Brow Beat

Watch a Very Young Thom Yorke Play “High and Dry” With Pre-Radiohead Band Headless Chickens

A 20-year-old Thom Yorke.

Still from YouTube

Back in 1989, before Radiohead became perhaps the most acclaimed group of the ’90s, frontman Thom Yorke was singing for a melodic little punk band in Exeter called the Headless Chickens. Some Redditors have dug up footage of one of the Chickens’ performances—a blistering version of “High and Dry,” which would become a single off Radiohead’s 1995 album The Bends—and it’s of surprisingly pristine quality.

Yorke, a mere 20 years old, takes on lead vocals and a guitar solo with his usual swaying, weirdo stage presence. He would play with the Chickens throughout college, but after graduating reunited with his high school band, On a Friday, which would change its name to Radiohead after signing with Parlophone. As for “High and Dry,” Yorke never really warmed to the song: He claimed in a 2007 interview that the tune was “not bad … it’s very bad.”