When asked about the song in 1993, lead singer Thom Yorke said, "I have a real problem being a man in the '90s… Any man with any sensitivity or conscience toward the opposite sex would have a problem. To actually assert yourself in a masculine way without looking like you're in a hard-rock band is a very difficult thing to do… It comes back to the music we write, which is not effeminate, but it's not brutal in its arrogance. It is one of the things I'm always trying: To assert a sexual persona and on the other hand trying desperately to negate it."
On the other hand, guitarist/keyboardist Jonny Greenwood said the song was in fact a happy song about "recognizing what you are."
Bertrand - Paris, France
Yorke says this is about being in love with someone, but not feeling good enough. He describes the feeling as, "There's the beautiful people and then there's the rest of us."
Yorke wrote this in 1987 while he was a student at Exeter University in England. He first recorded it acoustic.
This was written before the band formed. Yorke gave his demo version to Colin Greenwood, who joined him and helped put the band together.
This wasn't released in the US until Radiohead's debut album in 1993. The band finished college and signed their record deal in 1991.
Yorke based this on a song called "The Air That I Breathe
," which was written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood in 1972. After "Creep" was released, Radiohead agreed to share the songwriting royalties, so this is credited to Yorke, Hammond and Hazlewood.
This did well in the US, but not in their native England. When they released their third album, O.K. Computer, Radiohead was huge in England but not in the US.
On the album version, Thom Yorke sings, "You're so f--king special." For radio, he recut it as, "You're so very special." Yorke regrets changing the line for the radio version, saying it disturbed the "sentiment of the song." According to him, the song lost its anger as a result.
According to Q
magazine April 2008, the recording of this song came about as a result of producers Sean Slade and Paul Q Kolderie struggling with "Inside My Head" and "Lurgee
." They remembered a track that that the band had played in rehearsal, introduced by Yorke as "our Scott Walker song." This portrait of an outsider was then recorded in one take.
The video, directed by Brett Turnbull, was recorded at a club in Oxford called The Zodiac.
One of the extras in the crowd scenes is a teenage Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet. The producer and DJ has remixed Thom Yorke and Radiohead tracks and also supported Radiohead on tour.
This is nicknamed "Crap" by the band due its slacker-anthem ubiquity.
When this was first released in England in 1992, the song flopped. It did well when it was re-released a year later, after Radiohead grew a fan base.
The three blasts of guitar noise that precede the chorus was the result of Jonny Greenwood trying to sabotage a tune he considered too "wimpy."
Yorke claims he received fan mail from "murderers" saying how much they could relate to this song.
Prince performed this at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2008. He also played Sarah McLachlan's "Angel
" and The Beatles' "Come Together
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The song returned to the UK singles chart in August 2010 after X-Factor auditionee Hollie Burns performed it on the show.
According to the book Radiohead: Hysterical and Useless
, this song was inspired by Thom's obsession with a stranger. He was infatuated with a woman who was out of his league, who he'd never met but frequently saw in bars, and he found himself following her around. When he finally got himself drunk enough to build up the courage to confess his obsession, she freaked out.
Melissa - Istanbul, Turkey
The first country this charted in was Israel.
Lea Michele and Dean Geyer performed this on Glee in the 2013 episode "Guilty Pleasures."
This was featured on the TV series Community in the 2014 episode "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics."
Charlotte Church cites this as the song she wished she'd written. "It's just transcended all musical boundaries," she told NME. "People who are into hip-hop or hard house or whatever like it. There's just something about that song that, no matter who you are, you're going to respond pretty positively to it - especially in a festival situation."