Allow us to take you way, way back in time, to the days when renowned alt-rockers Radiohead went by their original band name, On A Friday. It was 1986 in Oxford, England, when the young unknowns first recorded a demo tape comprising a couple of tracks. ‘Everybody Knows’ and ‘Girl (In A Purple Dress)’, as they’re called, haven’t seen the light of day till… well, now, when a fan of the band has seen fit to dig out and dust off these historic works for our listening pleasure.
Lacking the defining sounds of present Radiohead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood – who hadn’t yet joined the band when the songs were made – the demos are missing the sophistication and offbeat angularity that make Radiohead’s contemporary music so groundbreaking. Yearning saxophone drone ‘Everybody Knows’, in particular, dates pretty poorly. But it’s ‘Girl (In A Purple Dress)’, with its early echoes of the band’s fluttering rhythms and minor key shifts, that makes for a promising predecessor to Radiohead’s 1990s glory days.
So, if you happen to catch the band, living high on the critical success of their new album ‘The King Of Limbs’ on their US tour next February, think back to these demos. Perhaps they’ll even play them, for old time’s sake.
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‘Girl (In A Purple Dress)’: