Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead
Album: The BendsReleased: 1995Charted:
According to Thom Yorke, this is a song about an area in east London called Canary Wharf, which was built on unused wasteland by the docks of the Thames. The area was supposed to be a major business district, but it was hurt by a market downturn in the '90s. Canary Wharf was landscaped with a lot of artificial plants, which is where the title came from.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Yorke said that this was the song where he found his lyrical voice. He cut the vocal, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, in one take, then the band filled in its parts around him. Yorke said the song began as "A very nice melody which I had no idea what to do with, then you wake up and find your head singing some words to it."
This was featured in the 1995 film Clueless
The band were finding it difficult to nail this song and decided to take a break and catch a Jeff Buckley gig at Highbury. When they returned to the studio mesmerized by Buckley's set, Yorke sang the song twice before breaking down into tears.
According to Q magazine April 2008, Jonny Greenwood played on this an old Hammond organ, whose tone controls required resetting after every bar.