Thom Yorke has built up a repertoire of material that the majority of credible musicians would be envious of. Radiohead remains one of Britain’s finest exports, a band whose creativity has never slowed down despite thriving for decades within the mainstream. With an eclectic mix of work, there is one song that Yorke deems as his favourite, one of which he is most proud of.
There are countless tracks that Yorke could have chosen as his favourite number and, unsurprisingly, he didn’t opt to pick out ‘Creep’, a song he has been vocally hostile about over the last 25 years. Arguably Radiohead’s most popular song, the group has refused to play the 1992 number live for the majority of their career.
Rather than opting for one of the big hit singles as his number one, Yorke instead stayed true to form and opted to pick out a deep cut when asked about it in a past interview with BBC Two’s The Culture Show. The Radiohead frontman didn’t hesitate slightly before providing his answer in the shape of Kid A track ‘How To Disappear Completely’.
Delving a little deeper, the interviewer then asks Yorke why he holds this song dearest to his heart, and his answer is suitably moving: “Because it’s the most beautiful thing we ever did, I think,” he said.
Yorke has revealed previously how the inspiration for the track originated from a poignant conversation he shared with R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, the Radiohead man disclosed: “That song is about the whole period of time that OK Computer was happening. We did the Glastonbury Festival and this thing in Ireland. Something snapped in me. I just said, ‘That’s it. I can’t take it anymore.’ And more than a year later, we were still on the road. I hadn’t had time to address things. The lyrics came from something Michael Stipe said to me. I rang him and said, ‘I cannot cope with this.’ And he said, ‘Pull the shutters down and keep saying, ‘I’m not here, this is not happening.'”
He continued: “I dreamt I was floating down the Liffey and there was nothing I could do. I was flying around Dublin and I really was in the Dream. The whole song is my experiences of really floating.”
The track took years for Radiohead to perfect with the first attempt at lyrics for the song dating back all the way to 1997, with early versions of the material being played in soundchecks finding their way online in 1999 whilst the band still were tweaking the song. ‘How To Disappear Completely’ acts as an anomaly on Kid A as it is the only track born out of the OK Computer era.
Watch footage of Radiohead performing the Kid A number in Japan from 2008, below.