Any Radiohead fan would know that the critically-acclaimed English rock band is known for leaving songs unrecorded for years at a time. Songs like “Identikit” and “True Love Waits” from their latest LP A Moon Shaped Pool have been gestating in the band’s live repertoire since the 90’s. Even one of their standout tracks “Nude” off of their 2007 record In Rainbows was first recorded under the working title “Big Ideas (Don’t Get Any).”
Another thing that any Radiohead fan would know is that among these tracks, there is one that in particular has kept fans waiting for decades. The track “Lift” was first recorded during the sessions for the band’s landmark 1997 record OK Computer. But as the album’s birthday approaches, Radiohead announced via one of their usual cryptic tweets that a 20th anniversary reissue, titled OKNOTOK, will be coming to shelves soon, holding a final studio recording of “Lift.”
Guitarist Ed O’Brien explained what took the band so long to finally take the time to record the track. “If that song had been on [OK Computer], it would have taken us to a different place, and we’d have probably sold a lot more records, if we’d done it right, and everyone was saying this,” explained O’Brien. “If OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill, like Alanis Morrissette, it would have killed us.” The band has had a notorious history of turning down immediate star power.
Plus, apparently the original studio version didn’t live up to the band’s standards. “We didn’t do a good version, because when we got to the studio and did it on that record it was a bit like having a gun to your head, it felt like so much pressure.” In the past, he called the song a “bogshite B-side.”
It is unknown what the OKNOTOK version of “Lift” will be arranged like, in comparison to the various live versions scattered throughout YouTube. But considering O’Brien has changed his mind and began to endorse it, hopefully it’ll be pretty good.
Along with the “Lift” are two other yet unreleased songs: “I Promise” and “Man of War” (formerly known as “Big Boots”).In preparation for the reissue, Radiohead has renovated their website with OK Computer-themed artwork and text, curated by longtime collaborator Stanley Donwood and Tchock (Thom Yorke’s artist moniker).
Check out the band playing “Lift” live.
(Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat)