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Thom Yorke (Pic: YouTube)
Thom Yorke (Pic: YouTube)

This is a remarkable piece of footage for any Radiohead fan. It depicts the young Thom Yorke playing an early version of Radiohead’s “High and Dry,” with his college band Headless Chickens in the very early ’90s.

And it’s a very college band affair. The keyboard player rolling a cigarette between songs, the general aversion to facing the front of the stage in case anyone might be looking, and the decision to play hard and loud and fast and hope for the best.

This will have been after leaving his school band On A Friday behind to embark on his studies at Exeter university, although he later returned to their ranks, bringing his songs with him, and it’s that group of school friends who eventually became Radiohead.

None of the spacious beauty of the Radiohead version has been introduced to the song as yet, and this is probably because of the youth and inexperience of the musicians involved. If you were looking for a clue as to the kind of contemporary arrangement the band may have been going for, those frantically scrubbed guitars over a busy drummer are very similar to the Wedding Present:

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By Fraser McAlpine