This is a debut album with a lot of bells and whistles, good reviews and bad reviews, naivety, inexperience, boycotts and disgust, and one very very very... but very very famous song !!
Come read about "Pablo Honey", released on February 22, 1993.
This group of boys started out at Abingdon School in England, a conservative school for boys only. The five members Thom Yorke, brothers Colin Greenwood and Jonny Greenwood, Philip Selway, and Ed O'Brien used to play on Fridays in the school music room. From here they formed their own band called "On a Friday" after the day they did the rehearsals. They did not learn to play a specific instrument but they really wanted to form a band and this pushed each of them to find the place that suited him best in the ensemble and learn the instrument he had chosen.
Something in this band was very special and besides the fact that they attracted a large audience, they also attracted record companies, one "Island Records" even wanted to sign them on a contract even before they recorded one demo. Since they felt immature and wanted to finish their university studies first they rejected the offer and continued on their way. During their studies, they continued to rehearse occasionally and keep the embers burning but when they graduated in 1991 they decided to reunite and rented a shared house in Oxford. They performed a lot and again attracted audiences and record companies and this time it was the turn of the EMI record company to offer the band a contract and they did sign a contract for six albums with the company.
(Photo: Bob Berg/GI)
The record company asked them to change the name and they chose the name "Radiohead" which was taken from the "Talking Heads'" "Radio Head" songת from the 1986 album "True Stories".
In May 1992, they released their first EP called "Drill", which had a rather jarring failure and was unsuccessful in sales or reviews. So they decided to take on producer duo Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade who worked with the "Pixies" and "Dinosaur Jr." and start working on their next album.
Since the five members had a lot of material from the "Friday" period that they played in shows and rehearsals, it was very easy for them to record this album and it was recorded almost entirely in just two weeks. They even referred to it as a "Greatest Hits" album because it was a collection of their best songs at the time. But the album "Pablo Honey" was released in February 1993.
You can like it or not but it's an album that got famous only because of one song - "Creep".
The song was created while testing the sound in the studio, with such a rough and tearing distortion moment created that the guitarist Johnny did it on purpose to corrupt the song. It was the jet engine that flew the band to the top of the summit.
But wait, before it took off...
The song came out as a single 5 months before the album and was not a huge success, it was even boycotted by the BBC radio station because it was too depressing. The album reached number 22 on the UK charts and from there just started to drop.
Then we were involved, not "FaceOff" but the state of Israel...
The single was widely played on local radio stations in Israel, especially thanks to Yoav Kutner, and brought great exposure to the band in the country.
We have no idea how exactly this happened, but Radiohead's first appearance outside the UK was in Israel, at the "Roxanne" Club in April 1993 !! They held three shows !!
By the way... In one of the shows, guitarist Johnny Greenwood met his future wife, the Israeli artist Sharona Katan.
And one more thing... we (Israel) are on the map also because in 2017 the band held its longest performance here in 11 years.
And if that's not enough to understand how great the song was in Israel, then here's another interesting fact. The soundtrack of the first Israeli TV commercial was playing the song "Creep", yes, yes. With the launch of Channel 2, television commercials began on television for the first time in Israel. The Castro TV commercial was produced ahead of the channel's launch and began airing in November 1993. The TV commercial featured Yael Abacsis and Lior Miller who later also became a couple, with the video not including the original song but a cover version in which none other than Jeremy Kaplan sang, all for the purpose to avoid paying royalties due to copyright.
At the same time as the band gained momentum in the country, a radio station in San Francisco also began broadcasting this single and from there the US was taken by storm. MTV gave it even more of a "boost" when it appeared on the two-star network Beavis & Butt-Head's show.
Thom said that after two and a half years of touring, they could no longer stand this song, at every show and everywhere everyone was expecting and excited to hear just it !! It should be noted that the band was also asked to create a censored version of the song without the word Fucking and although it was contrary to their values, they decided to do it because they knew Sonic Youth did too so they took comfort in it.
And it did not end there... the band was sued for the song "Creep" for allegedly stealing part of it from a 1974 "The Hollies" song called "The Air That I Breathe". The lawsuit was settled out of court.
But despite all the bells and whistles around the song "Creep", this album is much more than that...
The amazing and dynamic opening track "You" went through several incarnations until it reached the album. It first appeared on a demo tape called "Manic Hedgehog" when the band's name was then "On a Friday". It then appeared on the band's first EP "Drill" and finally found itself eligible to open the album with a slight change in lyrics. Although many of the songs on the album are tired of the band this is one of the songs they still love and play to this day in gigs.
The grunge track "How Do You?" Attacks us just like the "thugs" who harass weak children, about whom the song speaks. By the way, at 1:40 there is a phone call recording of "The Jerky Boys" - a pair of comedians from Queens New York who used to make prank phone calls to innocent people and record the conversations. The name of the album is taken from a scene of such a phone call when the caller calls the other side "Pablo, honey". The band members who heard the sketches really liked one of the sections where the sketch opens with the sentence “Pablo, honey? Please come to Florida”. And so the name was given to the album.
"Stop Whispering" is a tribute to the "Pixies" which was very much loved by the band members. The whole idea of a quiet and erupting and noisy house came from the "Pixies". It's one of the first songs the band wrote back in the days of "On A Friday", and it's also the one that caught the attention of Bryce Edge and Chris Hufford who became the band's directors.
The quiet and acoustic section "Thinking About You" excites us to this day as it did with the release of the album. This song has a loud version that is part of the EP "Drill". Although it initially sounds like an innocent love song, Thom actually sings about "masturbation" later. It is interesting to note that Johnny Greenwood plays the harmonium here, similar to synth.
"Anyone Can Play Guitar" is one of our favorites on the album. Colin Greenwood's pulsating bass, minimalism, and little touches on Johnny's guitar during the verses and his run along with Ed O'Brien in chorus, just do it for us. The combination of the guitar spiky with Thom York's aspiration to be "Jim Morrison" flips over and over again with every hearing and hearing. The idea for this line in the song came to Thom after watching Oliver Stone's film about "The Doors", with Val Kilmer. This song was released as a single even before the song "Creep", but was not a success. Rumor has it that in parts of the song, Johnny plays the guitar with a paintbrush.