Main content

Thom Yorke, musician

Thom Yorke, singer and songwriter with Radiohead, chooses the eight tracks, book and luxury he would want to take to a desert island. With Lauren Laverne

Thom Yorke has been the front man of Radiohead, one of Britain’s most successful British bands, for 34 years. They have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and have won three Grammys and four Ivor Novello awards. Their debut studio album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993, with their debut single, Creep, becoming a big international success.

Thom decided on his career at the age of seven, when he lay on the floor between large speakers at a friend’s house and listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his own electric guitar when he was 10, and wrote his first song at 11. At his secondary school he joined up with fellow pupils and they formed a band called On a Friday, as that was the only day they were allowed to rehearse. They all went their separate ways as university students, but then signed to Parlophone in 1991 and renamed themselves Radiohead.

Thom has collaborated with artists including PJ Harvey and Björk and has composed for film and theatre. His first feature film soundtrack, Suspiria, was released last year. His first classical piece, Don’t Fear the Light, was premiered in Paris this year, and he has also been touring his latest solo album Anima. He is an activist on behalf of human rights, animal rights, environmental and anti-war causes.

DISC ONE: Ravel - Le jardin féerique – the Labèque sisters
DISC TWO: Scott Walker - It’s Raining Today
DISC THREE: Talking Heads - Born Under Punches
DISC FOUR: Squarepusher and Aphex Twin - Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid
DISC FIVE: Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
DISC SIX: REM – Talk about the Passion
DISC SEVEN: Sidney Bechet - Blue Horizon
DISC EIGHT: Nina Simone - Lilac Wine

BOOK CHOICE: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
LUXURY ITEM: A recording studio
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) by Talking Heads

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Available now

54 minutes

Last on

Fri 27 Sep 2019 09:00

Music Played

  • Maurice Ravel

    Ma mère l'oye, M.60 - For Piano Duet, M.60 - 5. Le jardin féerique

    Performer: Marielle Labèque. Performer: Katia Labèque.
    • Sisters.
    • Universal.
    • 9.
  • Scott Walker

    It's Raining Today

    • Scott 3.
    • Philips / Fontana.
    • 1.
  • Talking Heads

    Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)

    • Remain in Light.
    • Sire Records.
    • 1.
  • Squarepusher & AFX

    Freeman Hard And Willis Acid

    • Warp20 (Chosen).
    • Warp Records.
    • 12.
  • Neil Young

    After The Gold Rush

    • After The Gold Rush.
    • Warner Records.
    • 2.
  • R.E.M.

    Talk About the Passion

    • Murmur.
    • I.R.S. Records.
    • 3.
  • Sidney Bechet and His New Orleans Feetwarmers

    Blue Horizon

    • Larkin's Jazz.
    • Proper Records.
    • 5.
  • Nina Simone

    Lilac Wine

    • Wild Is The Wind / High Priestess Of Soul.
    • Verve / PolyGram.
    • 4.


  • Sun 22 Sep 2019 11:15
  • Fri 27 Sep 2019 09:00

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?