A couple of weeks back, on a day recovering from the slight after effects of my second COVID vaccination, I decided to spend a few hours flicking through all sorts of music documentaries and shows that can be found via the TV, whether on channels or the likes of YouTube. I couldn’t really settle on one thing, finding myself hopping from video to video, unable to get the sort of show or performance that would get my mind initially a bit more focussed and ultimately allowing me to feel more relaxed.
And then I saw a link to Radiohead‘s performance at Glastonbury in 1997 which came just a couple of weeks after the release of OK Computer. I remembered seeing it live via the BBC coverage at the time, thinking that it had been one of the greatest things ever to hit the telly screen. I wondered, however, how it would come across in 2021 given that the technology has moved on so much in the intervening years, and I reckoned it might well have sounded a bit thin and maybe tinny. I was also intrigued as a few years ago, on the 20th Anniversary of the performance, Thom Yorke had told the BBC that he had almost walked off mid-set as there were sound problems, something that I couldn’t recall being the case.
Turns out that time had not diminished the performance, nor could I really pick up where the sound issues had caused consternation, apart from a couple of occasions when there were slightly longer than usual delays in the next song starting up.
In a show packed with spine-tingling moments, the playing of this, as the second song of the night, was a real highlight:-
mp3: Radiohead – My Iron Lung
The My Iron Lung EP, in September 1994, bridged the gap between the albums Pablo Honey (1993) and The Bends (1995), albeit the title track would appear on the latter. Here in the UK, it was released as a four-song EP on vinyl, with copies nowadays going for around £50 on the second hand market. Like most other folk, I ended up instead with the CDs, with two of them being released, with the lead track on both occasions accompanied by three b-sides. Meanwhile, in Australia, it was released as a CD with eight songs, with the additional track being an acoustic version of Creep.
Many fans and critics have said, quite rightly, that the quality of the songs on the EP, all of which were recorded during the preparation or indeed the sessions for The Bends, would have made for a very decent album on its own. Judge for yourself:-
mp3: Radiohead – The Trickster
mp3: Radiohead – Punchdrunk Lovesong Singalong
mp3: Radiohead – Lozenge Of Love
mp3: Radiohead – Lewis (Mistreated)
mp3: Radiohead – Permanent Daylight
mp3: Radiohead – You Never Wash After Yourself
It’s quite scary that none of these songs were deemed good enough to be kept back for inclusion on the subsequent album. The Trickster and Permanent Daylight in particular have long been personal favourites, albeit the latter does come across as a tribute to Sonic Youth.
Radiohead were almost chosen as the subject of the forthcoming Sunday series replacement for R.E.M., but in the end, and after a great deal of soul-searching, they were put to one side. For the time being anyway.
Only 72 hours now till the big reveal.