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Radiohead foil attempted blackmail


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Karma Police ?   🙂


Radiohead have scuppered a blackmail attempt by releasing 18 hours of music recorded during the making of their classic album OK Computer.

Tapes from the sessions were allegedly stolen last week, with hackers demanding $150,000 for their return.

Instead, the band released the tapes in full, with profits going to climate crisis activists Extinction Rebellion.

"For £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom," said guitarist Jonny Greenwood in a statement.

Released in 1997, OK Computer is often called Radiohead's masterpiece - marking a huge sonic leap forward from its equally-beloved predecessor The Bends.

The sessions reveal the painstaking work that went into the record, as the Oxford band took up residency in St Catherine's Court - actress Jane Seymour's romantic manor house in Somerset.

Among the treasures in the collection are a 12-minute version of Paranoid Android, Thom Yorke's demo recording of Karma Police and dozens of unreleased or unfinished songs.

The first disc opens with an embryonic version of Exit Music, then called Poison, with alternate lyrics.

There are also multiple takes of the "lost single" Lift - which the band omitted from OK Computer because it was "too anthemic".

"If that song had been on that album, it would have taken us to a different place," Greenwood told BBC 6 Music in 2017.

"We'd probably have sold a lot more records... [But] I think we subconsciously killed it because if OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill, like Alanis Morisette, it would have killed us."

Although the song eventually made it onto a deluxe edition of OK Computer, fans have claimed an alternate take from the leaked sessions is "probably the definitive version".

"When the band said they didn't release it because they thought they had another Creep-success level song, I wouldn't believe them off the [previously-released] version," wrote one Reddit user. "But this version I could definitely see being a big radio tune. Reminds me a lot of Bitter Sweet Symphony."

"Lift could have easily been the definitive Radiohead song in an alternate reality," added another poster. "It is wonderful as hell."

Not for public consumption

The source of the leak is unknown, but Greenwood said the music originated from singer Thom Yorke's "minidisc archive" of the recording sessions, a digital copy of which is thought to have been stolen last week.

The existence of the recording sessions was first noted on fan sites last week, and leaked in full on Friday.

Before that, the person in possession of the music was allegedly selling individual tracks for sums between $50 (for a live recording) and $800 (for a full-band studio recording), or the entire archive for $150,000.

"Instead of complaining - much - or ignoring it, we're releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion," said Greenwood in a statement.

He noted that the music was "never intended for public consumption" and was "only tangentially interesting".

The tapes are also "very, very long," he added. "Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn't it though?"

Fans have already annotated the music in an extensive Google document, detailing all the alternate lyrics and instrumental variations from the sessions.

Radiohead said the archive would only be available for the next 18 days.

Profits will go to Extinction Rebellion, which staged 10 days of marches and protests against climate change in London earlier this year.

The group describes itself as an "international movement" that uses "non-violent civil disobedience" to force ecological issues to the top of the political agenda.

The movement started in the UK in 2018 after the release of a report on global warming by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - part of the United Nations.

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Good for them.  I'm not a Radiohead fan but they've done the right thing, even though the music in question obviously wasn't considered fit for release.

I hope someone tracks the blackmailer down. What a CREEP.

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Good for them to pre-empt the theives.

I have to say I like Radiohead's early albums a lot. I know Kid A and OK Computer are meant to be their 'best' work but I still much prefer Pablo Honey and The Bends.



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Just now, pippy said:

Good for them to pre-empt the theives.

I have to say I like Radiohead's early albums a lot. I know Kid A and OK Computer are meant to be their 'best' work but I still much prefer Pablo Honey and The Bends.



Yeah I am not their biggest fan musically..  But I LOVE The Bends..  Each song on that album gets better and better and builds up..  Just awesome.  It all gets a bit weird for me after that. but while I don't like it that much I do appreciate that they are at least trying to be different and they have many hardcore fans who love them.  

Im sure they regret and care that FZ Fan cant name many of their songs..  (actually that's probably their aim  😄 )

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14 minutes ago, FZ Fan said:

Your right.

The odd thing is, being an FZ fan as you are, I would have thought that you more than anyone would appreciate them. 

The thing with Radiohead is they specifically don't want to be pop stars..  That's not their aim, to pump out anthemic type songs over and over.. It would get boring (so the Foo Fighters have proved) and they could have taken that path. They wanted to do more, be more than that, musically...  So while that sort of approach is going to mean that a lot of people think their music is weird and odd, a lot of other people will appreciate the time and effort they put in to their music.. And their approach to releasing their material. They once did an album where you paid what you thought it was worth to you. Stuff like that and what they did with this blackmail attempt and the fact they have been going for a few decades now, that's what separates them from other bands and why their fans love them. But not every one will get it, and that's cool too, theres plenty of good music for all of us.

Edited by Rabs
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