Thom Yorke Has Always Hated ‘Creep’

He once said Radiohead had "sucked Satan's cock" in writing the track.

thom yorke photo

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Earlier this week, Thom Yorke released a new version of ‘Creep’, another salvo in his years-long war against one of his own most famous songs.

The cover oozes contempt with the original version, transforming its radio-friendly chorus into a terrifying panic attack of nostalgia and horror. It’s enjoyably unlistenable, and that seems to be the point.

There are no surprises (pun intended) that the Radiohead frontman would cut the mainstream out of the band’s most mainstream song — he’s been disparaging it since pretty much the moment that it was released. No matter that the song skyrocketed the band to international success: Yorke has said that the band “sucked Satan’s cock” in writing ‘Creep’ and has taken to calling it ‘Crap’ instead.

Moreover, whenever an adoring audience requests the song, Yorke responds by hurling invective. He told a Montreal crowd to “fuck off” when they requested it, and called fans of the song “anally retarded.” The band have even been known to ask their touring partners to play the tune so they don’t have to.

And it’s not just the band’s frontman that dislikes the tune. When guitarist Jonny Greenwood first heard the track, he took an instant disliking to it, and even tried to internally sabotage it. That famous “chunk chunk” just before the chorus? That’s Greenwood’s not-so-silent protest against the song itself, an attempt to take it down from the inside.

Yorke’s dislike of the song makes a certain amount of sense. Radiohead are a band that have spent their entire career pushing new boundaries — for them to be reduced to a fairly simple song of heartbreak is a gross reduction indeed. In a better world, it would have been the strangeness of Kid A that catapulted the band to fame and fortune, not their most easy-listening fare. Audiences need to be pushed, after all.