Nine Photos Of Artists Before They Hit The Big Time

Where to start with this amazing photograph of Radiohead when they were still at school? The first thing you notice is Thom smiling, a relatively rare occurence. Then the eye…Where to start with this amazing photograph of Radiohead when they were still at school? The first thing you notice is Thom smiling, a relatively rare occurence. Then the eye is drawn to Colin’s powerful pyjama shirt. What is the hand claw thing? Perhaps they are holding imaginary pints. My favourite part’s Ed O’Brien showing off his impressive psychic powers with an impression of 90s dreamboat Kavana. Also WTF is that fiddle-playing buffoon santa on the poster behind*? And where is Jonny?

The picture was taken in the bedroom of Nigel Powell, drummer for Frank Turner, multi-instrumentalist and member of the Oxford music scene, at the time they were called On A Friday. They formed in 1985 before changing their name to Radiohead and signing to EMI in 1991 as a fivesome.

It’s a delight to behold, and hopefully you’ll find these pictures we’ve dug out of other stars either before they were famous or early on in their careers similarily entertaining.


Here’s Jay-Z featuring in Jaz-O’s video for ‘Hawaiian Sophie’ in 1989. It’s exceptionally embarrassing. The master and his pupil famously fell out and Jaz-O (whose name, let’s be honest, is just awful) is blamed for fuelling Hova’s feud with Nas.

2Lady Gaga

Before emerging in a puff of latex, meat, bubbles, talons, smoke, mirrors and a couple of good songs, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta wasn’t quite so outré. The New Yorker morphed into “Mommy Monster” of the Haus of Gaga with 2008’s ‘The Fame’. “Don’t ever call me Stefani again”, she commanded.

3Noel Gallagher

In Spring of 1991, Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets. In a lost interview conducted by a journalist who couldn’t get hold of one of the band, Noel was asked about the current state of music – and Blur.

Current charts? Chesney Hawkes – bag of shit, right, but Gary Clail and that, Inspirals, Happy Mondays, Ride, Blur and all them lot, it’s good that they’re all in the charts. Very, very, very healthy. Indeed


Sonny Moore started his musical life as the lead singer in post-hardcore group From First To Last. He was in the band from 2004 until 2007, when he left to coat the world in wub. Via MySpace, he publicised solo demos the following year and took on the Skrillex alias in 2008 (he was known as Twipz before this). Here’s another classic Skrillex-as-emo picture.


When Haim were little and growing up in Los Angeles they played in a cover band with their parents called Rockinhaim in a sort of modern day twist on ‘Little House On The Praire’, or ‘The Sound Of Music’. The three sisters graduated to adulthood, ditched their parents and are currently blazing the world with their retro pop.


Just look at Theo Hutchcraft’s frightening, gothic vibes in this picture of erstwhile band Daggers. And that’s Adam Anderson on the left practising an evil sneer. After the ill-fated Bureau, the lads formed a new band in 2007. They lasted just a couple of years before discovering a new genre called Disco Lento and rapidly disbanding.

7The Cribs

It’s the three little Cribs! There’s twins Gary and Ryan and younger brother Ross. The band formed in 2001, when wee Rossy was just 16, and it looks as if they’ve had the same hair since the early days.

7Lana Del Rey

Unlike Lizzy Grant, who changed drastically from failed singer into Lana Del Rey, gangsta Nancy Sinatra, Lolita lost in the hood, global obsession, and now the face of H&M and the Jaguar F-Type luxury automobile. What’s next? I predict a return to the Grant tag.

* I’m told by @malcstoneyphoto it’s a Marillion poster

H/t @LukeLewis for spotting the Radiohead picture and Nigel Powell for use of his photograph. It’s from the film ‘Anyone Can Play Guitar’, a must-see for Radiohead fans