Philip Selway

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Philip Selway
Phil Selway performing with Radiohead in 2006
Phil Selway performing with Radiohead in 2006
Background information
Birth namePhilip James Selway
Born (1967-05-23) 23 May 1967 (age 53)
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
Associated actsRadiohead, 7 Worlds Collide, The Weird Sisters

Philip James Selway (born 23 May 1967) is an English musician best known as the drummer of English rock group Radiohead.

In addition to drums, he provides backing vocals, synthesisers, along with occasional guitar and lead vocals, for 7 Worlds Collide. Selway is well known for his precision and proficiency in various styles and unusual time signatures,[1] being named the 26th greatest drummer of all time by Gigwise in 2008.[2] He has worked with Samaritans since 1991.

Selway has released two solo albums: Familial (2010)[3] and Weatherhouse (2014).


The members of Radiohead met while attending Abingdon School, an independent school for boys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.[4] 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.[5] In 1985, they formed On a Friday, the name referring to the band's usual rehearsal day in the school's music room.[5]

Selway studied Literature, Life, and Thought (English and History) at Liverpool Polytechnic's C.F. Mott Campus near Prescot (now Liverpool John Moores University). Before that, he had studied mathematics, worked for various touring musicians, and worked as an English teacher.[citation needed]

In 1991, On a Friday signed a six-album recording contract with EMI and changed their name to Radiohead.[6] They found early success with their 1992 single "Creep".[7] Their third album, OK Computer (1997), propelled them to international fame and is often acclaimed as one of the best albums of all time.[8][9] By 2011, Radiohead had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.[10] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2019.[11]


Apart from drumming, Selway also occasionally sings backing vocals during live performances, especially notable on "There There", "2+2=5", "I Will", and "Go to Sleep".[12]

Since 2011, Selway has performed at Radiohead shows with a second drummer, Clive Deamer.[13] Selway said: "One played in the traditional way, the other almost mimicked a drum machine. It was push-and-pull, like kids at play, really interesting."[14]

Other work[edit]

Selway performing with 7 Worlds Collide, 2009

Selway has been associated with emotional support group Samaritans as a listening volunteer since 1991. He performed with the band Dive Dive in March 2005 and appeared in the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as a member of the band "The Weird Sisters" along with Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker.[15]

Selway has also 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 occasional lead vocals on their 2009 studio album, The Sun Came Out, where he also penned two tracks.[citation needed]

He appears on two tracks – "Rest on the Rock" and "Out of Light" – on the album Before the Ruin by Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever, and John McCusker.[16]

In 2009 Selway was featured as a guitarist on Martin Simpson's studio album True Stories.[citation needed]

Solo work[edit]

Selway released his debut solo album, Familial, on 30 August 2010.[3] The album features Selway on guitar and vocals, along with Wilco members Glenn Kotche and Pat Sansone as well as fellow 7 Worlds Collide artists Lisa Germano and Sebastian Steinberg. He announced a solo tour on 4 February 2011.[17][18] Selway's second solo album, Weatherhouse, was released on 6 October 2014. In 2017, Selway composed the score for the feature film Let Me Go, directed by Polly Steele.[19] He contributed drums to the song "Impossible Knots" from Thom Yorke's third solo album, Anima.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Selway was born in Abingdon, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire, England). He and his wife Cait have three children: Leo, Jamie, and Patrick (to whom Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief were dedicated, respectively).

His 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.[21] The band later returned to Amsterdam in August to play the missed show. The discbox, LP, and CD release of In Rainbows mentions a dedication 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)[26]
  • 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, digital 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, digital download


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Radiohead man debuts new solo material". NME. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  2. ^ "The Greatest Drummers of All Time". Gigwise. 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Radiohead drummer announces details of debut solo album". The Independent. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  4. ^ McLean, Craig (14 July 2003). "Don't worry, be happy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  5. ^ a b Randall, Mac (1 April 1998). "The Golden Age of Radiohead". Guitar World.
  6. ^ Ross, Alex (20 August 2001). "The Searchers". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Jonny Greenwood - 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Q Magazine: The 100 Greatest British Albums of All Time - How many do you own? (Either on CD, Vinyl, Tape or Download)". List Challenges.
  9. ^ "Radiohead's OK Computer named best album of the past 25 years". 22 December 2010.
  10. ^ Jonathan, Emma. "BBC Worldwide takes exclusive Radiohead performance to the world". BBC. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  11. ^ Greene, Andy (30 March 2019). "Radiohead, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Janet Jackson Enter Rock Hall at Epic Ceremony". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Shure WCM 15 Vocal Headset". 2003. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  13. ^ "Radiohead in Amsterdam: A Tour Opener Live Blog | Pitchfork". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ Richards, Will. "Jarvis Cocker says he chose his own wardrobe for 'Harry Potter' cameo". NME. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Navigator Records". Navigator Records. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  17. ^ "Radiohead's Phil Selway Announces European Solo Tour". Spinner. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  18. ^ James Reed. "Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  19. ^ Hughes, William (16 August 2017). "Radiohead's drummer is getting into the movie soundtrack game, too". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  20. ^ "5 Takeaways From Thom Yorke's New Album, ANIMA". Pitchfork. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  21. ^ Selway, Phil (11 May 2006). "My mum". Dead Air Space. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  22. ^ Peak chart positions in the United Kingdom:
  23. ^ "Philip Selway: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Philip Selway: Chart History - Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  25. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Familial". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  26. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Weatherhouse". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2020.

External links[edit]