Fragile Friend

Listen: Radiohead’s Early Demo From The 1980’s ‘Fragile Friend’

David Layde
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Thanks to the enduring obsession of Radiohead fans, a demo from the band from as way back as 1986 has been unearthed. This was when the band went under the moniker of On A Friday and this particular song is well before the release of their first album, Pablo Honey. The demo is available for your ears below…

This track was cut at the Abingdon School, and as a band they are almost completely indistinguishable from the act they would become. There’s not a sign of any arty aspirations or even their more conventional pure rock anthems like ‘The Bends’ or ‘Just’.

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‘Fragile Friend’ sounds like something Johnny Marr might have written for The Smiths. However, Morrissery rejected it on the grounds of it being too jangly and passed it on to The Sundays. Singer Thom Yorke is barely recognisable in his affected drawl.

The tune is way more melodic in range, with a faster tempo than the band’s usual cannon of work. Thankfully On A Friday would later be called Shindig (1990) before finally copping on and listening to some of David Byrne’s lyrics and settling on Radiohead!

Meanwhile Thom Yorke recently announced details of an extensive UK and European tour. Yorke is set to play a string of festival and headline dates over the summer months with longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich as well as visual artist Traik Barri. Tour dates are available here.

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