Radiohead Band Bio

Radiohead Performance
Radiohead Performance | Source

Early Beginning

Originally the band was called On a Friday which was the day on which they normally practiced. All of the members: Thom Yorke, Ed O'brien, Phil Selway, Colin Greenwood and Jonny Greenwood met while attending a private high school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom in the mid-1980s. They performed shows in the thriving underground music scene of the area often at the popular Jericho tavern. The band took a bit of a hiatus even before becoming well known when the members went of to university. Keeping in touch they continued as a band. Catching the attention of EMI they were signed to a six album recording contract in 1991 and they changed the band name to Radiohead.

Mainstream Breakthrough (Pablo Honey 1993)

Radiohead began by releasing the Drill EP in May 1992 which got little attention. The release of their first album Pablo Honey didn't get much more attention in the United Kingdom. The band was often shunned by the press that labelled them copycats of the grunge scene of the period. Radiohead began to play only small clubs and universities despite their comparable sound with many rock contemporaries of the era. Finally in early 1993 Radiohead's song "Creep," was being played heavily in Isreal and by DJs on the US west coast allowing them to tour the middle east and the United States. In the US the music video for Creep began to be played heavily throughout 1993 and the band toured day and night doing 150 shows that year.

The Bends And OK Computer

With the album, "the bends," in 1995 the band moved away from the grunge and mainstream rock that was popular at the time tailoring their own sound. The bends utilized not just layered guitar riffs but also atmospheric, keyboard and acoustic elements. The album did not chart well initially in the US but attention and sales grew over time and remained steady. Radiohead began to chart well in their home country and gained much critical acclaim.

OK Computer was released in 1997 and became the most internationally successful album to date debuting at number one on the UK albums chart and charting around the globe. Still not achieving a high debut in the US they did eventually win a Grammy award for best alternative album. The album again moved in a direction of soundscapes and atmospheric music as opposed to conventional rock.

Kid A And Amnesiac

Riding on the great critical and commercial success of OK computer, Kid A released in 2000 topped charts around the world including the US finally achieving the number one spot. Despite the commercial success the reaction by critics to the material was anything but warm. Kid A was an extremely experimental collection of music. It moved so far into atmospheric and unusual instrumentation that it was difficult to find a song that followed normal structure.

Amnesiac was released in 2001 to a little better critical response. Still very much entrenched in experimental music there were more moments of clarity and tracks following somewhat conventional definitions of songwriting. Commercially it did well but was unable to obtain the number one spot in the US debuting at number two. This time around only being nominated for a Grammy.

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Hail To The Thief

Heralded as the return to form for the band Hail To The Thief released in 2003 saw the band coming back to a more rock driven sound. Critical and commercial response was positive and they began to receive more radio play for several of the songs from the album. This was something that was lacking from the two previous albums.

In Rainbows And King Of Limbs

After returning from heavy touring Radiohead left EMI as their contract was fulfilled and released their next album In Rainbows independently in 2007. The album was treated like no other and offered through the bands own website allowing downloaders to choose to pay what they wanted. This got Radiohead a lot of attention some from fans and critics was good, some from the music world was not so good. The album was released later in 2007 to disc and despite being available for months managed to hit number one in both the UK and the US and chart high around the world.

Four years later the band released King Of Limbs in 2011. Although still charting high around the world the album paled in comparison both commercially and critically to In Rainbows. The album charted at number six in the US and number seven in the UK. The band has subsequently continued to tour and are due to begin work on a follow up shortly. They also continue to update their social media and the official Radiohead YouTube channel regularly.

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