While Radiohead fans the world over are happy to ferociously debate the meaning behind the lyrics of hits like ‘High and Dry’ (sample couplet: “you left me high, you left me dry, you left me high, you left me dry”), few have stopped to ponder the inspiration behind the band’s name itself.
The small number that have usually point to the Talking Heads song ‘Radio Head’ as the source of Thom & co’s moniker. However, a Mrs Radiohead, 96, of Oxford respectfully disagrees.
Indeed, Mrs Radiohead is quite clear on the subject: the biggest band in the world named themselves after her.
Flashback to the late 1980s. Mrs Radiohead is auditioning local youngsters for a extremely copyright infringing production of ‘Cats’ at Oxford Village Hall, when who else should enter but a young Thom Yorke. Mrs Radiohead is instantly smitten by his face. She casts him as the lead cat (‘Important Cat’) immediately.
Yorke spends the next six months at rehearsals, perfecting the stray cat wailing that he would employ on every subsequent Radiohead release. The production is an instant hit – at the conclusion of opening night Thom takes a bow to cries of “creep!” and “weirdo!” from the crowd. Not only was it was a sign of things to come, Mrs Radiohead is convinced it’s also where he came up with the name of his rock group.
“What are the chances that he would prance on stage to Andrew Lloyd Webber sheet music played by a Mrs Radiohead and then name his band Radiohead? It can’t be a coincidence!”
By this point you may be wondering why Mrs Radiohead is called Mrs Radiohead. The answer is quite simple. Mrs Radiohead has a radio for a head. Her head is a head made of radio.
“My father was a radio technician”, she tells us while attempting to pass over a cup of tea. Unfortunately – as her head is a radio – she has no eyes. Unable to see what she’s doing, Mrs Radiohead pours the scalding hot tea all over our face. We stoically quell the urge to scream at the massive, life-changing burns we are sustaining, so desperate are we to find out why Radiohead are called Radiohead. It is our life’s work.
Finally, the cup runs dry. With every last drop of the burning liquid poured on to our eviscerated facial flesh, Mrs Radiohead is ready to continue with her story.
“Dad really was the best radio tech around. He liked to get right up inside the radios with his tuning prong. And I mean right up inside them.”
The results of this methodical approach quickly spoke for themselves. Within nine months of her father working his magic on the headphone jack of a Sanyo GX68343 Mrs Radiohead was born.
“Life with a radio for a head has not been easy”, Mrs Radiohead tells us, openly sobbing out of her AUX cable port.
We ask what her lowest ebb was.
Mrs Radiohead takes a long sip of tea before answering (she pours it down her opened cassette deck in case you’re wondering, you rubber necking freak show attendees – you disgust me).
“Probably the 20 years my AM switch was stuck on and all I could hear 24/7 was Alan Green broadcasting from what sounded like the bottom of a bin.”
Her only comfort during this dark time was the seminal Radiohead album ‘King of Limbs’.
“Every track on that one was a banger. What a fantastic listen!”
It suddenly hits us: she’s a psycho. We start backing out the door, fearing for our lives.
As we sprint for safety down the garden path, Mrs Radiohead sticks her Sanyo out of the living room window: “Don’t forget, they named themselves after meeeeeeeee”
N.B. We contacted Radiohead for comment on this story – however only the bald drummer responded. He said he had never had a friend before and asked if we would like to be his friend. We said no.