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Radiohead
by Lisa Verrico



AT THE START of September, Oxford five-piece Radiohead re-released last year's single, ‘Creep’ in the UK, and made a wish. In July this song had gone into the Top 40 in the US Billboard charts, earned them an appearance on the Arsenio Hall show and was recently responsible for their album, Pablo Honey, gaining American gold disc status of half-a-million sales. When first released in the UK however, ‘Creep’ failed even to chart, and two subsequent singles - 'Anyone Can Play Guitar’ (a minor hit) and ‘Pop Is Dead' - also failed to emulate their Stateside success on these shores.
"We did all originally agree not to re-release ‘Creep'," says bass player Colin Greenwood, “but after doing so well in America, there was tremendous pressure from radio people, the press, the record company, even our fans, to put it out again.”
All were vindicated when ‘Creep’ promptly soared straight into the Top Ten, but it's done little to alleviate the band's antipathy towards British radio, and the monopoly they feel Radio One holds over pop music. In fact, they maintain that it was the station's refusal to play ‘Creep’ (even re-recorded with the word ‘fuck’ removed from the chorus) which has so far stifled their success in this country.
"In Britain, there's only the Radio One A-list and B-list,” claims guitarist Jonny Greenwood, Colin's brother. “Popular demand means nothing. In America, records grow on the radio. If they're requested a lot, they're playlisted and picked up by other stations. However, even Radiohead must admit that American radio isn't perfect:' We're always being asked to do IDs,” says Jonny. “Yesterday, I got this fax saying: ‘Please record the following message: Hi, I'm Jonny from Radiohead. You're listening to those crazy heads on the radio and hey, we're creeps'.”
“They love all those phrases that you wouldn't get away with over here,' continues Colin. “They’ve never heard of Smashie and Nicey so if you say things like ‘It rocks!‘ and ‘Too right, mate’, they think you're great.”
Nevertheless, having a major hit must have given the band a lot of confidence. ‘Not at all,’ claims Colin. ‘Things still look very different for us over here, while in America, you probably have to sell between one and three million records before anyone knows who you are. But at least it means we won't be dropped straight away by EMI. I don't think...”