“We’d probably have sold a lot more records… [But] I think we subconsciously killed it because if OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill, like Alanis Morisette, it would have killed us.”
Although the song eventually made it onto a deluxe edition of OK Computer, fans have claimed an alternate take from the leaked sessions is “probably the definitive version”.
“When the band said they didn’t release it because they thought they had another Creep-success level song, I wouldn’t believe them off the [previously-released] version,” wrote one Reddit user. “But this version I could definitely see being a big radio tune. Reminds me a lot of Bitter Sweet Symphony.”
“Lift could have easily been the definitive Radiohead song in an alternate reality,” added another poster. “It is wonderful as hell.”
Not for public consumption
The source of the leak is unknown, but Greenwood said the music originated from singer Thom Yorke’s “minidisc archive” of the recording sessions, a digital copy of which is thought to have been stolen last week.
The existence of the recording sessions was first noted on fan sites last week, and leaked in full on Friday.
Before that, the person in possession of the music was allegedly selling individual tracks for sums between $50 (for a live recording) and $800 (for a full-band studio recording), or the entire archive for $150,000.
“Instead of complaining – much – or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion,” said Greenwood in a statement.
He noted that the music was “never intended for public consumption” and was “only tangentially interesting”.
The tapes are also “very, very long,” he added. “Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”