On this day in 1992, Radiohead released their breakthrough single, “Creep.” Though the track proved popular on American alternative rock radio it did not sell in significantly high numbers in their UK homeland until it was rereleased by EMI the following year.
To this day, “Creep” remains Radiohead’s most successful single. Albeit reluctantly. “We seemed to be living out the same four-and-a-half minutes of our lives over and over again,” commented guitarist Jonny Greenwood.
For many years, Radiohead abstained from playing “Creep” at gigs, despite fans screaming requests to perform the number. This year, however, Thom Yorke released a heavily time-stretched acoustic guitar version augmented with woozy synthesizers titled "Creep (Very 2021 Rmx).”
This uber-weary track may very well be the closest thing to how Yorke has been hearing the song for nigh on 30 years!
Although the band later expanded their sound, this bold composition – captured here in all of its raw, spine-tingling brilliance – is indicative of Radiohead’s ‘broad brushstrokes’ approach to creating highly memorable musical statements.
While the song leaps from a whisper to a howl and back again, “Creep” follows the same G, B, C, Cm chord progression throughout. Maintaining this repetitive structure the song is a masterclass on how to flesh out a basic idea with different effects, textures and dynamics in order to turn it into something very special indeed.
Buy Pablo Honey by Radiohead here.
Rod Brakes is a music writer with an expertise in all things guitar-related. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a journalist covering artists, industry pros, and gear includes writing hundreds of articles and features for the likes of Guitarist magazine, MusicRadar, and Guitar World, as well as contributions for specialist books and blogs. He is also a lifelong musician.
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