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(Credit: Michell Zappa)

Music

How Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood left Hans Zimmer starstruck

In recent years, Radiohead multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood has joined Hans Zimmer among the esteemed musicians to be commissioned for major film and television soundtrack scores. Some of Greenwood’s most notable scores include those for Phantom Thread, The Power of the Dog, and Licorice Pizza

In 2017, Greenwood and his band joined legendary composer Hans Zimmer to work on the BBC’s Blue Planet II soundtrack. They joined forces to rework Radiohead’s ‘Bloom’ for the nature documentary series. The resulting track was ‘ocean (bloom)’, which can be streamed below. 

During an interview shortly after collaborating in October 2017, Zimmer admitted to being “starstruck” when first meeting the Radiohead star. 

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“Oh, I’ll just admit it, I was a bit starstruck,” Zimmer told CBC Radio about first meeting Greenwood, “He is my favourite film composer.” He then admitted to being scared to “mess up their song because they’re not just anybody.”

Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series, so it’s great to be able to come full circle with the song and reimagine it for this incredible landmark’s sequel,” Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke said of the project.

“Hans is a prodigious composer who effortlessly straddles several musical genres, so it was liberating for us all to work with such a talent and see how he wove the sound of the series and Bloom together.”

Yorke also explained that the original Blue Planet documentary, which first aired in 2001, was a “profound, spiritual” experience for him. “This was me lying on the sofa trying to go back to sleep when I’ve been up too late with my son – seven o’clock in the morning when he was small – and it coming in and out of my subconscious,” Thom explained.

He continued: “And staying there, and you know especially stuff about the deep and these life forms they’d discovered on that series, that seemed to be the implication, that they managed to go so deep that they’d discovered all these creatures that existed they we didn’t know about.”

“That whole thing for me, the idea of discovering life that humanity doesn’t know about, is to me one of the most profound kind of things, profound concepts. Even if it’s discovering fossils, or the idea that creatures exist – that there’s a history to the place we live that we don’t know anything about – to me is the most profound, spiritual expression of humanity when we discover it.”

Listen to ‘ocean (bloom)’, Hans Zimmer’s collaboration with Radiohead for Blue Planet II, below.