Credit: Wonker/Kyono

Relive Radiohead’s impeccable cover of Neil Young song ‘On The Beach’

Thom Yorke spent much of his early career fielding questions about his likeness to one particular legendary singer-songwriter which, as many Radiohead fans will know all too well, is the great Neil Young. It was a compliment that would see Yorke investigate the singer a little further in the years that followed.

When he did, he found an artist unlike any other, a man with a golden voice and a diamond-encrusted pen. Perhaps one of the finest examples of singer-songwriter you’re likely to find. Here, Yorke pays homage to one of his heroes as Radiohead cover Neil Young song ‘On The Beach’.

The comparison between Yorke and Young dates back to one of the Radiohead frontman’s earliest demos. As a 16-year-old budding musician, he sent some home recordings into the BBC. “They said, ‘This guy sounds like Neil Young,’” Yorke told the BBC in 2008. “I was like, ‘Who is Neil Young?’”

The singer soon found himself a nearby record shop to write his wrongs and picked up Young’s 1970 LP After The Gold Rush. “I immediately fell in love with his music,” said Yorke later. “He has that soft vibrato that nobody else has. More than that, it was his attitude toward the way he laid songs down. It’s always about laying down whatever is in your head at the time and staying completely true to that, no matter what it is.”

It has been a course of devotion that Yorke pursued throughout his career with Radiohead picking up ‘Tell Me Why’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’, and ‘After The Gold Rush’ across a host of their live sets through the years. But in 2003, Yorke and Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood performed a special cover ‘On the Beach’ as part of the Gideon Coe show for BBC.

Knowing the thought that both Yorke and Greenwood put into all their work, we’d imagine it was no coincidence that the pair chose the song for the radio performance.

The song ‘On the Beach’ was, in fact, written about a radio interview{ “I went to the radio interview,” Young wrote, “but I ended up alone at the microphone/Now I’m livin’ out here on the beach/but those seagulls are still out of reach.”

The track remains a favourite among Neil Young fans, Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood included.

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