Radiohead reveal why ‘Lift’ never made it onto ‘OK Computer’

'It would have killed us'

Radiohead have discussed why the fan favourite rarity ‘Lift’ never made it onto the band’s classic album ‘OK Computer’.

Lift’ is among three previously unreleased tracks set to appear on the upcoming 20th anniversary reissue of the album, along with ‘I Promise’ and ‘Man Of War’ (also known to fans as ‘Big Boots’). Roadtested on ‘The Bends’ world tour, ‘Lift’ became a firm fan favourite and promising sign of things to come. However, it never made it onto ‘OK Computer’ – but the band had previously attempted to ‘re-work’ ‘Lift’ for 2016’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool‘.

Now, guitarist Ed O’Brien has revealed that they neglected to release the track until now because it ‘would have killed them’.


“‘Lift’ is a funny song,” he told BBC 6 Music. “We played that live with Alanis Morrissette, and it was a really interesting song because the audience, suddenly you’d see them get up and start grooving, it had this kind of infectiousness about it. It was a big, anthemic song. If that song had been on that album, it would have taken us to a different place, and we’d have probably sold a lot more records, if we’d done it right, and everyone was saying this.”

O’Brien added: “I think we kind of subconsciously killed it, because if OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill, like Alanis Morrissette, it would have killed us. But ‘Lift’ probably had the potential, if we’d done it right, it just had this magic about it. And we didn’t do a good version, because when we got to the studio and did it on that record it was a bit like having a gun to your head, it felt like so much pressure.”

The 20th anniversary reissue of ‘OK Computer’ ‘OKNOTOK’ will be released on 23 June – the same day as their Glastonbury headline performance. This only adds to the speculation and rumour that they’ll be paying tribute to the album during their Glasto set – where they’ll be headlining alongside Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.

The band also have upcoming UK headline dates in Manchester and Glasgow’s TRNSMT Festival.

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