Over 18 hours of music from Radiohead‘s ‘OK Computer’ sessions have reportedly leaked after bootleggers held the material to ransom for up to $150,000.
One of the most influential albums of all time, the band’s 1997 third album received a deluxe reissue as ‘OKNOTOK’ back in 2017 – complete with B-sides and the three previously unreleased songs ‘I Promise’, ‘Man of War’, and ‘Lift’.
However, a wealth of more previously unreleased material has controversially been unearthed. On Reddit, it emerged that fans had come into contact with a bootlegger who had acquired 18 Minidiscs billed as ‘The Entire OK Computer Sessions’ – supposedly including nearly 18 hours of demos, alternate takes, and early live recordings. It is said that frontman Thom Yorke recorded and archived the sessions himself.
Among them are a 12-minute version of ‘Paranoid Android’, early studio versions of ‘Exit Music’, ‘I Promise’, ‘True Love Waits’ and even ‘Lift’ (which didn’t make the cut for the album originally because the band feared it was too “anthemic“).
Fans have made a Google Doc of what the sessions supposedly contain. One user claimed that the original person in possession of the material was asking for “upwards of $150,000 for the entire set” or “$800 per studio track and $50 per live track.”
“We are unhappy with the idea of this stuff getting sold off to high-paying trading circles and of someone profiting off of stolen material,” wrote one fan on Reddit, protesting against the material being made available.
Another added: “What we’re talking about is simply theft, and it is wrong. What makes it horrible is that the asshole is trying to PROFIT off of selling the band’s stolen work, which is perhaps the worst-case for this scenario.”
Other users have commented on how damaging this could be for the band, as early versions of tracks from ‘Kid A’ are among the leak which could potentially be used officially by Radiohead for an upcoming 20th anniversary edition next year.
NME has approached a Radiohead spokesman for comment.
As well as playing down the chances of there ever being a Bohemian Rhapsody-style biopic of Radiohead (while revealing who he’d like to play him in said film), guitarist Jonny Greenwood has said that he is currently devoting all of his attention to the new music he’ll be making for the BBC Proms 2019 – adding that Radiohead were on the backburner due to Thom Yorke’s upcoming “dystopian anxiety” album and the “Brazilian-inspired” debut solo record from guitarist Ed O’Brien. Despite not having heard O’Brien’s solo material, Greenwood added that Yorke’s next solo album “sounds great” and “has some great strings on it”.