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
This song was written in march 1995 at the time that The Bends was released. Thom and Jonny premiered it in Santa Monica on KCRW's 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' shortly afterwards on april 4th 1995:
Radiohead are to release a new single Street Spirit (Fade Out) on January 22. It will be backed by three new songs, including 'Bishop's Robes'. Other new b-sides under consideration are 'Man of War' and 'Subterranean Homesick Alien (Uptight)'.

Of 'Subterranean Homesick Alien', Yorke said it was written in three minutes. He added: "I'm trying as hard as I can not to try hard. And that's indicative of that song. I think it's just a funny song."
'Subterranean Homesick Alien' was recorded in the band's Oxfordshire studio 'Canned Applause' in early august 1996 along with the released versions of 'No Surprises', 'Electioneering' and 'The Tourist'. All other songs on OK Computer would be recorded later that year in Bath. The band was trying to achieve the sound of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew with a sub-aqua sound of electric keyboards and soft guitars.

The song was dropped from the setlists after 1998, but was played on very few occasions during the Hail to the Thief and The King of Limbs tours.
Sprawling, freeform, spooked-out sounding tale of alien abduction. Title is a homage to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues", apparently.
Thom: "Yeah! Jonny's in the basement mixing up the medicine, I'm on the pavement thinking about the government..."
Colin: "When we were doing The Bends, John Leckie told us about this hollow earth theory that John Power of Cast has. Apparently, there's a sun revolving in the centre of the earth and there are holes in the north and south poles that aliens fly into. We, er, weren't completely sold on it to be honest, John."
Jonny: "Americans believe in alien abduction but that's about it. I'm a fully paid-up subscriber to Sceptical Inquirer magazine. If you go into a newsagent in America you'll find 30 mags about UFOs, aliens, the supernatural, etc and Sceptical Inquirer, which has all these scientists providing logical explanations for everything. Thanks to 'The X-Files' and everything, it's become the lazy option to believe in all this stuff, but science fascinates me far more than aliens."
Colin: "Yeah, apparently there is now neurological evidence to prove the existence of the human soul. They've had big meetings in the Vatican, because obviously the Roman Catholic church are very keen to control it. Er, I sound like John Power now, don't I?"
Key Lyric: "I'm just uptight."
Thom: "What do I think of 'The X-Files'? And which Spice Girl do I like?
Jonny Greenwood: "We were going for a 70s jazz thing with electric piano, but we're not musical enough to pull that sort of thing off so it's a pop song".
Q: "Colin Greenwood said that your musical heroes- Costello, R,E,M,, Lennon, Tom Waits - are an inspiration to aim for, but that you fall short somewhere else interesting."

Thom: "That's the good bit for me. 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' was born out of listening to (Miles Davis's) Bitches Brew endlessly every time I drove my car. I completely missed it... but there again I didn't."
Indeed, Yorke is cheerier than his lyrics might suggest, even joking about how the title of 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' caused an uproar on a Bob Dylan Internet newsgroup ("How terrible!" he mock-sputters. "How dare they touch our Bobby!").
Q: "One of my favorite songs on the album is 'Subterranean Homesick Alien'. Can you talk about that song? Do you believe in aliens?"

Thom: "That was supposed to be a joke song anyway - as much as my jokes are ever funny - but it was also... I was interested in the fact that there was a lot of misdirected spirituality placed toward the "X-Files Syndrome." Like at the end of the last century, everyone started seeing bleeding statues of Jesus on the cross and so on. Suddenly, everyone sees sightings, though some people claim we always see them. It's the angels-vs.-aliens thing, which is fascinating, but not really the issue."

Jonny: "I feel the song is more about hope than any other subject. I'm an enormous cynic. I side with science, I'm afraid. The best magazine in America is one called Skeptical Enquirer, which basically is all these scientists debunking all this stuff. And there's about 200 other magazines, too. That song is more about how for every generation, it's a different thing. Before UFOs it was the Virgin Mary, and before that it was something else. People flock to the same places with their cameras and hope to see the same things. And it's just about hope and faith, I think, more than aliens."

Thom: "Actually, a lot of the song stems from the idea of when I was at school, the first essay I wrote was: 'You are an alien from another planet. You've landed and you're standing in the middle of Oxford. What do you see? If you're an alien from another planet, how would you see these people?' And that's a lot of where it came from, from someone who is not involved. Laughing and recording, taking home movies back to their home planet to show to their friends."
Thom: "We're having some problems with pulling off 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' live, but I'm sure we'll sort that out. I have to play piano and I get pissed off because I look like I'm into 10cc or something. But we can do it; we just have to change some stuff around."
  Hail to the Thief tour (1st half) may 2003 june 2003 july 2003 august 2003
Subterranean Homesick Alien [2] 19 26
Exit Music (For a Film) [15] 19 07 20 26 04 07 08 11 14 16 03 18 21 26 31
Climbing Up the Walls [9] 18 24 05 07 22 28 16 13 24
The Tourist [3] 22 11 14
'Subterranean Homesick Alien' was not performed during the second half of touring for Hail to the Thief.
Thom: "It's very tough to do live. And we'd have to take two Fender Rhodes pianos out on the road. You really want us to work hard, don't you?"
Live performances #83 to #85 during the touring for The King of Limbs:
  The King of Limbs tour (1st half) 09/'11 02/'12 march 2012 april 2012 05/'12 june 2012
Subterranean Homesick Alien [3] 28 29 05
Exit Music (For a Film) [5] 17 18 21 06 11
Climbing Up the Walls [5] 05 11 06 11 15
'Subterranean Homesick Alien' was not performed during the second half of touring for The King of Limbs.
  2016 A Moon Shaped Pool tour may 2016 06/2016 july 2016 august 2016 sept./oct. 2016
Subterranean Homesick Alien [1] 01
Exit Music (For a Film) [9] 26 01 02 08 31 06 20 30 04
Let Down [10] 26 27 29 31 04 06 21 11 03 07
Climbing Up the Walls [6] 24 01 27 29 04 06