nevertheless OK Computer is regarded by some as one of the greatest rock albums and still tops peaks of various charts. It nailed Radiohead as top superstars and defined them as one of the greatest bands of 90s, threatening the leadership of seminal acts like R. Exhausted by their fame and on the verge of burnout following the OK Computer tour, the band spent the latter part of in relative quiet.
Thom Yorke admitted that after the tour the band was on the verge of splitting up. He also added that he fell in depression, but managed to recover with Michael Stipe 's R.
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After O'Brien's collaboration for the BBC drama series 'Eureka Street', the band returned to the studio to record Kid A , a defiantly experimental album that complemented the lyrical and musical hooks of their earlier work with a more minimalist style. Kid A was finished in April and with no singles, yet with promos, the album was promoted mainly on the Internet. This is where Radiohead's infamous relationship with Napster came into play.
Three months prior to the release of Kid A MP3 tracks of the entire album made their way onto the file sharing service. The record industry assumed the album was now doomed to failure since fans already had the music for free.
Instead the opposite happened and the band, which had never hit the US top 20 before, captured the number one spot in Kid A' s debut week. With the record's absence of radio airplay, big time marketing, and any other factor that may have explained this stunning success, Menta declared this was proof of the promotional powers of file trading and of word-of-mouth generated by the Net.
Even Oasis ' chief Noel Gallagher admitted that Kid A' s great marketing scheme was its lack of any promotion: 'If you refuse to talk about your own album, that just stirs the pot and makes everyone else start talking about it.
Whatever the reason for the record's success on the charts, Kid A took the band from indie faves to burgeoning supergroup.
The album's arrangements have been likened to a meeting of Pink Floyd and Aphex Twin. Kid A was released in October Today, Kid A is considered by fans and critics as one of the greatest electronic albums made by a rock band and one of Radiohead's finest records. The follow-up, Amnesiac , which was released in June of the following year, was comprised of further tracks from the same recording sessions as Kid A.
Conceived as two separate sequences of songs, the two albums are similar in style and are linked by two different versions of the same song: 'Morning Bell.
They cancel each other out as overall finished things. They come from two different places, I think In some weird way, I think Amnesiac gives another take on Kid A , a form of explanation.
Go back and listen to Kid A after listening to Amnesiac , and I think you'll hear it. About the differences with the previous record he says: ' Kid A was kind of like an electric shock.
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Amnesiac is more about being in the woods, in the countryside. I think the artwork is the best way of explaining it. The artwork to Kid A was all in the distance. The fires were all going on the other side of the hill.
With Amnesiac , you're actually in the forest while the fire's happening. With Kid A , when you sequenced certain tracks together, this play started appearing.
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Nevertheless the album was received very well and nearly reached Kid A' s sales. While fans tend to like Kid A more than Amnesiac , the latter should be considered as the next successful and experimental chapter of their expedition in the musical world.
After the release of the album, the band staged their own mini-festival in Oxford 's South Park, featuring Sigur Ros , Supergrass , Humphrey Lyttelton who played trumpet on 'Life in a Glass House', the closing track on Amnesiac , and themselves.
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It was at this concert that the band finally played 'Creep,' after having refused to perform the song for many years. Initially the band wanted to release ' I Might Be Wrong ' as their new single after 'Pyramid Song' and 'Knives Out', but soon the idea expanded into a full-fledged live record. In the fall of , they released their first live album: I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings , featuring performances from Berlin, Paris, London and a couple of other concerts and also including one unreleased track, 'True Love Waits'.
The recording process for their next record, Hail to the Thief , was remarkably different from those for the previous three studio albums. Their sessions were more like the Bends , rather than the usual holing in a studio for months.