Last week, a mind-boggling 18 hours of audio from the sessions of Radiohead’s seminal 1997 album OK Computer were leaked online. Now, the band have officially made the audio available for download, with proceeds benefiting climate activism group Extinction Rebellion.
Yesterday, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood took to social media to break the news and explain the origin of the leak. It turns out someone had stolen Thom Yorke’s minidisc archive from around the time of OK Computer’s recording, and threatened to leak it unless the band paid them $150,000.
Instead of succumb to blackmail, the band decided to officially release the audio on Bandcamp, priced at £18 (or $23 in US dollars) per download. The recordings will be available only for 18 days, and all proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion.
Radiohead were quick to note that these sessions are not for the casual listener. They were “never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue),” Greenwood cautioned. “It’s only tangentially interesting.”
Radiohead devotees, though, beg to differ. Together, they’ve documented the sessions’ contents in a Google Doc, highlights of which include alternate versions of lyrics and variations in instrumentals. There’s also a 12-minute version of “Paranoid Android” and the song “Lift,” which was notoriously left off OK Computer and became a fan favorite over the years.
Find the OK Computer sessions on Bandcamp here: