Radio around the head – Seven albums and one best Radiohead
With the release of a large-scale collection of the best hits, Radiohead completed their collaboration with the record company EMI. Lenta.Ru decided to recall the stages of this larger path, which turned the group from loser intellectuals into one of the most influential compositions of our time.
As you know, Radiohead borrowed its name from the eponymous song by American classics of the “new wave” of Talking Heads, released by them on the album “True Stories” in 1986. The group was born in the same year in Oxfordshire, however, then under the name “On a Friday”. This name was also explained quite simply. It was on Fridays that Tom York (vocals, guitar), brothers Colin (bass) and Johnny (guitar) Greenwood, Ed O’Brien (guitar) and Phil Selway (drums) gathered in the school hall after classes for their rehearsals.
After graduating from school and entering universities, friends continued to play music, began to give concerts and even acquired their own management, but they didn’t move beyond local fame. In 1991, Colin accidentally ran into the music store in which he worked with EMI representative Keith Wosencroft, and this meeting was truly fateful. Soon, Radiohead signed a major contract with the major for six albums and went to the studio to write their debut album.
Pablo Honey (1993)
Featured: Creep, Stop Whispering, Thinking About You, Anyone Can Play Guitar, Prove Yourself
The first sign that announced the arrival of new heroes to the world was the song “Creep”, thanks to which Radiohead, in fact, became famous. Although at first the single went completely unnoticed, and the British radio station BBC Radio 1 even refused to put the song on its air, finding it too depressing. Help came from where they did not wait. At first, “Creep” became a big hit in Israel, and then it made its way to the Billboard and MTV hit parade.
The record itself turned out to be extremely eclectic, with influences ranging from Sonic Youth to U2, which is why Radiohead was first nicknamed the “British Nirvana”, and then recorded as an apologist for the gaining strength of the British pop. The musicians themselves called “Pablo Honey” a collection of the best hits “On a Friday” and are most proud of the final composition “Blow Out” on it, but, unfortunately, none of the tracks could repeat the success of “Creep”. It even got to the point that at concerts of that time, spectators left the hall immediately after the performance of “Creep”. It is easy to guess in what condition the group approached the recording of their second record, which was supposed to confirm or refute its legal capacity.
The Bends (1995)
Featured: High and Dry, Just, My Iron Lung, Black Star, Street Spirit (Fade Out)
To overcome the creative crisis, Tom York was partly helped by Jeff Buckley – a kind of shadow cardinal of the 90s, who recorded one disc bordering on genius, and then drowned in the waters of the Mississippi River. Having once heard his voice at a concert, the leader of Radiohead decided to sing with falsetto and that same evening literally from the second take he recorded the song “Fake Plastic Trees”. Subsequently, this falsetto will long become a kind of trademark of York. Another innovation when recording was the use of synthesizers, which significantly enriched the sound of Radiohead.
Inspired by new ideas and sounds, the group managed to release not just a good album, but, as one famous music magazine put it, “the sexiest record of the last decade of the twentieth century” and, as the other remarked, “one of the records that changed the world.” The album turned out to be very integral, without a single weak spot, equally flavored with powerful militants and gentle ballads. After the release of “The Bends”, Radiohead could no longer be confined to a particular style; they began to move in their own way.
OK Computer (1997)
Featured: Paranoid Android, Let Down, Karma Police, No Surprises, Lucky
It is believed that with their third disc Radiohead set a monument to themselves during their lifetime. This is confirmed not only by critics, but also by ordinary listeners. In recent years, in surveys designed to identify the best albums of all time, “OK Computer” with enviable regularity has been ahead of the creations of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd. Well, the fact that this is the most important record of the 90s, which arranged a natural revolution in the minds of music lovers, is no longer discussed.
Before recording “OK Computer” the group received complete freedom of action from EMI, and also recruited a little-known (at that time) producer Nigel Godrich. As a result, Radiohead created a completely conceptual (which, however, the musicians themselves deny) recording, summarizing the feelings, fears and experiences that plague the individual at the end of the century. EMI considered the release of the album “commercial suicide” and miscalculated. The disc gave rise to a host of admirers and imitators, to which Radiohead responded with a new revolution.