Radiohead lyric sketchbook sells at auction for £5,000

The notepad was used by the band ahead of recording their 1995 album 'The Bends'

A sketchbook used by Radiohead while they were writing and rehearsing for their second album ‘The Bends’ has sold at auction this week for £5,000.

According to Omega Auctions, who conducted the sale, the book was picked up in 1993 by “a man who had lent the group instruments and a PA sound system” at the Oxfordshire barn they were working in.

The A2 sketchbook contains hand-drawn sketches, chords and lyrics pertaining to ‘The Bends’, including the album’s closing track ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’ and three unreleased songs: ‘Too Easy’, ‘Idiot Boy’ and ‘Dead Bank Clerk’.


Omega auctioneer Paul Fairweather said that “the sketchpad gives an insight into a crucial period in the group’s history”.

The seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained: “When the [Radiohead] sessions were over I went to retrieve my equipment and ‘clear out’ the room.

“I was informed that anything remaining in the room was not required by the band and should be thrown away or kept by me if I so wished, so I kept the sketch pad.”

It had been hoped that the auction would receive bids of up to £12,000, but the highest bid of £5,000 was accepted by the seller after the reserve failed to be met.

The total sale of the sketchbook equates to £6,400 when including the buyer’s premium.


A 1960 Fender Precision bass guitar that was used by Colin Greenwood to record ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ was also sold during this week’s auction for £6,000.

Last month an old Radiohead demo tape – featuring unheard tracks that were recorded by the band under their old name On A Friday – sold for £7,600 at auction.