The King of Limbs is the eighth studio album by English alternative rock band Radiohead. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it was initially released as a download in MP3 and WAV formats, followed by a physical CD a month later. "Lotus Flower" was chosen by the group as the first single from the album. It was made available on February 18, 2011 when Radiohead's official blog published the song with an accompanying video, followed by a post announcing the release of the album.
The song was debuted by Thom Yorke at a warm-up show with his other band Atoms For Peace on October 2, 2009 at the Echoplex in Los Angeles. Radiohead first performed the track during a January 2010 Haiti benefit concert in Los Angeles.
The Lotus Flower (also known as Sacred Lotus) is an aquatic perennial, which is the national flower of both India and Vietnam. From ancient times it has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions representing the virtue of sexual purity and in the classical literature of many Asian cultures the lotus was often used in verse as an allegory for ideal feminine attributes. The flowers, seeds, roots and young leaves are all edible and under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years. A 1300-yr-old lotus fruit, recovered from a dry lakebed in north-eastern China, is the oldest germinated and directly carbon-dated fruit known.
The album's title refers to an oak tree in Wiltshire's Savernake Forest, which is thought to be 1,000-years-old. The tree is located 3 miles from Tottenham Court House, where Radiohead recorded part of their previous album, In Rainbows.
The song's black and white music video shows a behatted Thom Yorke dancing and singing. It was produced and directed by Garth Jennings and choreographed by Wayne McGregor.