Exit Music (For a Film)
|"Exit Music (For a Film)"|
|Song by Radiohead from the album OK Computer|
|Released||16 June 1997|
|Producer||Nigel Godrich with Radiohead|
"Exit Music (For a Film)" is a song by Radiohead, written specifically for the closing credits of the 1996 film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Although not included on either of the two soundtrack albums at the request of Thom Yorke, the song appears on the band's highly acclaimed third album, OK Computer (1997). It was heavily inspired by Frédéric Chopin's Prelude No. 4 in E Minor although, ELO's 1983 B side, "After All" seems a more likely influence as it strays from the Chopin Prelude in many ways found in Radiohead's melody.
The moment in the film when Claire Danes (as Juliet) holds a gun to her head was the actual inspiration for "Exit Music". Thom Yorke also had the 1968 adaptation of the play (Romeo and Juliet) in his head: "I saw the Zeffirelli version when I was 13 and I cried my eyes out, because I couldn't understand why, the morning after they shagged, they didn't just run away. The song is written for two people who should run away before all the bad stuff starts. A personal song." The director of the movie, Baz Luhrmann, revealed in the DVD commentary that he believes it is one of the greatest film exit songs ever written.
The song is mostly very sombre and quiet, but builds to a climax at the end as the heavily compressed bass and drums enter. In live performances, Jonny Greenwood slides a coin up and down the strings of his guitar, using a Roland Space Echo to create the eerie sounds heard throughout the song. In the studio version, the ambient sound is actually a recording of children playing played backwards. The studio version also features the eerie sound of a Mellotron choir. The distinctive fuzzy bass guitar featured in the climax is courtesy of the Shin-ei Companion FY-2 fuzz pedal.
The song is featured in the final episode of Father Ted, "Going to America". Father Kevin (Tommy Tiernan) is brought out his depression by Father Ted playing "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes; however, he then boards a bus, where he hears "Exit Music", and becomes depressed again.
Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau recorded the song on Songs: The Art of the Trio Volume Three (1998) and on the live albums Art of the Trio 4: Back at the Vanguard (1999) and Live in Marciac (2011). His studio recording was featured in the movie Unfaithful in 2002. Other cover versions have been made by Miranda Sex Garden in 2001, Scala & Kolacny Brothers, Vampire Weekend, Easy Star All-Stars, Christopher O'Riley in 2003, performer Amanda Palmer covered the song on her 2010 EP Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele. The song is also featured on Strung Out on OK Computer: The String Quartet Tribute to Radiohead.
- "Radiohead review". Planet Mellotron. Retrieved 2010-05-01.