Hear Two Radiohead Recordings—from 1986, with Sax Solos

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 22 2011 9:57 AM

Listen to Two Unreleased Radiohead Songs—from 1986 

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Thom Yorke performing with Radiohead more recently (2010).

Photo by LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Though they didn’t release their breakthrough album, Pablo Honey, until 1992, Radiohead actually formed in 1985, when the members of the band were students at the Abingdon School in Oxford, England. Yesterday, Pitchfork posted two recordings attributed to Radiohead and dated to 1986, which were uploaded to YouTube earlier this month: “Girl (in the Purple Dress)” and “Everybody Knows” (the latter is not, by the way, a version of the Leonard Cohen song; both are original compositions).

At the time, the band was called On a Friday. According to Pitchfork, the YouTube user who uploaded the videos is married to someone “who went to school with the band and partied with them” and who has had the demo since he was 17. More details are provided by Poptart, What’s Our Mission?

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To my ears, the songs sound remarkably accomplished for a high school rock band—but that’s no surprise, of course. What is surprising is the saxophone solos that appear on each track.

What do you think? 

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.