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Unreleased Radiohead song kept locked in vault for 20 years for safety of the band

By | Published on Thursday 4 May 2017


Hey, so you remember how Radiohead announced that they’re bringing out a 20th anniversary version of ‘OK Computer’ with three previously unreleased songs on it? You probably thought to yourself, “if they haven’t released those songs for 20 years, they’re probably not much good”. But you are wrong. At least one of those songs was too good to release before now.

Speaking to BBC Radio 6 Music, the band’s Ed O’Brien revealed that the band had kept the too good song, ‘Lift’, under wraps because they were worried it would make them too popular. Initial testing on Alanis Morissette’s audience when they supported her in the US in 1996 proved to them that it was just too dangerous.

“We played [‘Lift’] live with Alanis Morissette”, said O’Brien. “It was a really interesting song. The audience – suddenly you’d see them get up and start grooving. It had this infectiousness. It was a big anthemic song. If that song had been on that album, it would’ve taken us to a different place, and probably we’d have sold a lot more records – if we’d done it right. And everyone was saying this. And I think we subconsciously killed it”.

“If ‘OK Computer’ had been like a ‘Jagged Little Pill’, it would’ve killed us”, he continued. “But ‘Lift’ had this magic about it. But when we got to the studio and did it, it felt like having a gun to your head. There was so much pressure”.

So, now you know. Thinking about it, I should have gone with my original plan of writing a report titled ‘We all forgot Radiohead supported Alanis Morissette’.

Whatever, listen to Ed O’Brien talking here: