A Radiohead demo tape, recorded under the band’s previous moniker, is to be auctioned. The tape – expected to fetch around £2000 at an online auction – features six tracks, three of which have not been heard. The tape originates from a period predating their recording contract with EMI – the band having only recently left school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at this point and were performing under the name ‘On a Friday’. The original name was coined after the day of the week on which the band rehearsed, but it was at the behest of the label that they change it to ‘Radiohead’ once they were signed.
According to Omega Auctions, the unheard track names are ‘Promise Me’, ‘Boy In A Box’ and ‘These Chains’ – given to an anonymous friend of the band in the early 1990s who is now putting the tape up for sale. Adding to the historical value and 90s aesthetic appeal of the tape are handwritten notes and a label cover designed by band frontman, Thom Yorke.
This tape goes up for auction during a period of reinvigorated interest in cassette tapes, as retro music forms including vinyl and cassettes are now back in vogue and seeing rising sales figures each year. Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: “The tracks are raw but certainly suggest something of the fantastic potential that the band would realise in a few years’ time”
Radiohead would go on to achieve worldwide commercial and critical acclaim on albums such as ‘OK Computer’, ‘The Bends’ and ‘In Rainbows’, including number-one album chart positions in both the UK and US. The band have not released any official music since the 20th anniversary reissue of OK Computer in 2017, featuring the entire remastered album, eight B-sides and three previously unreleased tracks: ‘I Promise’, ‘Man of War’ and ‘Lift’. Drummer Philip Selway announced last February that Radiohead were taking a “year away” from music in 2020 to focus on individual projects. Guitarist Ed O’Brien confirmed in June that a new album “will definitely happen”, but stressed the then-current priority of the band was the focus on respective solo work. “For the foreseeable future, everyone is doing their own thing,” O’Brien stated, but added that “when it feels right to plug back into Radiohead, then we will.”