BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in July 2005We've left it here for reference.More information


Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
Sold on Song. Classic songs, covers, songwriting and more. Listen Live.

 Full Schedule
-













Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
SONG HOME
YOUR VIEWS

Creep
Radiohead
Listen
Thom Yorke has never been the happiest of campers and nowhere is this more evident than on Radiohead’s breakthrough hit and monumental anthem to self-loathing, “Creep.”

An unexpected hit in America in 1993, “Creep” mined the contemporary vogue for glum,
Radiohead
Song facts
Composer Yorke/Selway/
Greenwood/
Greenwood/O'Brien
Genre Rock
Album Pablo Honey
Released 1992
UK Chart 7
alternative rock anthems prevalent in those grungy days and briefly looked like making the band stars in America. But they failed to capitalise on the song's success and for a while looked like becoming one hit wonders before bouncing back with the superlative album The Bends.

This state of affairs wasn't helped by their ambivalent attitude to the song itself. Indeed, the song's finest moment, the massive guitar crunch which ushers in the chorus, arose partly as a result of Jonny Greenwood's dissatisfaction. The guitarist simply turned his rack of distortion pedals up to the max and hit the strings as hard as he could in an act of sabotage.

On one level, Greenwood's reservations are understandable, as "Creep" is fairly derivative. The quiet verse/heavy chorus dynamic shift is reminiscent of Yorke's heroes The Pixies, and was a template adopted enthusiastically by many grunge bands, most notably Nirvana. The softly picked guitar arpeggios recall REM and (interestingly given Radiohead's later prog rock leanings) Pink Floyd's "Us and Them". However, the queasy chord changes and swooning shifts from major to minor as Yorke intones that he wishes he was "so very special" perfectly capture the lyric's atmosphere of ennui.

In the wake of the song's Stateside success, Radiohead embarked on two major tours in the US, supporting Tears for Fears and Belly. They rapidly grew sick of it, with Yorke in particular tiring of his image as another depressed and dysfunctional rock star, claiming that audiences missed his ironic intent. These days the band rarely plays the song and, indeed, has virtually disowned its parent album. But, for many, Creep remains one of the defining songs of British rock in the early '90s and an example of Radiohead's strengths before they went all weird on us.


Other versions
Chrissie Hynde
 The Pretenders version is without the pyscho angsty guitars but Hynde's performance is bitterly felt nontheless.

Depressingly real - this song achingly recreates the sense of inadequacy in an unequal relationship


James, Stoke

READ MORE COMMENTS...
Make a comment







Songwriting tips

Steve Hillier gives you advice on how to getting the words right - find out about writing original lyrics in the Songwriting Guides
Find out how to make your performances stand out. The Songwriting Guide has the help you need on performing
Test your knowledge

How much do you know about Creep and Radiohead?

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!







Like this song? Try these...

Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana
Losing My Religion
REM

 DON'T MISS
Doves Doves
Special guests on Dermot's show this week

What's on

Radio 2 Documentaries
Find out more about current and forthcoming documentaries on Radio 2.



Links


Green Plastic - excellent fan site
Official Radiohead site
Features and band history from the NME
Please Note: The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites.






About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy