Main Index Pablo Honey The Bends OK Computer Kid A Amnesiac Hail to the Thief In Rainbows The King of Limbs A Moon Shaped Pool Thom Yorke Jonny Greenwood Ed O'Brien Colin Greenwood Philip Selway
In the late 1990s Thom got deeply interested in Buddhism, and this quote from Hermann Hesse's novel 'Siddharta' appeared in the imaginery prisons section of radiohead.com at the time Amnesiac was released in spring 2001.
The "river/waterfall" imagery is used in the lyrics of three songs on Amnesiac ('Pyramid Song'/'I Might Be Wrong'/'Like Spinning Plates'), which are placed at the beginning, in the middle, and the end of the album. In all three instances this quote may have been part of the inspiration:




"They all became part of the river. It was the goal of all of them, yearning, desiring, suffering; and the river's voice was full of longing, full of smarting woe, full of insatiable desire. The river flowed on towards to it's goal. Siddartha saw the river hasten, made up of himself and his relatives and all the people he had ever seen. All the waves and water hastened, suffering, towards goals, many goals, to the waterfall, to the sea, to the current, to the ocean and all the goals were reached and each one was succeeded by another. The water changed to vapour and rose, became rain and came down again, became spring, brook and river, changed anew, flowed anew. But the yearning voice had altered. It still echoed sorrowfully, searchingly but other voices accompanied it, voices of pleasure and sorrow, good and evil voices, laughing and lamenting voices, hundreds of voices, thousands of voices............."
Siddartha
Herman Hesse


A few entries from Ed's Diary mention an untitled song that could well be 'I Might Be Wrong', a title that isn't mentioned once throughout the diary, and also doesn't appear on the list of songs the band was working on in early march 2000. There is a chance that the song was recorded after Ed had written the final diary entry in june 2000, in sessions held to finish tracks for Amnesiac, but this hasn't been clarified yet. In the meantime one can assume that 'I Might Be Wrong' could well be the song Ed refers to in these two entries, and that it simply had no title yet:
wednesday, february 23rd 2000
listen to 'cuttooth' and it sounds fucking great. graham, our new engineer, earns his spurs by doing some great tape editing......which involves cutting the master tape at a particular place in the song and attaching another piece of tape from another version of the song. a bit more complicated from the days when your tape recorder chewed up your favourite 'madness' tape and you had to get out the old tape splicing kit and when finally fixed there was a section missing in the second chorus of 'embarassment' ......no very different from those days.

anyway coz fixed up his fantastic driving bass thing....thom did a cool synth pass...and it's quite fast for us.
monday, march 6th 2000
we spent alot of time last week 'throwing shit' (jonny specifically said he was sick of hearing these very words today) at 'i will'. minor panics all round about completing things.....our perennial fear/problem....'morning bell-copenhagen', nigel did some very nice pro-tooling on some complete gibberish that i played. phil did some drums downstairs on the track that has no name.
thursday, march 9th 2000
arrived at the studio and some brilliant stuff had been done last night. cozzie finished off his amazing bass thing on the song with no name......bass musos won't believe it. jonny did some cool guitar on 'up on the ladder'. after yesterday it was nice to do some playing ...the sun shone and it feels like spring is on its way. more things on 'up...'
This page appeared in radiohead.com during the Kid A/Amnesiac period under the title 'deciduous'. The lyrics seen here are much closer to what Thoms sings in the live versions from september 2000 onwards than what you hear in the album version, which leads to the assumption that this page was created sometime after the vocal for the album version had been recorded:

i might be wrong i could have sworn i saw a light coming on.
i used to think there was no future left at all i used to think.

start again begin again.
lets go down the waterfall
have ourselves a good time
its nothing at all
nothing at all
nothing at all.

what would i do? what
if i did not have you?
open up and let me in. lets go down the waterfall
think about the the good things
and never look back and never look back and never look back


/
the waves go out come in again /

The song was premiered as a (rather slow) solo acoustic rendition by Thom on june 19th 2000 in Monza, Italy during the final encore. He probably only played the song because he completely forgot the lyrics to 'Killer Cars', even though the audience tried to help him out. So instead, he spontaneously launched into this to finish the concert. The lyrics differ to the album version: "think about the good times" (which was still seen in a slight variation in the webpage above) does not appear anymore in this premiere or any other later live version, while "start again, begin again" is not featured in the album version, but in all live versions. The lines "open up and let me in" and "never look back" do appear in the album version (the latter at a different position, though) and in all later full band performances, so it's likely that Thom simply forgot them in this impromptu rendition:
I might be wrong
I might be wrong
I could've sworn I saw a light coming on

I used to think
I used to think
there was no future left at all
I used to think

start again, begin again
let's go down the waterfall
have ourselves a good time, it's nothing at all
nothing at all

what would I do
what would I do
if I did not have you

start again, begin again
let's go down the waterfall
have ourselves a good time, it's nothing at all
nothing at all
nothing at all
A page from the Amnesiac artwork, most of which Thom and Stanley created in the autumn and winter of 2001, features a few lines from the lyrics at the bottom:

Best of all is 'I Might Be Wrong': basically just a Thom Yorke home demo with a drum machine that Jonny Greenwood personally built and an exquisitely serpentine bass line from his brother who "had it in mind that I was Bernard Edwards that night". Over an eerie, trance-like metallic beat and a venomous-sounding guitar riff, Yorke sings in a chillingly sweet falsetto as though his voice is a soprano saxophone.
Q: "I Might Be Wrong really conveys that feeling well, Something life-changing is obviously going on but you don't tell us exactly what it is."

Thom: (Half-sings) "'I used to think there was nothing left at all.' It's a document of a complete crisis point, basically. I live on a beach and one night I went out on my own and looked back at the house and even though I knew there was nobody there, I could see a figure walking about inside. Then I went back to the house and recorded that track with this presence still there."

Q: "This was some sort of stalker?"

Thom: "No, it was all in my mind, as usual (laughs). The song really comes as much from what my long-term partner Rachel was saying to me, like she does all the time, "Be proud of what you've done. Don't look back and just carry on like nothing's happened. Just let the bad stuff go." When someone's constantly trying to help you out and you're trying to express something really awful, you're desperately trying to sort yourself out and you can't - you just can't. And then one day you finally hear them - you finally understand, after months and months of utter fucking torment: that's what that song is about."
Lyric Lounge: Radiohead's Thom Yorke tells listeners they might be wrong

Tess Enright, 18

"It's about a past relationship that was really bad. But Yorke's getting over it. When he sees the light, he decides to move on w/ someone new. The waterfall symbolizes a rebirth for him so he's able to forget about the past. And the 'open up and let me in line' is kinda of sexual."

Yorke's response: "Well done! You have one side of it correct. There are, as always, other aspects. I'm just a receiver being beamed messages from the cosmos. Who am I to reason w/ them?" Rating: 9/10

Max Greene, 18

"Yorke is talking about a relationship that he realizes he's sabotaged. If he just goes down the waterfall and lets things happen as they May, he'll have a lot more fun. Thought he's been through a serious breakup, he is pretty optimistic about the future."

Yorke's response: "Trying to be optimistic, yes, but it's not as personal as you imagine. Confusing, Max. Sorry." Rating 5/10

Jamal Thomas, 18

"I think the song is about alcohol. When Yorke says 'Open up and let me in,' that's booze talking. He's going on another partying binge and the waterfall symbolizes a trip he's on. He's drunk, so he's basically happy. But when he stops drinking, he gets depressed."

Yorke's response: "Oops, I think you May have missed the point. Or hand on, Maybe not. The 'open up' but is sort of the rush you get, but it's also your lover talking. it's about dancing and talking and forgetting. And it's the time when you stop drinking get depressed and your brains turn to putty." Rating: 6/10

Eric Reynolds, 18

"The song is about the merging of life and death and getting past your mistakes. Yorke questions what comes in the afterlife. The waterfall represents moving on to the next world, and when he sees the light he thinks he May have seen death. but then he realizes there is a future and that he wants to live life to the fullest."

Yorke's response: "That's good. I spent a lot of time watching things die. Walking a lot in vast landscapes, watching the seasons change, ancient rocks, rotting carcasses, flowers blossoming, rivers gurgling. I was reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead as well." Rating: 11/10

The Real Deal

"It's funny, this song was first-take words and singing, and I can't even remember doing it, except for having the feeling of someone watching over me," says Yorke. "Regretting past actions is a trap that can destroy you. mistakes make you realize that you always have to keep learning, and it's only pride that stops you. So much for analysis. Was it good for you?"
As pointed out above, the lyrics were different in the live performances compared to the album version. In the first full band versions the last verse would end on "it's nothing at all", but since october 2000 it was replaced with "never look back". And though the third line of that verse would always keep alternating between "have ourselves a good time, it's nothing at all" and "have ourselves a good time and never look back", the lyrics below are the most common ones for live performances of 'I Might Be Wrong'. This recording comes from the june 9th 2001 appearance at 'Later... with Jools Holland':
I might be wrong
I might be wrong
I could've sworn I saw a light coming on

I used to think
I used to think
there was no future left at all
I used to think

open up and let me in
let's go down the waterfall
have ourselves a good time, it's nothing at all
nothing at all

what would I do
what would I do
if I did not have you

start again, begin again
let's go down the waterfall
have ourselves a good time, it's nothing at all
never look back
never look back

the waves go out and come in again
the waves go out and come in again
The performance from july 7th 2001 in Oxford was released on I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings. This version is coupled here with low quality footage from the gig, which was seen on the big screens next to the stage:

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'I Might Be Wrong' was not performed during the first half of touring for In Rainbows.
As part of the initial touring for the "Atoms For Peace" project, the song was played once during Thom's solo acoustic section. Radiohead then also performed it at the Big Chill Festival.
Live performances #138 to #146 during the touring for The King of Limbs:
138. june 28th 2011 Glastonbury Festival Pilton UK Link
Live performances #147 to #158 during the touring for The King of Limbs: