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
Written by Jonny, this was a song which made it onto the album at the very last minute just as they were packing up, despite having been written at 'Canned Applause' early on, Jonny was surprised that they chose to include it on the album.
'The Tourist' was written by Jonny, who, explains Thom, was "in a beautiful square in France on a sunny day, and watching all theses American tourists being wheeled around, frantically trying to see everything in 10 minutes." Jonny was shocked at how these people could be in a place so beautiful and so special and not realize it because they weren't taking the time to just stop and look around.
In her attempt to interpret OK Computer as a concept album in the vein of a Phillip K. Dick novel, interviewer Claire Kleinelder accidentally uncovers Jonny's idea of continuity. She suggests that the car speeding off in 'The Tourist' feeds back into the accident that begins 'Airbag', thereby "bringing the album to a complete circle."

Thom: "Wow...that's great. Absolutely right about the last song preceding the first. Very interesting."

Jonny: "Nobody has ever got that before. That's cool!"
'THE TOURIST'
Written by Jonny, the calm after the storm. Features minimal vocals and maximum mellow Eric Clapton-esque guitar.
Jonny: "I'm still amazed that everyone else in the band let it on the LP It was a bit of a late runner. We were packing up and leaving when we decided to do it."
Thom: "What do I think of Jonny's songwriting? Whenever I am tired, he is there and awake."
Key Lyric: "Hey man slow down/Idiot slow down..."
Jonny: "We just wanted a song where we weren't paranoid about making something happen every three seconds and where we could record it with space."
Colin: "But not record it with Space. That would never have worked, frankly."
Surely there’s something about “The Tourist’s” climactic plea of “Idiot slow down”, for instance, that speaks volumes about the concerns of our own generation?
“Yeah, I think there’s a lot of songs about speed which that song sort of sums up,” Jonny replies.
Jonny: "Thom didn't play a thing, he just listened. It's quite nervy with a lot of space. It sounds like the last song on an album."
Thom: "It's the same with a lot of the vocals on OK Computer - they're first takes because after that I'd start to think about it and it would sound lame. I really like the vocal on 'The Tourist' and I don't remember doing it. It was something we left on the shelf for months. When I listened to it again it had obviously been, 'Go out and sing a rough vocal so we can work on it'. There's no emotional involvement in it. I mean, I'm not emoting, I'm just, Yeah, yeah, sing the song and walk off."
As on The Bends, much of OK Computer's music was contributed by members of the band besides Yorke, especially Jonny Greenwood, who wrote the slow 'rain down' section of 'Paranoid Android' and all the music to the album-closing 'The Tourist'.
Q: "In talking to people about this album, many of them point out the fact that it's a 'whole' piece of art. It's complete and seems to reach some kind of resolution by the last song. Did you set out to do this by design or was it a happy accident?"

Thom: "In retrospect, The Bends had a very obvious and comforting resolution, which was by accident, not by design. But this one didn't. For two weeks before mastering the record and deciding which songs would go on it, I got up every morning at 5am; I've got one of those minidisc machines where you can swap the order of the tracks, take tracks off, put them back on. I couldn't find the resolution that I was expecting to hear once you put the songs together, and I just went into a wild panic for two weeks. I couldn't sleep at all, because I just expected the resolution to be there - and it wasn't. There was all the trouble and no resolution. But that wasn't really true, as I discovered later. When we chose to put 'Tourist' at the end, and I chilled out about it and stopped getting up at five in the morning and driving myself nuts, we did find that it was the only resolution for us - because a lot of the album was about background noise and everything moving too fast and not being able to keep up. It was really obvious to have 'Tourist' as the last song. That song was written to me from me, saying, 'Idiot, slow down'. Because at that point, I needed to. So that was the only resolution there could be: to slow down. If you slow down to an almost-stop you can see everything moving too fast around you and that's the point."
Part of the performance of 'The Tourist' from january 24th 1998 in Tokyo can be seen in Meeting People Is Easy:

During Radiohead's recent tours, the best picture of the band at work came during the sound checks. Yorke led these pre-show rituals with the assurance of a seasoned conductor with limited rehearsal time. He'd shout Next!" just as a song was building to its climax. All problems had to be addressed on the spot. At one point, Colin said, "That's something we can work on later," whereupon Yorke muttered to himself, and Colin added, a little wearily, "It is also something we can work on now." There were moments, though, when Yorke was at a loss. Once, during a run-through of 'The Tourist', he forgot the final chord, and so did everyone else - including Jonny, who had written the song. "Does anyone have a copy of OK Computer?" Yorke called out. No one did. The Composer was taking a nap. A couple of weeks later, the problem still hadn't been solved. "Shall we nominate an ending and play through it to see what it sounds like?" O'Brien said, impatiently. "What do you have in mind?" Yorke said. "D7, perhaps?" "O.K., let's try it."
'The Tourist' wasn't performed during the second half of touring for In Rainbows, and hasn't been played live ever since.