Daily Battles

Album: Motherless Brooklyn (2019)


  • In 2009, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke formed a band with a bunch of musician friends, including Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, called Atoms For Peace. They toured briefly and released one album, AMOK, before parting ways.

    Yorke and Flea reunited to record this song for the Edward Norton film Motherless Brooklyn. Flea not only laid down the song's waltzing bass line, but also contributed horns. The RHCP bassist is no stranger to the instrument; he was a trumpet prodigy in his younger days with dreams of being in a famous jazz band. Flea has previously played the trumpet on tunes for Mars Volta and Jane's Addiction as well as several of this own group's tracks.
  • Norton stars in Motherless Brooklyn as Lionel Essrog, a Tourette's-stricken detective in 1950s New York City. The actor courted Yorke regarding a contribution for the movie, telling Rolling Stone, "I wanted Thom to write an old-world melancholy ballad, and I wanted his voice to be the properties for Lionel's voice."

    Norton emailed Yorke the request and the Motherless Brooklyn script; a fortnight later he received an email from the Radiohead singer with the song "Daily Battles" attached.
  • The song features in a crucial scene in the movie where Lionel and a character played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw go to a jazz club. Norton enlisted jazz musician Wynton Marsalis to rearrange "Daily Battles" as a ballad reminiscent of 1950s Miles Davis.

    "We wanted the characters to dance to a ballad and we were trying to think what to do; we didn't want to do a famous Miles Davis track or anything like that. So I played Wynton Thom's song and he said 'That's a really pretty tune,'" Norton said. "Wynton, two days later, came back with this arrangement."
  • Thom Yorke played the song live for the first time during his show at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on October 29, 2019.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets

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.

Dave Mason

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The Devil

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The DevilSong Writing

Just how much did these monsters of rock dabble in the occult?

Randy Houser

Randy HouserSongwriter Interviews

The "How Country Feels" singer talks Skynyrd and songwriting.

Incongruent Opening Acts

Incongruent Opening ActsSong Writing

Here's what happens when an opening act is really out of place with the headliner, like when Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

Evolution Of The Prince Symbol

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.