Radiohead formed in Oxford in the early '90s, right at the peak of grunge. It was easy to chalk up the success of Pablo Honey (1993) to something of a fluke, based on the hit single "Creep" (a song Radiohead would later regret). Nonetheless, in the wake of the death of Kurt Cobain and the Brit-pop obsession of the tabloids in the mid '90s, Radiohead released the critically beloved The Bends (1995), where the dueling vocals of Thom Yorke and guitarwork of Johnny Greenwood seen as a touchtone of alternative rock in the '90s. Exhausted by success, Radiohead retreated to the former mansion of Jane Seymour to record OK Computer (1997), which showed musical ambition and slick songwriting well beyond most of Radiohead's peers. OK Computer is now widely believed to be one of the best rock album of the 1990s, and non-single "Paranoid Android" became Radiohead's signature song.

With Kid A (2000), the band changed directions yet again, abandoning nearly all traditional rock instrumentation for an emphasis on electronica. Kid A was arguably even more influential in the U.S., becoming Radiohed's first No. 1 and a touchstone of pop music in the 2000s. Victory lap Amnesiac (2001), consisting in part of Kid A outtakes, soon followed. Now at the peak of fame, Radiohead turned to politics with the Bush/Blair blasting Hail to the Thief (2003), which many saw as the time when Yorke's persona started taking over the band.


Having finished its major-label contract, the band waited to decide how to release In Rainbows (2007), eventually creating the famed "the price is up to you" online payment model. The business side of In Rainbows didn't cloud what many believe to be Radiohead's most all-encompassing album to date. ~Ethan Stanislawski


Photo Credit: Kyle Gustafson/


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