Morning Mr. Magpie

Album: The King of Limbs (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • Previously titled "Morning M'Lud" and "Good Morning Mr. Magpie," and premiered by Yorke during a webcast back in 2002 as an acoustic ballad, this has been mooted for inclusion on every Radiohead album since. According to guitarist Ed O'Brien, the band worked on the tune extensively in 2005, before it finally found its way in a vastly reworked form onto The King of Limbs.
  • The magpie is a member of the crow family. Whilst other birds collect twigs for their nests, magpies have a fondness for shiny objects, and have been known to steal jewelry. This 'Thieving Magpie' reputation was augmented by Gioachino Rossini's 1817 comic opera of that name, which tells the story of a maid who was tried and found guilty for stealing silver. Later it was discovered that a magpie, which had been stealing and hiding items in the church tower, was the true culprit. Yorke alludes to the magpie's light-clawed repute when he sings, "You've got some nerve coming here / you stole it all, give it back" before adding. "You took my melody."
  • The song ends in a blur of bird song and reverb. However, like all crows, the magpie is not musical - its cry being an irritating "Ack-ack-ack-ack."
  • Other Magpie songs include:
    1994 Magpie by Blur, a B-side song to their hit single "Girls & Boys."
    2005 "Magpie" by The Mountain Goats from their album The Sunset Tree.
    2008 "Two Magpies" by The Fireman (aka Paul McCartney) from his album Electric Arguments.
    Incidentally, trivia fans, Thom Yorke has said that "Girls & Boys" is the song by another artist that he wishes he'd written.

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