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The song was inspired by an extremely negative review of Radiohead's july 7th 2001 gig in their hometown Oxford. That review upset Thom especially, because that show had been one of the truly great moments for the band, the memory of which was now ruined permanently, hence lines like "you had to piss on our parade/you had to shred our big day".

This early draft of lyrics was added by Thom at the bottom of a lyric sheet that also featured the finished lyrics of the song. He used this sheet during the summer 2002 shows in Spain and Portugal, apparently he couldn't remember all the lyrics yet. At some point, this piece of paper was fortunately thrown into the audience:

go ahead the stage is yours.
if you think you can do better
you used to be alright, what-happened?
keep moving or you r dead. keep moving or you r dead.
how i wish you'd stay out of my face.
there's always someone spoils the party
just you wait till your chained down
worried and unhinged
you have really gone and done it now
just a trick to make you stupid
all these sad heroics
let me tell you how it really is
we are here to spoil your party
empty vessels make the most noise
survival of the fittest
wading through the marshes
hypocrits, opportunists,
userers flatterers and thiefs.
im sick of all your bullshit.
im sick of all these fucking mindgames.
who invited you anyway?
When played on the Iberian Tour in 2002, the song featured a few lyrical and structural differences. The second 'You had to piss on our parade' chorus, that is featured here, was still part of the song when the band recorded it in L.A. two months later, but it got edited out from the final version to shorten the track.
The recording presented here comes from the concert on july 31st 2002 in San Sebastián, Spain:


I don't know why you bother
nothing's ever good enough for you
I was there, it wasn't like that
you've come here just to dig the dirt

you had to piss on our parade
you had to shred our big day
you had to ruin it for all concerned
in a drunken punch-up at a wedding, yeah

hypocrite opportunist
don't infect me with your poison
a bully in a china shop
when I turn 'round you stay frozen to the spot

you had to piss on our parade
you had to shred our big day
you had to ruin it for all concerned
in a drunken punch-up at a wedding

the pointless snide remarks
of hammer-headed sharks
the pot will call the kettle black
it's a drunken punch-up at a wedding, yeah
On December 18th 2002, Thom played the song during Radiohead's 4th webcast. This performance features some lyrical differences, that either mirror early lyrics, that might have been heard in the demo he recorded in late 2001/early 2002, or are new lyrics that ultimately weren't used. Note that Thom doesn't sing the 'pointless snide remarks' verse at the end:



I don't know why you bother
nothing's ever good enough for you
I was there, it wasn't like that
black thunder clouds hanging over your head

don't piss on our parade
don't shred our big day
don't ruin it for all concerned
in a drunken punch-up at a wedding, yeah

hypocrite opportunist
don't infect me with your poison
a bully in a china shop
when I turn 'round you stay frozen to the spot

don't piss on our parade
don't shred our big day
don't ruin it for all concerned
in a drunken punch-up at a wedding, yeah

On March 30th 2003, the rough mix of the song leaked and it represents the state of work from February. This version has a clean intro (no crossfade from 'I Will') and features some very rough edits, made in order to reduce the length of the track. Most noticably, the final chorus was shortened considerably. Considering the careless execution of these edits ("You had to/pointless snide remarks"), this is probably just a quick test to see whether such an edit would work at all.
Thom: "That was a song where I was letting it happen. I mean, a lot of the lyrics for that song to me were born out of listening to Radio 4 an aweful lot, like every day, for 6 months - religiously. And just listening to what was happening, and just had this thing in my head about 'this is just like a punch-up at a wedding, nobody knows what's going on, it's just a riot. And someone in the middle is being affected by this, and this is supposed to be the biggest day in their lives, and it's being ruined', or whatever. And it also came out of a... I mean, I basically don't read anything that anybody writes now about us, at all. Cause I just can't anymore. And the main reason for that was, that I happened upon, sort of by accident basically, a review of our Oxford gig [July 7th 2001], which was just like.. I mean, one of the biggest days in my life. Obviously for all of us. And this... whoever this person was, just tore it to shreds. And they couldn't really think of how to tear us to shreds, really, so they just tore the audience to shreds. And just said basically 'who are these people, bunch of students', you know, 'white middle class', which was not the case at all, but what's the point in arguing. But this person managed to totally and utterly ruin that day for me forever. And it really shouldn't have done, and I should be bighead enough to just ignore it. And there was a lesson there, which I have I learned now. But I just didn't understand why... how someone, just because they had access to a keyboard and a typewriter, could just totally write off an event, that meant an aweful lot to an aweful lot of people. And there'd been just no answering back, no nothing, that was it, the end of the story. And obviously that happens all the way through your career... And that was another impetus for the song, really. Because to me it was like... so many people were there and saw something completely different, but yet you're the twat who gets to sort of write it all off. And it's sort of... I don't know, I should be used to it by now."

Ed: "If you think of the links between songs, it's kind of a cousin of... a dear old friend of 'Karma Police'."

Jonny: "Yeah, I can see that. It's sort of all in the rhythm of the piano, and it's us doing our kind of slow grind kind of funk thing, I suppose. Some of the harmonies in it are quite unsettling as well. So again it's a mixture of quite straight pop thing and all the wailing that Thom's doing at the beginning and the end, it's... you have to hear it, really."
NME: A bit of a departure- 'Funky Radiohead'.

Thom: "Yeah, that's kind of it. Bling-blong. It does its thing. It's got a loose funk at times..."

Jonny: "It comes from the fact that Thom is playing rhythm piano for the first time on one of our records. I hesitate to use the 'groove' word..."

Thom: "You definitely should, man. Although there's got to be a better one."

Jonny: "Alright, it swings. It swings great."

Thom: "The words are very much a case of 'Shake a cup and let them come out'."
Thom: "That was the first thing that we got together when we got back together after six months. I think it's quite interesting, that that was the first thing, 'cause it's actually got this like… you know, basically a very loose swing to it. We as five people could only have come up with that after having a long break. And it's interesting cause Nigel was like… in a way he sort of… it's interesting that he sort of said 'You've never really done anything like that before, where the whole thing is just based around a sort of baggy swagger thing'. Baggy's not the right word. Swagger anyway."
In 2003, a sample from the song, called 'R135' was made available in the Loophole section of radiohead.com: