Biography of the group «Radiohead»
One of the most popular and influential British bands of the 90s, which made a significant contribution to the history of modern music. Radiohead’s style can be defined as alternative rock with elements of Britpop, minimal techno, blues and electronic rhythms. For more than thirty years of the existence of the team, its composition has never changed.
British rockers Radiohead
History of creation
The future members of Radiohead had known each other since childhood and studied together at the Abingdon private school for boys. All of them were fond of music and often gathered in the rehearsal room to sing along with the guitar. Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood were members of the school punk band TNT, and when it broke up, they thought about creating their own team. Their idea was supported by Ed O’Brien and Phil Salway, the happy owner of his own drum kit. Later, the guys were joined by Greenwood’s younger brother Johnny, the only one who had a professional musical education. In 1985, the composition of the group was finally formed and has never changed for more than three decades.
The young musicians rehearsed on Fridays, so it was decided to name the newly minted band “On a Friday”. A year later, their first public performance took place in the local Jericho Tavern pub. Tom was the soloist, Colin and Ed played the guitars, Johnny stood behind the keys and played the parts on the harmonica, and Phil played the drums.
After graduating from college, the guys dispersed to universities, but they did not give up music lessons. True, there was a catastrophic lack of time for rehearsals and everyone managed to get together only during the holidays.
Four years later, having received diplomas of higher education, the musicians continued to perform. They recorded several demo tapes and began offering them to record companies. In fairness, it should be noted that at first their music was not very popular. At that time in Britain everyone listened to shoegazing (one of the trends of indie rock), and the guys did not fit into fashionable musical trends. However, they stubbornly went to their goal, and soon things got off the ground. Their work interested the co-owners of the local record label Courtyard Studios, Bryce Edgem and Chris Hufford, who agreed to become the group’s managers and remain so to this day.
Radiohead’s first demo tape (then On a Friday)
In 1991, Colin, who was then working in a music store, accidentally met an agent of a major record company, EMI Records, and invited him to listen to the band’s demos. They liked the material, and the studio agreed to conclude a contract with the musicians for the release of six albums, provided that the group changed its name. After some debate, it was decided to name the band “Radiohead” in honor of the song of the same name by the American band “Talking Heads”.
The main stages of creativity
In March 1992, the band released their debut EP “Drill”, which, contrary to expectations, went almost unnoticed. But the musicians did not give up and to record a full-fledged album they found new producers – Paul Kolderi and Sean Slade.
In early 1993, the album “Pablo Honey” was released, famous for its single “Creep”, which immediately hit the top ten in the British charts. The video for this song was put into rotation on MTV, and the group’s popularity gradually began to gain momentum.
After the release of the album, the team traveled quite successfully with the bands “Belly” and “Tears for Fears” in the United States and began recording the next record. John Leckie, one of the most influential producers in the UK, joined in its creation, and in early 1995 the second studio album “The Bends” was presented to a wide audience. British critics met him favorably and noted the mature sound and the formed musical style of the group. However, in the States, Radiohead still occupied low positions in the chats, so the musicians decided to go on a joint tour of America with the REM group, the idols of their youth.
During the joint tour, the song “How to Disappear Completely” was born. REM frontman Michael Stipe saw Thom Yorke get nervous during performances and advised him to repeat the words, “I’m not here, it’s not real,” like a mantra.
In early 1996, the musicians began to collaborate with producer Nigel Godrich, with whom they recorded their third album, OK Computer. And then, as they say, the ice broke. The collection was highly acclaimed at the 40th Grammy ceremony, topped the British hit parade and entered the top twenty of the American charts.
Radiohead received their first Grammy in 1996.
The album brought the musician the long-awaited fame and big money, which did not have the best effect on the atmosphere in the team. After a massive world tour “Against Demons”, the band almost broke up due to a creative crisis and disagreements, but still managed to overcome a difficult period and stay afloat. In 2000, the next collection “Kid A” was released, which immediately hit the first lines of the American Billboard. The album was twice nominated for a Grammy and became the most commercially successful in the history of the band. Experts attributed this to the leak of material to the Web, which unexpectedly contributed to the sharply increased popularity of Radiohead and later began to be used by other groups for promotion.
The heyday of Radiohead’s popularity came in the second half of the 90s
The next album “Amnesiac” was presented in the summer of 2001 and also became very successful both creatively and commercially. He firmly established himself at the top of the British and American charts and was nominated for several prestigious music awards. In support of him, the group went on a European tour, after which they began to create new material. The result was the compilation “Hail to the Thief”, which traditionally topped the world music charts and became platinum in England and gold in the USA.
On the crest of success, the band went on a grand year-long tour, after which the musicians took a creative break. Radiohead fulfilled the terms of the contract and recorded six albums, after which they terminated the agreement with the label and went home. A year later, they got together again and started working on their next album, In Rainbows. It was decided to sell the collection via the Internet, and the listeners themselves determined the price of the downloaded tracks. This was a real revolution in the music industry, showing that the income from virtual sales is not inferior to the fees from officially released records.
Unlike many colleagues, Radiohead maintains a teetotaler image
In the spring of 2008, a world tour began in support of “In Rainbows”, during which the musicians traveled around Europe, the States, Latin America and even reached Japan. The collection brought the third Grammy to the group’s creative piggy bank and was awarded the prestigious Ivor Novello Award.
In the spring of 2009, Radiohead began to create a new album, King Of The Limb, several songs from which were posted on the band’s website in August. The official release of the collection took place in February 2011. This time, the disc did not receive gold status in the US, but again gathered an impressive harvest of prestigious music awards.
The musicians, according to tradition, went on a long world tour, during which a tragedy occurred. While editing a scene in Toronto, heavy structures collapsed, killing technician Scott Johnson and seriously injuring another person. The group took a short break, during which Thom Yorke took up the implementation of his own project “Atoms for Peace”.
The group never came to Russia, which is explained by Yorke’s reluctance to perform in countries with a difficult political situation and poor environmental protection.
In the fall of 2014, Radiohead began work on their next album, A Moon Shaped Pool, which included both new songs and songs written before 2001, but previously unreleased. The collection has traditionally been awarded prestigious awards, and the group again went on a world tour.
- Pablo Honey (1993)
- The Bends (1995)
- OK Computer (1997)
- Kid A (2000)
- Amnesiac (2001)
- Hail to the Thief (2003)
- In Rainbows (2007)
- The King of Limbs (2011)
- A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)
In January 2018, Radiohead sued singer Lana Del Rey for outright theft. The musicians decided that her composition “Get Free” exactly repeats the musical part of their immortal hit “Creep”. The singer denied the resemblance, but decided to meet her halfway and offered to pay Radiohead 40% of royalties. They insisted on 100%.
Previously, fans of the British group found similarities with “Creep” in Sam Smith’s “Midnight Train”, and even in the song “Lyubochka” by the rock group “Masha and the Bears”. Meanwhile, Radiohead themselves have been accused of borrowing a musical sequence from The Air That I Breathe by the once insanely popular The Hollies.
Also in 2017, Andrey Makarevich found a strong similarity in the “Lift” video, which “Radiohead” released in September of the same year, with the “Time Machine” video for the song “Where the Light Is”, released back in 2001. His words were picked up and inflated by the media, and soon the musician had to explain that he did not accuse anyone of plagiarism.
At the moment, the team is actively touring and performing with charity concerts. In 2017, the album “OK Computer” was re-released, its digital version “OKNOTOK” was posted on the Web. The musicians do not plan to release a new album in the near future and do not give any comments on this matter.
Radiohead in no rush to release new album