Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Thomas "Thom" Edward Yorke (born October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England) is the lead singer and songwriter of the UK band Radiohead. He also plays guitar, piano and keyboard and most probably can also play bass guitar and drums with ease as well. He currently lives in Oxford with his long-time partner, Rachel, and their son, Noah. Some people compare him with U2's Bono in vocal and songwriting abilities, as well as his enigmatic public persona.
Born with a paralyzed left eye, Yorke spent most of his first five years undergoing operations leaving him with impaired vision and his trademark lazy eye. Classmates often taunted him with the nickname "Salamander." After seeing Queen guitarist Brian May perform on television, Yorke was inspired to become a musician. He received his first guitar at the age of 7 and joined his first band by the age of 10 while attending a private boys' school in Abingdon (where he would meet his future Radiohead bandmates). Yorke later attended the University of Exeter and worked as an orderly in a mental hospital.
Radiohead became one the world's most successful bands, topping charts around the world, and Yorke's songs became synonymous with late 20th century culture. Themes of technology, urban-existentialism , illness, and love dominate his lyrics. Thom uses the pseudonym Tchock (a.k.a. Tchocky, Dr. Tchock, or The White Chocolate Farm, the latter of which was shortened to Tchocky) when doing band artwork with Stanley Donwood.
He and R.E.M.'s singer Michael Stipe are close friends. They have frequently attended each other band's concerts and both are fans of each other's music. Thom had frequently emphasized that Michael inspired him for lot of songs and helped him to get out of the depression during the gap between the albums OK Computer (1997) and Kid A (2000). The most notable one is the song "How to Disappear Completely", featuring one of the strongest performances of the band in Kid A. Thom said that this song was inspired by words of Stipe, who advised him when in depression to start talking to himself: "I'm not here and this isn't happening!". The exact phrase is the principal part of the song's lyrics.
Thom has also garnered attention as a political activist campaigning for causes including Fair Trade, Anti-War movements, and Amnesty International. He even played at the Free Tibet concert in 1999. Thom Yorke and other Radiohead members were heavily influenced by Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Queen, Clinic, PJ Harvey, Björk, Nirvana (in their earlier years), Pixies (on whose new DVD Thom did some commentary), and Talking Heads. Beside his extensive work with the band Thom finds time to collaborate with other musicians as well. He has collaborated with Björk, PJ Harvey, James Lavelle , Beck, U.N.K.L.E., and DJ Shadow.
Thom worked extensively with his fellow bandmate in 2004 contributing to the Do they know it's Christmas charity single and also some new work by Jonny and him will see the light this spring. At some point there was a rumoured solo effort by him, but considering that the band are back for recording new material, this project of Thom at this point remains unlikely.
- "El President": Thom shared vocals with Isabel from the band Drugstore on the band's first single, "El President," off their album White Magic For Lovers.
- Come Again
- "Wish You Were Here": Thom collaborated with Sparklehorse on a cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." Thom sang his part on the telephone from his hotel room where you can hear his TV in the background.
- "Rabbit In Your Headlights": Thom and DJ Shadow got together during the OK Computer tour in San Francisco and recorded "Rabbit in Your Headlights" for the James Lavelle project going under the name UNKLE. The album is called Psyence Fiction.
- Velvet Goldmine: Thom and Jonny got together with Bernard Butler, Andy Mackay, and Paul Kimble to form the band, The Venus in Furs. They recorded five songs for the Michael Stipe produced movie, Velvet Goldmine. The tracks are:
- "BABY'S ON FIRE"
- "TUMBLING DOWN"
- Thom had a strong presence on PJ Harvey's 2000 release, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Thom did a duet with Harvey on the song "This Mess We're In" and sang back-up on two other songs: "One Line" and "Beautiful Feeling".
A note on genre
Genre labels being loaded as well as approximate terms, it should be noted that the idea of Radiohead being in the progressive rock (prog) tradition is solely from the perspective of some listeners. Asked in 2001 by a journalist "[w]hat is it about prog-rock that still appeals, despite it being widely treated as a genre for losers [and] geeks," Thom Yorke essentially concurred with the charge rather than rebutting it:
"prog rock is sad. and krautrock is not prog rock is more punk. queen were not prog rock. they were camp and not serious or shite enough. pink floyd moved to slow to be prog rock. certain areas of electronica smell of prog occasionally, i try not to notice. those who thought prog rock was like jazz are deluded. i dont know what prog rock is. never did. just because you change time signature a couple of times doesnt mean you is singing abou the fairies in the woods does it? were genesis prog rock? when peter gabriel put a flower round his head and kicked a bass drum was that prog? i have no connectivity with anything prog whatsoever except maybethat last bit about the flower and the kick drum and peter gabriel."
- www.radiohead.com - The Official Site
- Talk in Maths: A Not Even Remotely Official RADIOHEAD FAQ
- A collection of Thom Yorke quotes
- www.greenplastic.com - Highly informative fan-site
- www.ateaseweb.com - Another fan site. They tend to update the news anytime Radiohead is mentioned anywhere
- andrewkendall.com - Photographs of Thom.
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