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
The song had its live premiere on February 21st 1994:

This recording comes from the May 27th 1994 show at The Astoria in London. The band would use this performance for the album, with only Thom's vocal being replaced:

The song is included on this august 1994 work-in-progress tape compilation. The handwriting is Thom's. While Side A of the cassette contains some rough mixes and lists working titles, Side B apparently has the finished tracks for the various My iron Lung singles and EPs:

Phil: Recorded live at the Astoria, so slightly erratic at points, but has a brilliant atmosphere.

Ed: Recorded live from the Astoria in May 1994. A friend said he didn't like this song because it sounds like two songs stuck together. Yeah, great!

Jonny: This was recorded live at the Astoria show in London. Only the vocals were replaced.

Colin: Actually a live track from Astoria, tarted up a bit.

Thom: We just had to fuck it up. We had to.
In November, the label previewed the cut 'My Iron Lung' on a commercial EP. The four-track disc, which was serviced to college and commercial, modern rock radio, also contains three new non-LP tracks.

"That was only meant to be a fan-based item," says Perry Watts-Russell, Capitol VP of A&R. "It wasn't a proper first single. We really didn't even pursue radio airplay for it."
Thom : "It ['Street Spirit'] was written around the time of 'My Iron Lung' and was one of those songs that completely wrote itself. It was all coming out of this one riff. I love stuff like Stereolab where they repeat riffs over and over again."
Q: "Was 'My Iron Lung' a fusion of two song ideas, or was it written initially as an entire body?"

Jonny: "I've never told anyone this, but 'My Iron Lung' was recorded live in the London Astoria and we just happened to record it onto a 24-track tape and having not done a very good version in the studio, we thought that it sounded much better from this concert, so we just used that."

Q: "So the definitive version is live?"

Jonny: "Yeah, but it doesn't sound like it because we took out the audience."

Q: "Were the two parts of 'My Iron Lung' always together or were they put together as two different song ideas?"

Jonny: "We wanted to take it somewhere else and make it slightly hysterical but only for a limited time we were just playing with the idea of tension; building up tension and releasing tension."

Q: "I think it would have been safe to just have used the first part as the song."

Jonny: "That would have ensured radio play. A lot of radio stations said they like the first part but it got too loud."
'Iron Lung' was supposed to be just another nail in the coffin.. the final nail in the coffin, really, in the coffin of the previously song that shall remain nameless." Thom offers a strained little smile before he continues. "But it just wasn't that at all... we released it because we found it very exciting when we listened to it. It was essentially a live recording tidied up, the audience taken out. We didn't went to release it sounding live and have the audience cheering... that would be really crap."

In my fruitless quest to understand the music industry, I must ask what was the point of 'Iron Lung' being released as a single only to college stations in America? It slid out and died months before The Bend's' release.

"Slid is a good word for it," laughs Thom as he stares into the distance.

When one asks why was it allowed to die, there's no straight answer. Since the band couldn't support the single, because they were finishing the album, it wasn't a priority... or something like that.

Thom mumbles, "Funny, we never got any straight answers either." He even took his questions to the top brass but that got him nothing but a reputation.

Jonny carefully recites like a child repeating a hated lesson. "It was released to colleges, and suddenly it was being played by some other stations, but there was no real release planned, but oh never mind, we'll just see what happens... it's like..." Jonny affects a totally confused air. "It's like you don't have to play it, that's all right. What? This is strange. I don't think any harm would be done by people hearing it outside of colleges. People can hear it: I'm not embarrassed by it,"

"I like it. I can hold a tune," scoffs Thom. "It's fine, bullocks, who cares." Thom and Jonny obviously do.
This US advert announced the release of the My Iron Lung EP in october 1994:

This performance was filmed for 'Nulle Part Ailleurs' on French TV station Canal+ on April 25th 1995:

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The band performed 'My Iron Lung' at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Concert on December 3rd 1995:

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