Airbag

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is about a car crash Thom Yorke was in with his girlfriend in 1987. She suffered whiplash, but he was fine. Says Yorke: "Has an airbag saved my life? Nah... but I tell you something, every time you have a near accident, instead of just sighing and carrying on, you should pull over, get out of the car and run down the street screaming 'I'm BACK! I'm ALIVE! My life has started again today!' In fact, you should do that every time you get out of a car. We're just riding on those things - we're not really in control of them."
  • Yorke: "So much of the public's perception revolves around illusion. That's what Airbag is about, the illusion of safety. In reality, airbags don't really work, and they go off at random." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rob - Newport Beach, CA, for above 2
  • Radiohead first began performing this song acoustic, and the working title was "An Airbag Saved My Life," which was a reference to Indeep's 1983 Dance hit "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life."
  • Guitarist Jonny Greenwood: "'Airbag' is a classic example of Colin and Phil saying, 'Let's make it sound like DJ Shadow.' But unfortunately - or fortunately - it doesn't, because we missed again. It's that thing of lumbering around in the dark, but still being excited by what we do. We're discovering these things for the first time rather than getting the pros in to show us how to do it." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
  • This is the first song on the album OK Computer. The last song on the album, "The Tourist," is about reckless driving, which leads up to a car crash. Therefore, the album ends where it starts and makes a bizarre circle of death. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Spencer - Los Angeles, CA
  • The original title of the song was "An airbag saved my life." During an XFM Acoustic Session in October 1995, Thom Yorke said this was the title of an article in an AAA magazine that came through the post. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - West Chester, PA
  • This was built around a looped 3-second sample of drummer Phil Selway, who cited instrumental hip hop producer DJ Shadow as an inspiration. Selway explained to Humo magazine July 22, 1997: "How that man pastes rhythms to each other. The end result sounds a lot different than we intended by the way."
  • After the death of Princess Diana, the UK radio station XFM banned certain songs that might trigger people, including "Airbag."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 2

  • William Swan from Wichita, Ks, Ks"In an interstellar burst. I'm back to save the Universe" It gets stuck in your head. What a huge concept.
  • Mike from Riverside, Cagood lord this songs kicks a**. that riff in the beginning going to that beautiful A chord, whatever it is, is just amazing. great intro song on a classic album.
see more comments

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real GroupSong Writing

The leader of the Modern A Cappella movement talks about the genre.

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"They're Playing My Song

When a waitress wouldn't take him home, Jack wrote what would become one of the Eagles most enduring hits.

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song SpoofsSong Writing

When singers started spoofing their own songs on Sesame Street, the results were both educational and hilarious - here are the best of them.

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"They're Playing My Song

Chris and his wife Tina were the rhythm section for Talking Heads when they formed The Tom Tom Club. "Genius of Love" was their blockbuster, but David Byrne only mentioned it once.