Ed O’Brien Looks Back At Radiohead’s OK Computer, Released 25 Years Ago Today

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Ed O’Brien Looks Back At Radiohead’s OK Computer, Released 25 Years Ago Today

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It used to be normal for albums to be released on different dates in different parts of the world, hence Radiohead’s OK Computer first coming out in Japan before making its way to Europe and North America over the course of several weeks. (Five years ago, we celebrated the album turning 20 on the anniversary of its US release.) That initial Japanese release occurred on May 21, 1997 — exactly 25 years ago today — and the milestone has inspired some reflections from Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien.

O’Brien (pictured above at Radiohead’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2019) actually jumped the gun by sharing his message yesterday. On Instagram, he shared a lengthy note inspired by BB6 Music’s celebration of the anniversary. O’Brien’s pair of posts touched on a lot including the artists who influenced the album, the contributions of producer Nigel Godrich and actress Jane Seymour (who famously let the band record part of the album in her mansion), the chance to road-test the OK Computer songs on tour with Alanis Morissette (and meet a young Taylor Hawkins in the process), and more.

Here’s the full text of O’Brien’s message:

So.. today is apparently the 25th anniversary of OK Computer’s release. @bbc6music are celebrating this and the year 1997…

OK a few thoughts in no particular order..
Wow… feels like an age away.. 1997 belonged to a different era .. we were just kids.. with unswerving focus and drive .. no partying just the desire to make better and better work.. it was fucking exciting .. people seemed to get what we were doing and the gigs were getting more powerful .. we were absorbing so much more music outside of our alternative guitar thing.. bitches brew.. what’s going on.. in a silent way.. pet sounds .. Scott Walker… @underworld .. @massiveattackofficial … @portisheadofficial …it was pretty DIY .. we built our own mobile studio and co produced the album with @nigel_godrich .. he did a beautiful job .. think it was his first production work .. we knew he was the one….. we sought inspiring places to record rather than conventional recording studios.. one space was nicknamed canned applause… it was literally inside a vast metal box for storing apples .. one was the magical St Catherine’s Court owned by Jane Seymour .. and it was a magical time .. so many hours put into rehearsing these songs …then toured and played them in .. thank you @alanis for choosing us to open for her, that allowed us to play all these songs that would become OKC.. that’s where we first met the light that was Taylor Hawkins.. although we knew we were on to something we had no idea what it would become .. how could you? ..even now listening today to some of the talk on the radio, I’m truly overwhelmed and still surprised.. we were on one side of it and couldn’t really comprehend the public side of it .. then there was Glastonbury … dreams coming true .. darkness also.. you think these things will fix you .. they don’t .. that work comes later .. everything put on hold to get these songs out…
So grateful, thankful for the people we had around us at the time .. management,crew, our Parlophone and Capitol labels.. we were a family .. no cliché.. we were and we all busted a gut and put our heart and soul into it … still do..

Thank you to @bbc6music for celebrating this music .. thank you to each and every one of you who has joined us on that journey .. we are ALL a part of it.. and thank you as always to my Brothers, Philip, Colin, Jonny and Thom .. All love 🙏❤️❤️❤️

Here’s producer Nigel Godrich’s track-by-track interview from that BBC 6 Music special:

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