Harrowdown Hill

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"Harrowdown Hill"
Single by Thom Yorke
from the album The Eraser
B-side "Jetstream",
"The Drunkk Machine"
Released 21 August 2006
Format 7", 12", CD
Genre Alternative rock, electronica
Length 4:38
Label XL
Writer(s) Thom Yorke
Producer(s) Nigel Godrich
Thom Yorke singles chronology
"Black Swan"
"Harrowdown Hill"
The Eraser track listing
"And It Rained All Night"
"Harrowdown Hill"
"Cymbal Rush"

"Harrowdown Hill" is a song by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and is the eighth track on his 2006 album The Eraser. The song was also released as a limited edition single in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2006, peaking at #23 in the UK Singles Chart (see 2006 in British music). "Harrowdown Hill" was Yorke's first official solo single, and one of two to be released from The Eraser; however, the track "Black Swan" had already been issued as a radio-only single in some areas. The song was written about biological warfare expert David Kelly who, as a matter of some contention, committed suicide in 2003. However, there is speculation that he was murdered, as demonstrated in the song. Thom Yorke himself confirmed the song's meaning in several interviews.[1]

A video for the song was released 31 July 2006 and had its first play on Channel 4.[2]

Track listings[edit]

  • Promo CD
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" (Early Fade)
  2. "Harrowdown Hill" (Full Length)
  • 7" XLS238, limited to 5,000 copies
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" - 4:38
  2. "Jetstream" - 3:44
  • CD XLS238CD, limited to 10,000 copies
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" - 4:38
  2. "The Drunkk Machine" - 4:07
  3. "Harrowdown Hill" (extended mix) - 7:01
  • 12" XLT238, limited to 3,000 copies
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" (extended mix) - 7:01
  2. "The Drunkk Machine" - 4:07
  • 12" XLT238US
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" (extended mix) - 7:01
  2. "The Drunkk Machine" - 4:07
  3. "Jetstream" - 3:44

Song information[edit]

Harrowdown Hill in Longworth, Oxfordshire is notable for being the place where the body of Dr. David Kelly was found in 2003. His evidence had raised questions about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction — the official justification for the UK government's decision to invade Iraq. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Yorke said, "The government and the Ministry of Defence... were directly responsible for outing him and that put him in a position of unbearable pressure that he couldn't deal with, and they knew they were doing it and what it would do to him... I've been feeling really uncomfortable about that song lately, because it was a personal tragedy, and Dr. Kelly has a family who are still grieving. But I also felt that not to write it would perhaps have been worse."[3] In another interview, Yorke said that "Harrowdown Hill" is "the most angry song I've ever written in my life. I'm not gonna get into the background to it, the way I see it... And it's not for me or for any of us to dig any of this up. So it's a bit of an uncomfortable thing."[4] Yorke also notes that "'Harrowdown Hill' was kicking around during Hail to the Thief, but there was no way that was going to work with the band.".[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Harrowdown Hill" was directed by Chel White of BENT Image Lab in 2006. It features stop-motion eagle animation by David Russo, time-lapse footage by Mark Eiffert, and a technique known as Smallgantics.


  1. ^ "All messed up". The Guardian (London). 18 June 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  2. ^ "Harrowdown Hill". 28 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  3. ^ "Thom Yorke interview in Globe and Mail". 14 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-14. 
  4. ^ Craig McLean (18 June 2006). "All messed up". London: Observer Music Monthly. Retrieved 2006-06-18. 
  5. ^ David Fricke (1 June 2006). "Radiohead's Thom Yorke on Going Solo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2006-07-16. 

External links[edit]