Man of War

Album: OK COMPUTER OKNOTOK 1997 2017 (2017)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was originally titled "Big Boots" and was written around the time of The Bends. It was first performed by Radiohead on October 2, 1995 at New York's Mercury Lounge. After being played 16 times in 1995 the track was discarded from the band's setlist, until 2002, when it was performed during a concert in Salamanca, Spain.
  • The song was recorded in March 1998, in Abbey Road Studios, for the soundtrack of The Avengers, but was later scrapped. The tune did feature in the 1998 tour documentary Meeting People is Easy but was never officially released until 2017 when it was one of three unreleased tracks on OKNOTOK, the 20th anniversary reissue of OK Computer.
  • The song starts off by comparing somebody to a slow-sailing Man-O-War jellyfish

    Drift all you like from ocean to ocean
    Search the whole world


    However as the tune develops we hear the typically cynical and wary lyrical content found on Radiohead's late 1990s material.

    So unplug the phones, stop all the taps
    It all comes flooding back
    To poison clouds and poisoned dwarves
  • The music video was filmed in Brooklyn, New York and helmed by skate video director Colin Read. It features a disheveled man increasingly descending into paranoia as he is followed by unknown forces.

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