One of the true anomalies of British music in the 1990s, Radiohead were and continue to be a musical chameleon, constantly morphing sonically and defying boundaries set by their peers. As the era of Britpop chewed and spat out a large chunk of British guitar bands in its unrelenting jaws, Radiohead floated past unfazed and stood the test of time by creating a diverse collection of albums.
Formed in 1985, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway began rehearsing together after school originally under the name On A Friday. In 1993, Radiohead’s debut album, Pablo Honey, was released and it was plain to see the group’s roots laid in more traditional rock territory, however the band evolved somewhat with their second album, The Bends, which was released in 1995. This album was laden with more guitar effects and was built on unique and often unpredictable melodies and riffs.
Their sound expanded even further, hitting what some would call the pinnacle of their career with their third album, OK Computer, in 1997. The songwriting was stronger and the production was even more intricately textured in songs like ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’ and ‘Paranoid Android’. They then journied towards a more electronic based sound with Kid A in 2000 and Amnesiac eight months later. There were nuances of other British artists like Massive Attack and labels like Warp emerging in the sound, as seen in tracks ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ and ‘Packd Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box’.
From then, Radiohead returned to guitars more for their next two albums, and after Hail To The Thief in 2003, the group’s six album deal with EMI ended. Without a label, In Rainbows was released in 2007 as a pay-what-you-want release, which was a first for an act of this size. 2011 saw the release of The King of Limbs, which included songs like ‘Lotus Flower’ and on the whole, this album was more atmospheric and stripped back than previous releases.
One notable strength Radiohead posses is that alongside their singles like ‘High and Dry’ and ‘Karma Police’, which are led by acoustic guitars and catchier choruses, there is a very diverse mix of album tracks to balance and compliment everything. Some of their strongest songs are the album tracks, as they tend to be the most daring and interesting musically. So bearing that in mind, here are 13 tracks highlighting the rest of Radiohead: (‘Weird Fishes/Apreggi’, ’15 Step’ and ‘Faust Arp’ are absent as Spotify don’t seem to have paid what Radiohead want for the album…)