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The Top 10 Best Songs By Radiohead

Updated on March 17, 2015
Radiohead
Radiohead

Radiohead are one of the most popular bands in Britain, and indeed the world. With that in mind, it seemed like a nice idea to compile a list of their 10 best songs - no easy task considering their vast back catalogue. And, as if that wasn't hard enough, I decided I'd try to put them in order. It's been difficult, to say the least.

Now, when I say 10 best songs, I mean the 10 songs I like the best. Feel free to disagree with me. If you have any thoughts about what should or should not be on this list, please comment at the bottom of the hub.

About the band:

Radiohead are an English rock band formed in 1985 in Oxfordshire. The band members are: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway, and Ed O'Brien.

The band's debut single "Creep" was released in 1992. Though it was not originally successful, it became a worldwide hit after the release of Radiohead's debut album, "Pablo Honey", in 1993. Radiohead have released 8 studio albums to date.

Anyway, enough of that. See what you think of the list:

10. "Reckoner"

Album: In Rainbows

Reckoner is a rather lovely song. And so it should be: it took Radiohead about 7 years to get it right! Yeah, 7 years, from the first live performance in 2001, to the release of In Rainbows in '08 when it was at last recorded. All I can say is: 7 years well spent.

9. "High And Dry"

Album: The Bends

Radiohead were and are thought of as outsiders to the Britpop revolution that swept England during the late 80's and 90's. But this song...this is a song that would wipe the competition off the face of the Earth. Oasis? Blur? Hah, you'd never have heard of those guys if Radiohead had written an album based around "High And Dry". It's a work of art.

8. "15 Step"

Album: In Rainbows

Confession time: this song was in the Twilight saga. Well, it was in the credits. But hey, we all have our flaws right? Anyway, this is a great track. Snappy and rhythmic, it's a little punchier than Radiohead's usual style - the beautiful, haunting type of song.

7. "Paranoid Android"

Album: OK Computer

This 6-minute wonder combines arena-ready rock with the quiet, subtle textures that Radiohead does so well. Originally 3 songs, it was released as the first single from OK Computer.

6. "Creep"

Album: Pablo Honey

If Radiohead had been a One Hit Wonder, "Creep" would have been that one hit. Personally, it's one of my favourite Radiohead songs, but the band themselves started to dislike it pretty quickly. Partly this was because it got to popular for it's own good after the release of Pablo Honey. It was the only song of Radiohead's that most people knew. They didn't like it too much to start off with though. The famous (and brilliant) guitar scratches in the song are actually Jonny Greenwood trying to mess it up; he thought the song was boring.

The original version of this song is good, but I prefer the acoustic version myself. I've also included a video of that version below - complete with a brilliant Flash animation.

5. "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"

Album: The Bends

This really is the standout track from The Bends and one of the darkest songs in Radiohead's repertoire. The lead singer, Thom Yorke, has said that all the band's sad songs "have somewhere in them at least a glimmer of resolve" but that "Street Spirit' has no resolve . . . It is the dark tunnel without the light at the end."

Well, that sounds cheery.

4. "No Surprises"

Album: OK Computer

In terms of the music, this is a lullaby. Or at least, what Radiohead thinks a lullaby should sound like. That in mind, it shouldn't surprise you that the lyrics aren't especially peaceful: there's a bitterly cynical edge to them, and they're a lot less...cryptic than typical Radiohead lyrics. Beautifully written, this song doesn't get the attention it deserves.

3. "Just"

Album: The Bends

This song is the second single from The Bends and it's really rather wonderful, not least because of Jonny Greenwood's fabulous guitar solo. If anything, the video is even better. Have a look and wonder: what did he say to them?

2. "Last Flowers To The Hospital"

Album: In Rainbows

In my humble opinion, this is a highly underrated track. In Rainbows is generally an underplayed album, but even so, I don't think this track gets the attention it deserves. "Last Flowers To The Hospital" is probably the best track from the album. It doesn't carry the authority of the more famous Radiohead songs, but it's still a beautiful song.

1. "Karma Police"

Album: OK Computer

The name of this song is actually a little inside joke. If one of the band was being a twit, the others would warn them that the Karma Police would come after them. This may just be my favourite Radiohead song.

Thanks for taking the time to read this hub. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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    • Nesbyte profile image
      Author

      Nesbyte 5 years ago from UK

      Hey Imogen, thanks for commenting. Yeah they can be pretty gloomy, but it's a good kind of gloomy. If that makes any sense. I reckon you're right; atmospheric is the perfect word for their music. I love OK Computer too. It might even be my favourite. It's either that or The Bends.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England

      I love Radiohead, they may be a bit gloomy at times, but they have done some great songs. It's amazing how many films you watch, and hear Radiohead songs on the soundtrack, I guess because their music is so atmospheric. I still like OK Computer the best, but maybe I need to listen to some of their more recent albums. Interesting hub. :)