Radiohead Avoided Releasing A Fan-Favorite Track Because They Were Worried It Would Make Them Popular

Contributing Writer
05.03.17 2 Comments

Radiohead recently revealed that all those mysterious posters that had their fans running around all higgledy-piggledy were hyping up a massive OK Computer reissue. Among the goodies on the 20th anniversary package are cleaned-up studio versions of unreleased tracks that fans have circulated on bootlegs for years. For example, the reverb-drenched guitar-pop strum session “Lift.”

In an interview today with BBC 6 Music, guitarist Ed O’Brien says the band killed the Bends-ian cut as they moved toward OK Computer because they were worried it would make them too popular. O’Brien said that when the band opened for Alanis Morissette — a thing that happened — they played the song and saw the effect it had on crowds. Worrying that they had another “Creep” on their hands, the band “subconsciously killed” the song to avoid reaching a level of fame they felt they couldn’t handle.

“We played that live with Alanis Morissette,” he explained. “It was a really interesting song. The audience, suddenly you’d see them get up and start grooving. It had this infectiousness. It was a big anthemic song. If that song had been on that album, it would’ve taken us to a different place, and probably we’d have sold a lot more records — if we’d done it right. And everyone was saying this. And I think we subconsciously killed it. If OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill [read: awesome], it would’ve killed us. But ‘Lift’ had this magic about it. But when we got to the studio and did it, it felt like having a gun to your head. There was so much pressure. But saying that, I’ve got a monitor mix, and it is pretty good.”

Give a fan-made remastering of the track up top a listen and see what he’s talking about.

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