Vocalist James Dean Bradfield explained to Q magazine June 2009 that this song "deals with how we've all become such voyeurs and want to observe another fail."
Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist who is best known for his popular account of cosmology A Brief History of Time and his explanations concerning black holes and the Big Bang. From his early 20s Hawking has suffered from a neuromuscular dystrophy that has left him almost completely paralyzed.
The lyric also refers to the wrestler Giant Haystacks, who was a household name during the 1970s and 1980s. He died of cancer aged 52 in 1998.
Bassist Nicky Wire told the NME May 16, 2009 that the audio sample on this track comes from "a film called The Sun about the Emperor Hirohito. We just felt it fitted. The actual translation is just 'turn the radio up, turn the radio up'."
"Crank That (Soulja Boy)" was the most successful digital track of 2007 in the US with 2,909,000 downloads. On January 6, 2008 it became the first song ever to sell 3 million digital copies in the States.