Hear Radiohead's Thom Yorke Impersonate Morrissey in an Unreleased Track

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 9 2012 12:13 PM

Did You See This? Another Unreleased Song From Before Radiohead Was Radiohead

Thom Yorke of Radiohead
Thom Yorke performs with Radiohead at the Glastonbury Music Festival in June 2011. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Radiohead often seems otherworldly, so glimpsing their earthly influences can feel surprising. On a demo from Radiohead’s earlier incarnation, On A Friday, they sound less like The Most Important Band In The World than a Smiths tribute band. A teenaged Thom Yorke does a pretty convincing Morrissey, while the rest of the band kicks out a rhythm track and a jangly guitar sound straight out of “This Charming Man.”

The track, which was uploaded yesterday, is the latest to make its way to the internet from a demo tape the band recorded in 1986. YouTube user klootme previously posted three other recordings from the tape, which she says she got from her husband, who attended the Abingdon boarding school with the band.

Radiohead themselves have been open in their adoration for The Smiths, whose song “The Headmaster Ritual” they covered during a special webcast in 2007. Of course lately it’s Radiohead who’ve been the ones to get imitated: A recording posted on blogs over Christmas was thought to be a lost Radiohead song the 1990s, but some dutiful reporting from CNN revealed that the true composer was just a baker in Toronto.

Advertisement

UPDATE, Jan. 9, 2012: The same YouTube user has just posted a fifth demo track under the title "Lemming Trail." The sax-heavy rocker is a little less The Smiths and a lot more Peter Gunn.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 6:24 PM The GOP Can’t Quit “Willie Horton” Even though they promise to do so, again and again.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 5:39 PM Whole Foods Desperately Wants Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further From Nashville Than Ever
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.