Auction of Rare Radiohead Demo Features Three Previously Unknown Songs

Phil Boucher
·2 min read

Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Radiohead fans are about to get a unique glimpse into the band's past.

A rare demo tape featuring three previously unheard tracks from the group's early days is going under the hammer in Liverpool.

Recorded when the band was called On a Friday, the cassette features a total of six songs that were put together in 1987, shortly after the musicians left Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, England but before they signed with EMI records.

The name is taken from the day of the week they rehearsed.

"The tracks are raw but certainly suggest something of the fantastic potential that the band would realize in a few years' time," says Paul Fairweather from Omega Auctions, which estimates the demo cassette will fetch around $3,000 at auction on Jan. 26.

Omega Auctions

Omega Auctions

The unheard tracks do not feature on any of Radiohead's other "known" demos from the period and are called "Promise Me," "Boy in a Box" and "These Chains."

The seller, who wants to remain anonymous, knew the band in the early 1990s and was given the demo cassette by an unknown member of the band.

Along with the unique songs, the cassette also features handwritten notes and cover art design by frontman Thom Yorke, which reads "Gripe" and "On a Friday."

Omega Auctions

Omega Auctions

Yorke — who married Italian actress Dajana Roncione in September — has also written on the cassette "Gripe + 3 trax at beginning" and then on the inlay card added some typically downbeat yet humorous glimpses into tunes "Happy Song (why don't you write a happy song?)," "To Be a Brilliant Light (midlife crisis, no comforts)" and "Sinking Ship (how would you like a job like that?)."

The inlay also lists all five existing members of the three-time Grammy winners: Yorke, Ed O'Brien, Philip Selway, and brothers Jonny and Colin Greenwood.