Radiohead reveal where ‘OK Computer’ title came from

Oxford band have also shared a previously unreleased song

Radiohead have revealed the inspiration behind the title for their 1997 landmark album ‘OK Computer’.

The band revealed that the title came to them while they were on a lengthy US tour for ‘The Bends’ in 1996.

They were killing time in the bus by listening to an audio version of Douglas Adams’ classic 1979 sci-fi-comedy novel, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, they claim.


Midway through the book, a spaceship computer says it’s incapable of fending off incoming missiles. “OK, computer,” responds galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox, “I want full manual control now.”

Frontman Thom Yorke scribbled down the phrase – which marked the point in the narrative when humans saved themselves by reclaiming control from machines. 

He told Rolling Stone: “The paranoia I felt at the time was much more related to how people related to each other. But I was using the terminology of technology to express it. Everything I was writing was actually a way of trying to reconnect with other human beings when you’re always in transit. That’s what I had to write about because that’s what was going on, which in itself instilled a kind of loneliness and disconnection.”

He continued: “The whole album is really fucking geeky. I was kind of a geek when I was a kid, unashamedly so. Then I’m in this rock band famous for drinking tea and never socialising, where the truth is somewhat different.”


Meanwhile, Radiohead have posted a previously unreleased track from their forthcoming ‘OK Computer’ reissue ‘OKNOTOK’.

‘I Promise’ is one of the three previously unreleased tracks set to feature on the remastered album. You can listen to the track below. Eight b-sides will also feature on the record.

The band recently announced the 20th anniversary reissue of their classic album ‘OK Computer’, which will arrive on June 23, the same day they perform at Glastonbury.