A RANDOM A-Z OF SINGLES : HARROWDOWN HILL

The traffic to the blog slows up over the Festive period, and it’s therefore something of an opportunity to take a bit of a breather.

Over a period of 26 days, I’ll be posting a single never previously featured on its own before – it might have sneaked in as part of an ICA or within a piece looking at various tracks – with the idea of an edited cut’n’paste from somewhere (most likely wiki) and then all the songs from either the vinyl or CD.

H is for Harrowdown Hill, released by Thom Yorke as a single in August 2006.

Harrowdown Hill was released on Thom Yorke’s debut solo album, The Eraser (2006), recorded while Radiohead were on hiatus.  At the time of release, Yorke said the song had been “kicking around” during the sessions for Radiohead’s sixth album, Hail to the Thief (2003), but that it could not have worked as a Radiohead song.

The lyrics are about David Kelly, a British weapons expert who died, allegedly from suicide, in 2003 after telling a reporter that the British government had falsely identified weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Kelly’s body was found in the woods of Harrowdown Hill, near Yorke’s former school in Oxfordshire.

Yorke was uncomfortable about the subject matter and conscious of the late man’s grieving family, but in press interviews he stated that “not to write it would perhaps have been worse”, that it was “the most angry song” he had ever written.

mp3: Thom Yorke – Harrowdown Hill

The single was released on  7″, 12″ and CD. Here’s the other tracks that were made available:-

mp3: Thom Yorke – The Drunkk Machine
mp3: Thom Yorke – Jetstream
mp3: Thom Yorke – Harrowdown Hill (extended mix)

It entered the charts at #23, before dropping all the way down to #55 the following week and out of the Top 75 after three weeks. It’s not the most commercial of singles, but things weren’t helped by what appeared to be an unofficial radio ban here in the UK, thanks to the controversial subject matter and the fact that Thom Yorke, in all his media interviews and appearances, was openly implicating the UK government and the Ministry of Defence in the death of Dr Kelly.

JC

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