Revisit Radiohead’s touching cover of Björk’s ‘Unravel’ back in 2007
When Radiohead announced that they would be opening the Radiohead Public Library , a place where they would be archiving all of the footage into one handy spot for their fans, we naturally grew rather excited.
The group haven’t just put out countless classic albums, they’ve also done their fair share of special performances. One such performance involved a ropey ‘webcast’ and a cover of a beautiful song by Björk.
Easily regarded as two of the most creative figures in modern music, Radiohead and Björk are two in a million. The huge admiration frontman Thom York holds for Björk is no secret, and in a 2007 webcast, we got a taste of just that as Yorke alongside his Radiohead bandmates covered Björk’s enigmatic song ‘Unravel’.
Taken from the Icelandic singer’s glorious 1997 album Homogenic, Yorke and the band deliver a quite spellbinding performance of the track as part of a live webcast, which they unveiled as the height of technology in 2007.
At the time it was a somewhat revolutionary idea as the band took the chance to connect with fans directly over the internet and offer them some of their most memorable songs alongside some equally brilliant covers. There were some beautiful moments on the now-iconic webcast including a cover of The SXMiths’ ‘Headmasters Ritual and of Joy Division’s ‘Ceremony’. But one stood out above the rest.
While the technology they were using was a little ahead of its time—it’s Radiohead so of course, it was—the band actually looked backwards for their content. Björk’s ‘Unravel’ didn’t just represent a song for the band to work their magic on but was actually quoted as being one of Thom Yorke’s favourite.
The celebrated lead singer admitted to SPIN magazine back in 2006 “I’m trying to get Radiohead to do a cover because I think it’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.” It looks like he got his way as only a year later they were taking on the stunning track.
The video below is a little scratchy but the audio is perfect and any extra sonic inflexions over time have actually added to the art as a whole.
Sure Thom isn’t note-perfect (has he ever been?) but the sentiment of the song, his love of the music as well as the original artist, and ultimately, the intensely beautiful delivery means this video simply has to be seen.