Top 10 Radiohead B-sides (in no particular order)

5 Jun



In honor of Radiohead officially becoming “Dad Rock”with the release of A Moon Shaped Pool, I wanted to take a second and celebrate their immense songwriting catalog. I hate to say it, but this is their All That You Can’t Leave Behind (U2’s tenth album while AMSP is Radiohead’s 9th LP). It happens though, everyone loses their fastball at one time or another, even writers. It is crazy to cull the archives and look at just how many good songs were not good enough to make their albums.  It really goes to show how productive the band was from 1995 to 2001 (Bends, then OK Computer, but I’ve always thought there could have been 3 albums from Kid-A/Amnesiac era).


Bishop’s Robes When I went off to college, I was thrilled to meet a guy in my dorm who was an even bigger Radiohead fan than I was. He made me a CD with all of the B-sides from their (then) 3 albums. From the period between the Bends and OK Computer, this was immediately one of my favorites.

Gagging Order One of the prettiest songs from the Hail To The Thief era. The band decided it was better off being just a B-side. Listening to the album, you can see that it doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the playlist, but that doesn’t change how beautiful it is.

India Rubber A true throwaway that never really went anywhere. Every time I hear this song, I want to throw on my Chuck Taylors, blue jeans, and my old Speed Racer T-shirt. This was also the first time I heard the word “supplicate”.

Trickster  A great one from the Bends era, that has that pure 90’s guitar sound. I wouldn’t have complained if this were included on the album.

Pearly OK Computer could have been a bloated double album like  the Smashing Pumpkins’ Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness, but instead Radiohead released a bunch of EP’s and B-sides to accompany the album. A pretty smart move in my opinion. This period also featured my favorite cover art by Stanley Donwood. I would get chills looking at the album art as I spaced out on my headphones.

Worrywort This one sounds like a video game. Very mellow, but also a good message in the lyrics. I spent a great deal of my early 20’s with the Amnesiac B-sides playing through my earphones.

Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong This one is a slow build, but its climax is glorious. I may or may not have put this on a mix CD for a girl in college.

Fog  Probably the second best B-side the band has ever done. For some reason they really don’t dig the studio version–which I love. “Hey man!You like Radiohead? Have you ever heard the studio version of Fog? I mean have you ever heard the studio version of Fog….. ON WEEEEEDDD?”

Talk show Host The first time I heard this song was on a field trip to Houston. One of the girls in the van convinced the business teacher to put the Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack. I dug it immediately,( but was still a closet Radiohead fan) so I filed it to memory, and bought the cassette tape at Sam Goody the following week. Probably one of the sexiest songs ever written. The girls in the audience went crazy when they played this on the OK Computer tour.

Million Dollar Question  Maybe the best B-side from Pablo Honey. The bassline during the bridge is phenomenal. The breakdown at the end is pretty fun as well.



Honorable Mention

Banana Co. This one has that trademark Jonny Greenwood guitar solo that earmarks the mid 90’s era. Its not their best B-side, but its a hard one for me to skip when it comes up on a playlist.

Butcher This is a good one from the King of Limbs sessions. Instead of doing a full album with everything they recorded this session, they put out a couple of EP’s to accompany the album. This song may have been as good as anything from The King of Limbs

Lull  (4:27) A great song to wake up to in the morning. This was usually the first thing I heard before heading off to Biology class.

I Will (L.A. Version)  My preference to the one released on the Hail to the Thief album. Colin Greenwood’s bass playing adds another dimension to it. They probably took it out because it sounded too much like something they would play.

Transatlantic Drawl Feedback, and a killer bassline make this song a nice change of pace for the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions. They do get a little weird with some effects at the end. I think my brain would have exploded had I heard this on either album.

How I Made My Millions One of the more beautiful songs to never be developed. The band says they simply can’t add anything to it.

Palo Alto An upbeat rocker that is a great number to throw on during your Saturday morning cleaning.

Cuttooth The B-side that bred the lyrics to Myxomatosis. Good work by the rhythm section on this one.

Meeting in The Aisle Precursor to the direction that the band was going during the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions.

Kinetic A very haunting industrial track. Its a grower for sure. Best listened to on headphones.

Maquiladora This song really captures the three guitar attack best.

Yes I am This is nice groove with a little bit of whine and cheese to it. Jonny’s guitar playing provides a nice edge to it that keeps it from sounding like old Pavement.

Permanent Daylight This was before they killed their guitars, played super repetitive melodies on piano, and built their songs around that riff. This is another echo of a distant time, evoking a bit of Sonic Youth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: