R is for Radiohead
R is going to be on the the fly. I am conscious that the A-Z blogging challenge is coming to an end with even my modest aim of gaining 200 followers now looking beyond reach. It doesn't bother me too much because there's a hollowness in numbers. Richard told me this. He told me about the maths whizz at his university who would steal scraps of food from students' tables and tare angrily into space. Then one day he didn't show up at the lecture he was meant to be giving. He had killed himself on the railway line. I digress.
So R will be hurried, which is a shame because R offers so many possibilities. Roxy Music were so sexy, the Rolling Stones were about as sexy as Keith Richards' cigarette end, but wildly crazily talented. But I was really torn between R.E.M.and Radiohead - Seattle cool and somewhere near Oxford cool.
I guess the Brits win because I'm biased. But Radiohead have always struck this great big chord with me, even if it was a misericord, which s really nothing to do with being glum but it a minimalist kind of seat in a Medieval church.
But Radiohead lost out to my desire to walk round the vaguely emerald waters of a lake in which turtles lined up on their logs. Then there's the small matter of the writer's group and breathing some life into the novel that's lapsed again.
Radiohead formed in 1985 and they were from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, another unpromising suburban setting. Their first major hit was Creep in 1992 which was frankly creepy and, from the outset, established Radiohead as a very different kind of outfit from the photogenic boy bands of the 1990s such as Take That.
It's safe to say Radiohead's lead singer Thom Yorke lacks the classic good looks of an Elvis Presley or a John Taylor. Hell, he lacks the classic good looks of Boy George, resembling a mole who has been dragged unwillingly into the light from his hole.
Creep failed to register at first and then became big, particularly in places like Israel. The 1995 album The Bends marked the band's arrival on the big scene, with hits such as Fake Plastic Trees and High and Dry.
Street Spirit remains my fave, even if's it's irredeemably dark. Street Spirit was described by Yorke as "the dark tunnel without the light at the end."
The 1997 album OK Computer with its experimental sounds made even bigger waves than The Bends and has often been described as one of the top albums of the 20th century.
Then, just as Radiohead stood on the verge of mega stardom, they did the opposite thing to Oasis and retreated. Their next album Kid A, was more obscure with fewer obvious hits. Some critics liked it, others dubbed it a "commercial suicide note."
Yorke, who had been suffering from serious depression around this time, may have deliberately intended to downplay Radiohead.
Radiohead have not faced out like Street Spirit, although they haven't had such a high profile as in their heyday in the 1990s.
The band have embraced the rapidly changing nature of the music industry. Radiohead's seventh album, In Rainbows, for instance, was released through the band's website in October 2007 as a digital download for which customers could make whatever payment that they deemed appropriate.
Radiohead-Karma Police by pghj2005
Karma Police is probably Radiohead's most famous hit. The video still confuses me but it seems to have a message that can be technically described as "shit happens."
Curious Fact about Radiohead - Thom Yorke almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the car he was in while filing the video for Karma Police.