Radiohead surprises fans with new song, 'Harry Patch (In Memory Of)'

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I go to sleep for one night, and when I wake up I discover that Radiohead, my favorite band of all time, has just put a brand-new song for sale on their website while I was slumbering? They’ve gotta stop surprising me like this. If only I’d known, I would totally have stayed up all night just so I could hear this song that much earlier.

Radiohead’s first officially released song since 2007’s In Rainbows is called “Harry Patch (In Memory Of).” As the title suggests, it’s a tribute to Harry Patch, the last surviving British veteran of World War I, who died recently at age 111. You can probably guess that I love this song. Apparently recorded in the weeks before Patch’s death, it’s a gorgeous anti-war ballad, juxtaposing Thom Yorke’s Wilfred Owen-esque lyrics about the terrors of the trenches against a lush orchestral backdrop arranged by Jonny Greenwood. Radiohead is selling the song for £1, with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion, a veterans’ charity. Needless to say, it’s very much worth any Radiohead fan’s pound, regardless of the exchange rate.

“Harry Patch” is only the latest Radiohead-related bit of news to creep out lately. We know the band has been working in the studio for some time on new material, and now we’ve heard the first finished product of those sessions. I’m thinking (okay, hoping) that it can only be a matter of time before they surprise us again with an announcement about their next album. Just to be safe, I’m considering not sleeping at all for the next few months, just in case that announcement comes at night. How about you? What do you think of “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)”? Are you as excited as I am by the growing trickle of information about Radiohead’s recent studio activity?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
New Thom Yorke hits the web: “All for the Best” (Miracle Legion cover)
Watch Modest Mouse’s new Heath Ledger-directed video
MTV’s Video Music Awards: Will it be Beyonce or Lady Gaga?
Ray LaMontagne is going on tour. And green!

Comments (8 total) Add your comment
  • Mojo

    I thought it was f***ing BRILLIANT!!

  • Jean Genie

    They’re terrific. Give me them over Coldplay any day.

  • karmapolice

    amazing, as usual. i’m getting heart palpitations with all the new information coming out from them.
    can’t wait!

  • grace

    BRILLIANT!!!!

  • Dan

    First of all, the lyrics are actually anti-war sentiments from Patch himself. Second, Yorke came out in the last week and said that he can’t envision another Radiohead album. So, you might want to dial down the anticipation just a tad…

  • Eli

    this is a pathetic attempt at orchestral music. it’s as if Johnny Greenwood showed up for his 1st day of class for Music Composition 101. What a cheap use of a Glissando. It’s like it was cut and pasted. it’s so choppy .And thom yorke has no business singing this type of music. it reveals a weak, whiney, sound. He’s not bad with typical radiohead, but Pavarotti he isn’t. It’s just pretentious garbage. From a band that was great in the 1990s.

  • Bronx

    The Radioheads need to retire. Their freshness date has expired.

  • emmabear

    effortlessly breathtaking. moved me to tears!

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