“Creep” was RadioHead’s first successful hit, back in 1993, a song composed by Thom during his studying experience in Exeter University, where he had the crush on this girl and would “pursue” her in the way he exposes in the song, written after this same girl showed up in one of Radiohead’s initial shows. However due to its similarities with “The Air The I Breathe” from The Hollies from 1973, the song had to be co-credited to them and many have even called it plagiarism, when in my opinion the similarities are purely on the chords basis, and some melodies that could or not be a base of inspiration for “Creep”. Only Thom knows the Truth…
In RadioHead’s creative process usually Thom sends the first draft, Greenwood picks it up and gives it the harmonies and lastly the other members of the band add their parts. Usually he composes writing at the piano, although he admits “I do not have the skill needed for the piano, of playing two hands at the same time, different things. I just strum it”. However it is not about RadioHead that I want to tell you about! It is about what Thom does with other friends and even sometimes alone. His solo career started with the release of “Eraser” with XL Recordings.
This album was made in 2004, when Radiohead took a vacation after the wild success of “Kid A” and “Ok Computer”. It was a period of experimentation to Thom that decided it was time to try to write something by himself. He always re-enforced that he was not moving away from the band, and that they even gave their “blessing”. And with this blessing, came a breakthrough. This album immediately sky-rocketed to Top 5 in Uk, US and Australia, beeng nominated for Grammy’s and Mercury Prizes. The audience was fascinated because eleven years ago there was no one else doing this type of Music. And with it, Thom Yorke got the “God-like” recognition he has nowadays.
Later in 2009 he releases “”Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses” / “The Hollow Earth”, a double A sided cd with eleven minutes filled with darkness and obscurity. The typical “lost vocals” now accompanied quite formidably by the bass that is just the stand-out, since with a simple line he can create some many layers surrounding it. In the same year, in order to play “Eraser” live, he created the band “Atoms for Peace”, a greater step forward towards his solo career that now had a supporting band with Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) on the bass, Nigel Godrich (Radiohead’s longtime producer) for the keys and drummer Joey Waronker (R.E.M and Beck). A brutal combination of talent and old friends that get together to play the masterpieces from this Musical Genius.
With this band he already developed in 2013 “Amok” their first and only record which peaked Top 20 in majority of the Charts around the World. Nothing compared with “Eraser”, although Thom’s music tends to take time to be understood and I dearly believe this Album will also get more, and well deserved, recognition pretty soon. Probably one of my favourite albums ever made, capable of having the same quality and breakthrough quality as “Kid A” had in its days. “Default”, the second track, has a computerised approach in the intro that flows along the song while transforming itself into a beautiful harmony that resembles RadioHead in every second. When asked in Reddit if Thom could distinguish when he was writing for Radiohead or Atoms for Peace he said, in 2013:
“It is a grey area. Getting greyer. Obviously depends on who is being sampled.”
Lastly, in 2014 Thom released exclusively via “Bit Torrent” and it was the most “torrented’ album of the year, “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”, only being released two years later in BandCamp with another original song previously unknown, a proof that Thom does support projects he believes in. Hopefully he will keep investing his talent in both projects and transmitting his Spirituality through his music as he so exceptionally does, mainly in his solo career.