Philip Selway

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Philip Selway
Selway performing with Radiohead in 2018
Selway performing with Radiohead in 2018
Background information
Birth namePhilip James Selway
Born (1967-05-23) 23 May 1967 (age 55)
OriginAbingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England
GenresAlternative rock, art rock, electronic, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, vocals
Years active1985–present
LabelsXL, Nonesuch, Bella Union

Philip James Selway (born 23 May 1967) is an English musician and the drummer of the English rock band Radiohead. Along with the other members of Radiohead, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. He released his debut solo album, Familial, in 2010, followed by Weatherhouse in 2014. He also composed the soundtrack for the 2017 film Let Me Go.

Early life[edit]

Selway was born on 23 May 1967[citation needed] in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.[1] He started learning to play drums and guitar at the age of 15 for "the social cachet and love of music"; his earliest influences were Joy Division, the Clash and the Velvet Underground.[1]

The members of Radiohead met while attending Abingdon School, an independent school for boys in Abingdon.[2] Selway, along with guitarist Ed O'Brien, was in the year above singer Thom Yorke and bassist Colin Greenwood, and three years above multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood, brother of Colin.[3] In 1985, they formed On a Friday, the name referring to the band's usual rehearsal day in the school's music room.[3] Selway attended Liverpool Polytechnic, where he studied literature.[4] He also worked as an English teacher[4] and copyeditor.[1]



In 1991, On a Friday signed a six-album recording contract with EMI and changed their name to Radiohead.[5] They found early success with their 1992 single "Creep".[6] Their third album, OK Computer (1997), propelled them to international fame and is often acclaimed as one of the best albums of all time.[7][8]

From their fourth album, Kid A (2000), Radiohead began integrating drum machines and electronic percussion into their music. Selway said this "pushed me to create some new dynamics. It’s another way of solving the problem of arranging songs ... Electronics opened up my drumming rather than closing down the possibilities of what I can do. Now I can express myself in a more effective way."[9]

Since 2011, Radiohead have performed with a second drummer, Clive Deamer.[10] Describing their 2012 tour for The King of Limbs, Selway said: "One [of us] played in the traditional way, the other almost mimicked a drum machine. It was push-and-pull, like kids at play, really interesting."[9] In 2019, Selway testified in an inquest into the fatal 2012 Radiohead stage collapse.[11]

In 2008, Gigwise named Selway the 26th greatest drummer of all time, praising his "mathematical precision".[12] By 2011, Radiohead had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.[13] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2019.[14] Selway contributed drums to "Impossible Knots" from Yorke's third solo album, Anima (2019).[15]

Solo work[edit]

Selway began writing songs as a teenager, but concentrated on drumming after Radiohead formed;[16] he began writing again later in life. Feeling the songs had a distinct character that did not fit Radiohead, Selway began recording solo material.[16] His debut solo album, Familial, was released on 30 August 2010.[17] Selway performed acoustic guitar and vocals; Pitchfork described the album as a collection of "hushed folk songs" in the tradition of Nick Drake.[18] It also features Wilco members Glenn Kotche and Pat Sansone and 7 Worlds Collide artists Lisa Germano and Sebastian Steinberg. Selway announced a solo tour on 4 February 2011.[19][20]

Selway's second solo album, Weatherhouse, was released on 6 October 2014, featuring more ambitious instrumentation and electronic elements.[21] In 2017, Selway composed the score for the feature film Let Me Go, directed by Polly Steele.[22]

Other work[edit]

Selway performing with 7 Worlds Collide, 2009

For 20 years, Selway volunteered for the emotional support charity Samaritans, first as a listener and then an ambassador.[23]

Selway performed with the band Dive Dive in March 2005. Along with Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, Selway appeared in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as a member of the band the Weird Sisters.[24]

Selway toured and recorded with Neil Finn as part of the 7 Worlds Collide project. He drummed on their eponymous 2001 live album and provides drums, guitar and vocals on their 2009 studio album The Sun Came Out, where he also penned two tracks.[citation needed]

Selway appears on "Rest on the Rock" and "Out of Light" on the album Before the Ruin by Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever, and John McCusker.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Selway and his wife Cait have three sons and a daughter.[citation needed] Selway's mother Thea died during a Radiohead tour in May 2006; the band cancelled one of their dates in Amsterdam so that Selway could carry out his family duties.[26] They returned to Amsterdam in August to play the missed show. In Rainbows is dedicated to Thea Selway.[citation needed]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Details Charts


Familial 185 8 7
  • Released: 6 October 2014 (UK)[31]
  • Label: Bella Union
  • Formats: CD, LP, download

Soundtrack albums[edit]

Title Details
Let Me Go
  • Released: 15 September 2017
  • Label: Bella Union
  • Formats: LP, CD, download

Extended plays[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Details
Running Blind
  • Released: 25 July 2011
  • Label: Bella Union, Nonesuch
  • Formats: Vinyl, download


Title Year Album
"It Will End in Tears" 2014 Weatherhouse
"Around Again (The Acid Remix)" 2015 Non-album single

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Fusilli, Jim (30 September 2010). "Radiohead's Selway Explores a New Station in Life". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  2. ^ McLean, Craig (14 July 2003). "Don't worry, be happy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  3. ^ a b Randall, Mac (1 April 1998). "The Golden Age of Radiohead". Guitar World.
  4. ^ a b Hughespublished, Rob (9 October 2014). "Philip Selway: "It's a very intimate record."". loudersound. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  5. ^ Ross, Alex (20 August 2001). "The Searchers". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Jonny Greenwood - 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Q Magazine: The 100 Greatest British Albums of All Time - How many do you own? (Either on CD, Vinyl, Tape or Download)". List Challenges.
  8. ^ "Radiohead's OK Computer named best album of the past 25 years". 22 December 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Phil Selway and the evolution of rock drumming in the digital age". Mono. 9 November 2014. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Radiohead in Amsterdam: A Tour Opener Live Blog | Pitchfork". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  11. ^ Minsker, Evan; Hogan, Marc (10 April 2019). "Inquest into death of Radiohead drum tech ends". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  12. ^ "The Greatest Drummers of All Time". Gigwise. 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  13. ^ Jonathan, Emma. "BBC Worldwide takes exclusive Radiohead performance to the world". BBC. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  14. ^ Greene, Andy (30 March 2019). "Radiohead, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Janet Jackson Enter Rock Hall at Epic Ceremony". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  15. ^ "5 Takeaways From Thom Yorke's New Album, ANIMA". Pitchfork. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  16. ^ a b Rhythm (7 July 2011). "INTERVIEW: Radiohead's Phil Selway on going solo". MusicRadar. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  17. ^ "Radiohead drummer announces details of debut solo album". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  18. ^ Dombal, Ryan (26 July 2010). "Radiohead's Selway talks new solo LP, does not talk new Radiohead LP". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Radiohead's Phil Selway Announces European Solo Tour". Spinner. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  20. ^ James Reed (3 February 2010). "Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  21. ^ Fullterton, Jamie (18 October 2014). "Philip Selway – Weatherhouse". NME. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  22. ^ Garratt, John (3 November 2017). "Philip Selway: Let Me Go Original Soundtrack". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Radiohead's Selway: being in a band can make you 'narcissistic'". The Independent. 10 October 2014. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  24. ^ Richards, Will (8 July 2020). "Jarvis Cocker says he chose his own wardrobe for 'Harry Potter' cameo". NME. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Navigator Records". Navigator Records. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  26. ^ Selway, Phil (11 May 2006). "My mum". Dead Air Space. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  27. ^ Peak chart positions in the United Kingdom:
  28. ^ "Philip Selway: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Philip Selway: Chart History - Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  30. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Familial". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  31. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Weatherhouse". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2020.

External links[edit]