Happy Anniversary: Radiohead, Pablo Honey

Monday, February 22, 2016
Happy Anniversary: Radiohead, Pablo Honey

23 years ago today, Radiohead released Pablo Honey, an album which - when compared to the material they've been recording for the past few years - sounds almost absurdly mainstream in its musical approach, but that doesn't change what a revelation it was when it first arrived.

In the wake of releasing their Drill EP in May 1992, the members of Radiohead - Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood, and Phil Selway - decided to pursue Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade, known for having helmed such bands as Buffalo Tom and Dinosaur Jr., to produce their debut full-length effort. Their collaboration started, however, with “Creep,” released as a single in September 1992. Per Kolderie, “Everyone who heard 'Creep just started going insane, so that's what got us the job doing the album.”

It's almost incomprehensible now to look back and recall that “Creep” was a miserable failure upon its original release, but Radiohead nonetheless moved forward with their album, recording the majority of it in the fall of 1992. The sessions were relatively speedy, due to how many times the band had already performed the songs in concert, but the results were spectacular.

Critics may not have completely agreed with that assessment at the time, but they've come around over the years, at least for the most part. (There's a Grouchy Gus in every gang, you know.) Similarly, one can only imagine how sick the members of Radiohead have gotten of hearing drunken revelers screaming for “Creep” in the quieter moments of their concerts, but in 2010 Greenwood suggested that Pablo Honey has been somewhat underrated since its initial release, and he's not wrong. If you've not given it a spin in awhile, today's the perfect day to take a trip back in time and revisit it.