Ed O’Brien reflects on 25 years of Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’: “It was a magical time”

He also discussed Radiohead meeting the late Taylor Hawkins for the first time while opening for Alanis Morrissette in 1996

Radiohead‘s Ed O’Brien has reflected on 25 years of the band’s iconic 1997 album ‘OK Computer’.

The album celebrates its birthday today (May 21), and O’Brien took to Instagram to share his memories of creating the album, as well as the legacy it has left.

“So.. today is apparently the 25th anniversary of OK Computer’s release,” O’Brien wrote alongside a photo of a London Underground train.

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OK a few thoughts in no particular order..” he went on. “Wow… feels like an age away.. 1997 belonged to a different era .. we were just kids.. with unswerving focus and drive .. no partying just the desire to make better and better work.. it was fucking exciting .. people seemed to get what we were doing and the gigs were getting more powerful .. we were absorbing so much more music outside of our alternative guitar thing.. bitches brew.. what’s going on.. in a silent way.. pet sounds .. Scott Walker… Underworld .. Massive Attack… Portishead …it was pretty DIY ..

“We built our own mobile studio and co produced the album with Nigel Godrich .. he did a beautiful job .. think it was his first production work .. we knew he was the one….. we sought inspiring places to record rather than conventional recording studios.. one space was nicknamed canned applause… it was literally inside a vast metal box for storing apples .. one was the magical St Catherine’s Court owned by Jane Seymour .. and it was a magical time.”

O’Brien then discussed how the band met late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins in 1996, when they opened for Alanis Morissette on tour, who Hawkins was drumming for at the time.

“Thank you Alanis for choosing us to open for her, that allowed us to play all these songs that would become OKC..” he wrote. “That’s where we first met the light that was Taylor Hawkins.. although we knew we were on to something we had no idea what it would become .. how could you? ..even now listening today to some of the talk on the radio, I’m truly overwhelmed and still surprised.. we were on one side of it and couldn’t really comprehend the public side of it .. then there was Glastonbury … dreams coming true .. darkness also.. you think these things will fix you .. they don’t .. that work comes later .. everything put on hold to get these songs out…

O’Brien concluded: “So grateful, thankful for the people we had around us at the time .. management, crew, our Parlophone and Capitol labels.. we were a family .. no cliché.. we were and we all busted a gut and put our heart and soul into it … still do..”

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In a second post, O’Brien added: “Thank you to each and every one of you who has joined us on that journey .. we are ALL a part of it.. and thank you as always to my Brothers, Philip, Colin, Jonny and Thom .. All love.”

Radiohead’s last studio album came in 2016 with ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, while 2021 saw the band release ‘KID A MNESIA’, a triple album celebrating their ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’ records, along with a third disc of rarities and B-sides called ‘Kid Amnesiae’.

The band’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood – alongside Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner – have also formed a new band called The Smile, who released their debut album, ‘A Light For Attracting Attention’ last week and began their debut European tour on Monday (May 16), debuting a new song called ‘Friend Of A Friend’.

After making their live debut at Glastonbury’s Live At Worthy Farm livestream last summer, The Smile played their first proper live shows with a three-gig run within 12 hours at London’s Magazine venue last month.

Reviewing The Smile’s ‘A Light For Attracting Attention’NME wrote: “While there’s not a sound or direction on the record that would shock any longtime followers of Yorke or Radiohead, it was clearly made with a free spirit and energy that the pressure of the infamously tortured and laborious task of creating another monolith from The Radiohead Machine might not allow them.

“In cutting some new shapes, this supergroup have been set loose to make some of the most arresting and satisfying music of their careers. Christ, it sounds like they’re having fun – or, at least, as much fun as can be had in trading in this kind of jazzed-up misery.”

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