It only took 20 years but Radiohead’s always-down-to-sleuth fans finally found the location of the photo used for the cover art of their landmark album OK Computer.
After the band shared earlier versions of the art in celebration of the album’s upcoming anniversary, Reddit user Jordan117 enlisted the help of a forum of highway geeks to try and find the location of the washed-out interchange. He quickly had an answer from AARoads.com forum reader MapMikey. The photo is an I-84 in Hartford, CT, likely taken from the window of a nearby Hilton hotel.
Mikey explained how he worked it out.
“Took about 10 minutes,” he wrote. “The middle BGS [Big Green Sign] has a two word control city with just a single letter as the first word. The BGS on the right has a two word city but two actual words. I figured that it was east of the Mississippi because of the (IMO) tight footprint of the interchange. So, what interstate junctions in the east might fit the that BGS criteria? E Hartford and New Haven.”
Jordan117 took that info and cross-referenced it with Google Earth to figure out that the shot was taken in the nearby hotel. And he cross-referenced that info with the band’s gig schedule in 1996 to figure out the date that the photo was likely taken: August 20, 1996.
In a post revealing the find to Reddit’s Radiohead forum, he joked that he’s off to “figure out where the heck that Kid A mountain range is.”