“don't leave me high, don't leave me dry”
July 14, 2015 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Rare Footage Surfaces of Thom Yorke Performing "High and Dry" With Pre-Radiohead Band [YouTube] [Video]
The origins of Radiohead's 1995 single "High and Dry" dated back to Thom Yorke's short-lived pre-Radiohead band Headless Chickens. The band only played a few shows and released one song. Redditors pointed to some rare footage of a young Yorke performing the song with that band in the late 1980s (via CoS). Video shot at Exeter University's Lemon Grove.
posted by Fizz (13 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I love, love love this stuff - the evolution of a songs performance and arrangement before the "final" version. I'm not a huge radiohead fan but I always loved this song (and prefer the more laid back radiohead approach).

Here is a version of "Melissa" by Greg and Duane Allman before it was properly recorded by the more blues infused AB Band, and I can't decide which one I prefer more.
posted by remlapm at 8:43 AM on July 14, 2015

holy shit. the tempo and the feel are early-90s-as-fuck (and i wrote that even before seeing the drummer's hair).

this could also be sped up further and turned into a decent poppunk song.
posted by entropone at 8:58 AM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

they actually *did* speed up and punk pop up "Thinking About You", or rather, the original version was a fast, noisy berk rock version, I don't imagine it'd be difficult to turn up.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:09 AM on July 14, 2015

I love, love love this stuff - the evolution of a songs performance and arrangement before the "final" version

Then you might enjoy Little Wings' Light Green Leaves, as the release is also a trilogy of sorts: the cassette, LP, and CD editions all differ in that each is progressively more developed than the one before, with the CD representing the most finished version of this material.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:58 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

omg he's so young
posted by grobstein at 11:35 AM on July 14, 2015

Thom Yorke is a song-writing genius.

But it's evident that what makes Radiohead special includes a lot of musicianship, and a lot of hard-won wisdom about song production, presentation and style.

The, like, music theory of the song is basically the same here as in the Radiohead Bends version. But the later version is just much better.
posted by grobstein at 11:40 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Man, that song got so. much. better.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:27 PM on July 14, 2015

I do wonder what it sounded like in his bedroom with an acoustic. Quite possibly it sounded a lot more like the finished version.
posted by howfar at 12:33 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

OK, everything is online: acoustic version of High and Dry by Thom Yorke (source and date unknown, sounds like a slightly hissy/noisy studio recording, but the performance would suggest it is a similar vintage to the final studio version that grobstein also linked upthread).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:03 PM on July 14, 2015

There is only one Headless Chickens, you mopey flop haired PRETENDER, yorke
posted by Sebmojo at 2:44 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

I really like both versions. I like the peppiness of this version combined with the lyrics.
posted by Corduroy at 4:48 PM on July 14, 2015

I always liked the bits of early Radiohead that were Madchester-lite shoegaze-pop, and that's exactly what this is. It's running on Happy Mondays fumes, but in a good way. It's also more Pavement-like than I would have anticipated; wonder if Malkmus/Kannberg were fans of UK post-post-punk as well.
posted by mirepoix at 11:10 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

True story: Radiohead's name comes from "Radio Head", a song from Talking Head's True Stories album. Thatsong was inspired by a true story told to David Byrne by a man who supposedly possessed (and still does possess) clairvoyant powers.

That man? Stephen "Ned Ryerson" Tobolowsky.

This is revealed in his interview on the Nerdist (all the interviews on the Nerdist are pretty good but this one is amazing).

I know this is pretty tangential to this FPP but it is one of the most remarkable facts about Radiohead that I know and I'm going to tell people about it whenever anyone mentions Radiohead.
posted by nosh, daven, shtup at 6:41 AM on July 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

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