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
Played regularly in 1996, the song was identified by most reviewers as the best new song they had heard in sets that also included 'I Promise' and 'Electioneering'. The original lyrics were different to the reworked version from 2002. The recording presented here is the incredibly popular and indeed excellent performance at the Pinkpop Festival on may 27th 1996:
this is the place
sit down, you're safe now
you've been stuck in a lift
we've been trying to reach you, Thom
this is the place
it won't hurt ever again

the smell of air conditioning
the fish are belly up
empty all your pockets
'cause it's time to come home

this is the place
remember me
I'm the face you always see
you've been stuck in a lift
in the belly of a whale
at the bottom of the ocean

the smell of air conditioning
the fish are belly up
empty all your pockets
'cause it's time to come home

the smell of air conditioning
the fish are belly up
oh, let it go
let it go

today is the first day
of the rest of your days
so lighten up, squirt
Despite the rumors that 'Lift' would be an OK Computer single, Ed said that the band had never considered it. It was, however, recorded during the OK Computer sessions.
This page, titled 'stuck in a frozen lake', appeared on radiohead.com during the recording of OK Computer and features a text by Thom with notes about songs that were around then.
The relevant sections were not highlighted in red letters in the original page:
an airbag saved my life* in an interstella burst i am back to save the universe computer drums bass wrong lift* is hard work you been stuck in a lift we been trying to reach you thom the belly of the whale (thanks Rei xxxx) paranoid android* get busy with the shakers while im fast asleep could you stop the noise im trying ta get some rest this the place it wont hurt ever again karma police* girl with hitler hairdo everybodys friend life in a glasshouse phew for a minute there i lost myself i lost myself sit down your safe now polyethelene*will never break down swirly self announcements. stuck in a frozen lake. the penultimate place in dante's hell. last flowers till the hospital*is a sign discovered in oxford -my unhealthy obsession with these institutions. analysts may get the connection. ambulances scream past my house at all hours of the day and night like the confessionals of Larkin's "Ambulan s." let down*in the midst of monster tour the momentum getting drunk to talk bombarded by dangerously high levels of radiation from xray machines. one day, one day... climbing up the walls*both managers and record company are nervous about such a nasty sound coming out of the speakers. this is a good sign. dogwander* bring on another take better than another cake. nude* it is a mans world. and this one is very confused and will have sex with anything woman who comes within a mile radius. but feels bad about it. so doesnt. exit song (for a film)* cannot be listened to more than once in a row. which made recording it easy. or not. but what film? big boots* it was a long time ago and i cant remember. a whole orchestra watching the film and playing along. real life is dull. i am i the white lotus flying off the quay with barbara bach.
(information incomplete)
....>>>>i like the idea of you listening to our recordings with your head resting gently in emptiness. or before going out. or when you've come back. i dont like the scientists breaking down its molecular structure and teaching it in O level chemistry i ont want to have expain it but it worries me stupid. there is a lot of crying goes into making things.<<<<.... the masters tell us that there is an aspect of our minds that is its fundamental basis, a state called "the ground of the ordinary mind." It functions like a storehouse, in which the imprints of past actions caused by our negative emotions are all store like seeds. when the right conditions arise, they germinate and manifest as circumstances and situations in our lives. if we have a habit of thinking in a particular pattern, positive or negative, then these tendencies will be triggered and provoked very easily and recurr and go on recurring. With constant repetition our inclinations and habits become steadily more entr ched and continue, increasing and gathering power even when we sleep. This is how they come to determine our life, our death our rebirth.
The song was probably not recorded during sessions for Kid A and Amnesiac, but Ed mentions it briefly in one of the entries of his online diary:
thursday, september 9th 1999
'knives out' sounding quite 'smiths-esque'. especially phil who has got that mike joyce thing down to a tee. on to 'optimistic' -must record that soon before we lose it (remember 'lift'?). 'up on the ladder' sounds pretty grim. 'say the word' (or c-minor song); great drum, bass and vocals - personally getting a bit anxious over it, as i can't find anything that works with it, or rather i have an idea but can't get the sound right. makes me a bit neurotic. finish on what i used to call the 'jonny scott walker song' - very short and sweet.
last diary piece for a couple of weeks. how was it for you? i'm finding it a little difficult to set the right tone, but as i'm not a journo i guess that's fair enough. hopefully this is going to be an ongoing thing throughout recording and maybe even touring, so it will get better.
Radiohead introduced a reworked version of 'Lift' on july 22nd 2002 in Lisboa, Portugal, which had some lyrical changes as well as a slower tempo and overall different arrangement. This performance comes from the concert on august 6th 2002 in Salamanca, Spain:
this is the place
remember me
I'm the face you always see
you've been stuck in a lift
we've been trying to reach you
this is the place
it won't hurt
ever again

the smell of air conditioning
the fish are belly up
empty all your pockets
'cause it's time to come home

only one, only one
only one, only one

you've been stuck in a lift
in the belly of a whale
at the bottom of the ocean

the smell of air conditioning
the fish are belly up
empty all your pockets
'cause it's time to come home

today is the first day
of the rest of your days
of your days
so lighten up, squirt
  2002 Iberian tour july 2002 august 2002
Up On the Ladder [7] 22 26 27 31 01 05 07
Lift [4] 22 26 31 06
Man of War [1] 07
Ed mentioned that the rearranged version was recorded during sessions for Hail To The Thief, but it has remained unreleased so far.