Radiohead, a ban so iconic and yet often only superficially appreciated that many have failed to recognized how they were, for at least a large period of time, the world’s biggest political band — the word’s most woke band.
To understand Radiohead one has to know their roots. The band formed in 1985 at Abingdon School, an elite private institution in the heart of the English countryside county of Oxfordshire. Their privileged early life influenced the band in ways it wouldn’t with others: the five members — Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass), and Phil Selway (drums, percussion, backing vocals) — bonded over a common spirit of rebellion and radicalism, and translated those feelings to their music in impeccable fashion. The band’s anti-establishment roots further developed during the late 80’s period of indie expression, the same post-punk movement that took a decisive stance against Western (especially in Britain) conservatism and big corporation.