Radiohead are starting to accept their role as rock elder statesmen. The quintet has for decades infamously micromanaged their career.
There was the period where they didn’t play “Creep” live because it was too popular. They stepped away from writing anthems after their sophomore LP The Bends was met with applause.
They got stranger after finding arena-level sales with the cinematic OK Computer.
Fans have simply gotten used to the band basically ‘saying ok you like that, well we have to figure out something else.’
Life as a Radiohead fan can be a challenging affair.
This post started out with the word acceptance. Its key because the rumor is true that the vault classic “Lift” will be issued properly for mass distribution.
The story behind “Lift” is that it was originally conceived somewhere between the The Bends and Ok Computer.
Radiohead tested the song live and the response was so fantastic that the band possibly shelved the track for fear that it would make them too popular.
For years that has been urban legend, yet the widely circulated demo of the song gives credence to the theory.
“Lift” has special written all over it. The earnest lyrics, the steady tempo and the musical arrangement showcases a band that was hitting its stride as songwriters.
Perhaps in fear that they had another “Creep” on their hands, the song went ignored at subsequent recording sessions.
As guitarist Ed’ O Brian told the BBC, the chemistry between the song and the audience was immediately obvious.
“We played that live with Alanis Morissette, O’ Brien said. “ 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 [as popular as Morissette’s] Jagged Little Pill, 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.”
On June 23,“Lift” will be featured as a part of the official reissue of OK Computer to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of its release.
Entitled OKNOTOK, the collection will be massive.
“Lift” will join two other unreleased songs in “Man of War” (a.k.a. “Big Boots”) and “I Promise” as the new songs while others get the retouch treatment.
In the meantime, the bootlegs and live recordings are being away for a bit to get primed for the official version of the song that could have lifted Radiohead to infinity and beyond.