My Iron Lung

Album: The Bends (1995)
Charted: 24


  • An "Iron Lung" is a cumbersome medical device used to help sick people breathe in the '50s. The lyrics reflect how restrictive the band felt when they became known simply for their hit "Creep." The song was written the day they had to drop out of the Reading Festival because of Thom Yorke's strained vocal cords. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The verses were recorded live from a 1994 MTV performance at the Astoria, London. These were then spliced together with the choruses from the earlier RAK studio version for the final recording.
  • This was featured in the 1995 movie Clueless when Tai meets Travis in the school cafeteria. The song was supposed to be used in a different scene when Alicia Silverstone's character criticizes Radiohead's music for being whiny, but "Fake Plastic Trees" was used instead.

Comments: 4

  • Bushpilot Bob from PhoenixThis song is about how Radiohead got damn sick of everyone pushing to hear Creep all the time, and they resented having to play it to make a living.
  • Joel2point0 from Nashville, Tnthis song also has metaphors on how we depend on machines
  • Bert from Pueblo, NmThis song reminds be of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." At least the intro, and the way the chorus starts with the guitar and screams.
  • Robby from New York, NyI think this song also has strong references to religion, in which an individual can feel that his source of life and vitality is a source which constantly manipulates him to live subjected to the standards of its laws and without it, the individual feels lifeless.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

Oliver LeiberSongwriter Interviews

Long before she was judging contestants on American Idol, Oliver was producing Paula Abdul. Here's how he helped turn this unknown choreographer into a star.

Bryan AdamsSongwriter Interviews

What's the deal with "Summer of '69"? Bryan explains what the song is really about, and shares more of his songwriting insights.

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.