Radiohead's Best Cover Songs

If you watched Radiohead’s 2007 thumbs_down webcast (or perused the occasional Dead Air Space office chart or Low End Theory playlist) you have a good sense of Thom Yorke and band’s wide-ranging and occasionally obscure musical taste. For this latest installment of our Best Cover Songs series (previously: Death Cab For Cutie, Bon Iver) I thought it would be fun to research and present those songs by other bands Radiohead have tackled over the years. This list only considers versions on which Thom sings (with Radiohead or otherwise) so no 7 Worlds Collide. I’ve also left out the Venus In Furs’ Roxy Music covers from the film Velvet Goldmine. Still, there is plenty of interesting stuff to sort through and you can play it at your Amnesiac Turns 10 party next week.

***“All For The Best” is a charity single not available for free download. Purchase it on iTunes!

As always lemme know what I missed. And if you’re looking for cool covers of Radiohead, revisit Stereogum’s free downloadable tribute album to OK Computer featuring exclusive tracks by Vampire Weekend, Doveman, Cold War Kids, My Brightest Diamond, and more.

Comments (50)
  1. Seems like Radiohead likes Neil Young as much as I do.

  2. Sweet list.

  3. I’m only getting errors when I try to download these tracks. PLEASE HELP ME MR. STEREOGUM MAN

  4. the three of these I listened to sound nothing like radiohead. the “sunday bloody sunday” one is definitely U2 singing their own song. In fact, it’s their Live from Sarajevo version from the “if god will send his angels” single.

  5. i didn’t listen all the way through “wonderwall” before. that makes sense now.

  6. I once read that Radiohead did a cover of “Commonplace” by Hetch Hetchy. Can anyone a) verify this and b) help me find it if it exists?

    • I’m also looking for their alleged cover of “Video Killed The Radio Star” if anyone has?

      • There is a CD called Coup d’Éat, which is a tricky compilation with a bunch of Radiohead covers/songs.

        However, it includes three fakes: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (actually by the Edge), “Be Quiet and Drive” (supposedly to be a Deftones cover, but the song is a perform by the Deftones themselves) and “Video Killed the Radio Star”, where all the misguiding thing began, methinks (it’s actually Presidents of the United States of America; the same song can be found on The Wedding Singer OST and Pure Frosting).

        In brief, nothing that has to do with Radiohead.

  7. This Unravel cover is some kind of whackadoo remix. This is how it was performed:

  8. I forgot how much I love the Unravel cover.

  9. The Sparklehorse’s version of Wish you were here (feat. Thom Yorke) is always one of my favourite.
    R.I.P. Mark
    Great cover of “Nobody does it better” too!

  10. there is a pristine live version of after the gold rush somewhere on itunes, i think it was part of the bridge school benefit compilation a few years back

  11. Thom always sounds right in place covering Neil Young. Thanks for the excellent collection. They should have put this out instead of the King of Limbs.

  12. The “Headmaster Ritual” and “Ceremony” covers were the tracks that really turned me onto the Smiths and JoyOrder respectively, so I owe Radiohead a big debt of gratitude for covering them. And the covers still remain my favourite versions of the tunes, with the exception of some live performances.

  13. Nobody Does it Better is a great cover.

  14. This is a really great feature, please post more!

  15. Very thanks for radiohead!

  16. Cinnamon Girl is spot on… wow.

  17. What about The Velvet Underground cover of “I’m Set Free” that Thom and Beck did a few years back?

    That thing slays.

    Also: Anyone know when exactly the “on the beach” and “Down by the river” are from? Didn’t even know they existed!

    Thanks Stereogum!

    • On the Beach i remember is from Thom doing Neil Young’s Bridge School benefit ‘thingy’ a few years ago, prolly most the other Neil songs too…cept Cinnamon Girl:)

  18. Not trying to be annoying, but “Ceremony” is technically a New Order song, written by Ian Curtis and sung by Bernard Sumner after Curtis died. Give New Order and Sumner a credit there.

    • @Reconfigure – you’re incorrect. Ceremony was written and performed by Joy Division first. At one time, the only recording of Joy Division performing it was live on Still. But the “Heart & Soul” box set had an early demo of Joy Division playing it with Ian Curtis singing.

      There are two different New Order versions of the song and they’re both basically the same as the Joy Division version, except that Bernard Sumner maybe got the lyrics kind of wrong.

  19. Every neil young song on here supposedly covered by Radiohead is actually just Neil Young, I can tell you that.

  20. Beck & Thom covering The Velvet Underground:

  21. I always love the Bjork cover. Unravel is such a beautiful song.

  22. Songs don’t download to iPad. Any reason why?

  23. Thanks for the list – Now a little shameless self promotion.
    Just starting out my music blog:
    Comment both positive or constructive welcome. Esp other bloggers. Thanks.

  24. All these Neil Young covers and no On The Beach?

  25. Their cover of Winter Wonderland from the Inside Out Night Webcast isn’t on here. :/

  26. On The Beach is really nice. This suits them well.

  27. so, i just saw this and i realized that a fair # of these ‘edits’ were taken from a compilation i’ve been working on (for years now… sadly? perhaps.) the covers disc was volume 11. here it is in lossless format. help yourself. there’s 11 other volumes on the radiohub.

  28. Thom Yorke for universal president!

  29. Somebody upload the full version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love ;-)

  30. i heard them play stevie wonder’s ‘superstition’ during a soundcheck many years ago. really wish someone couldve recorded that.

  31. After reading the playlist of GREAT songs, this compilation contains what I thought would change my mind about Radiohead but I was wrong. “In Rainbows”, a two cd album released in 2007, has all to be a great one but at least to me It wasn’t all that good. I have the album and I just like a tune here and there, unfortunately. “The King of Limbs”, freshly released, this year, 2011. Cool idea, concept and all but I only really like 2 tunes. I was starting to think what’s wrong and ended up with the conclusion that Radiohead isn’t really bad just over-rated. Disrespectful, I think, their cover of “Oasis – Wonderwall”… I am not even gonna rate it because negative isn’t allowed. Oh well, it’s a matter of prefference uh?

      Ok Computer is N°1 Album of all time.
      And that page is pretty much THE musical metacritic.
      Voted by common people and professionals alike.
      Radiohead overrated? LOL, U MAD?

      And if you didn’t get it, the Wonderwall cover was a Parody; yeah, pretty much like Weird Al Yankovic. Not that Gallagher Bros. “disrespectful” attitude in life makes us rate them negative.

  32. I love the covers of Ceremony and Headmaster’s ritual. If it wasn’t for Radiohead then I’d never learn about Joy Division. But for some reason I can never get Headmaster’s ritual to download on my computer. It’s killing me that it’s not working.

  33. these guys S U C K – the quality is like someone standing at one of their concerts with a Mickey Mouse tape recorder & a hand held mike – Also boys if you’re going 2 do someone’s song DON’T BOTHER cause u just killed it – it’s called FUBAR – the singer can’t even carry a tune – I guess that’s why the downloa

  34. as I was – the downloads r free – who the hell would pay 4 this crap — Snot Me

  35. i mean, i don’t hear thom yorke on that “wish you were here” cover at all. i only hear sparklehorse. do we know for sure that it wasn’t just sparklehorse? likewise, after the “wonderwall” cover, why are there american accents? not sure about the validity of that, either…

  36. Radiohead overload ahhh

  37. i love u radiohed
    kenapa tidak berkolaborasi sama muse saja biar lebih apdooooolllllllll

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