Watch pre-fame Thom Yorke singing ‘High and Dry’ in the 1980s with his band the Headless Chickens
Before Thom Yorke reached worldwide acclaim with Oxford band a college dorm room stalwarts Radiohead, he was running around cluelessly playing shows at an alarming rate. His band, the Headless Chickens, would at least provide him with a platform to begin his journey.
Never one to avoid the redevelopment and redefining of their art, it has come to our attention that Radiohead’s lead singer, Thom Yorke, had actually premiered the iconic indie-hit ‘High and Dry’ with his old band back in the 1980s—and we have the footage.
While the track does hold a resemblance to the eventual 1990s hit for Radiohead, it is missing the certain qualities which have made it one of the greatest alt-rock songs were ever written. Namely the rest of the band which would go on to define the ’90s.
The footage was reportedly shot in the late ’80s, shows Yorke doing his best to add some intelligence to the ramshackle rabble of riffs. Despite the finishing the song requires, it can still be easily identified, with its rousing chorus, as 1995 The Bends song.
Radiohead’s history of redeveloping songs from their past is something Yorke and Co. have never shied away from. Not only did ‘High and Dry’ get a reboot for The Bends but 1997 song ‘Nude’ featured on 2007 effort In Rainbows album and 1996 track ‘Lift’ also got a recent reboot. Jonny Greenwood, in fact, was once quoted as saying “when the idea is right, it stays right. It doesn’t really matter in which form.”
It makes sense then that a track written with Thom’s old band back at Exeter University in the ’80s could be redefined and developed by Radiohead to be released into the world as the fully fledged smash some years later.
But for now, let us all take a trip back in time to back in the glory of ’80s Thom Yorke.