Pop Is Dead

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"Pop Is Dead"
Single by Radiohead
Released 10 May 1993
Studio Chipping Norton Recording Studios[1]
Length 2:10
  • Jim Warren
  • Radiohead
Radiohead singles chronology
"Anyone Can Play Guitar"
"Pop Is Dead"
"Stop Whispering"
"Anyone Can Play Guitar"
"Pop Is Dead"
"Stop Whispering"

"Pop Is Dead" is a song by the British alternative rock band Radiohead. It was released as a non-album single in on 10 May 1993, only several months after their debut single "Creep" and their debut album Pablo Honey.

"Pop Is Dead" reached number 42 on the UK Singles Chart in May 1993.[2] It was subsequently included in the two disc collector's edition of Pablo Honey.[3]

Background and lyrics[edit]

"Pop Is Dead" is driven by a chromatic riff played by guitarist Jonny Greenwood.[4] Similar to the band's previous single, "Anyone Can Play Guitar", the track lyrically criticises the media, the record companies and pop music, as well as the rock press and music industry in general.[4][5]

The acoustic track "Banana Co." was described as "a mildly Beatlesque tune with lyrics that hinted at a general loathing of multinational corporations. The electric version of the track was later included on the Itch EP and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" single.[4][6] The live version of the "Ripcord" from the B-side was recorded at a Town and Country Club gig in London in February 1993, when the band opened for Belly. This version contains extra lyrics, added after the second chorus: "They can kiss my ass!"[7]


IGN critic Finn White described the song as a "clever and humorous rock satire."[8] Nevertheless, Pitchfork's Scott Plagenhoef found the track "dreadful" and "run of the mill at best."[9]

Despite charting on the UK Singles Chart, the song performed below expectations. The band distanced themselves from the song following its release. Five years after its release, Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien called the track "a hideous mistake".[4] Nevertheless, following the release of Radiohead's sophomore album The Bends in 1995, Melody Maker editor Robin Bresnark wrote: "If they came out with that now, it would be a Top Five single."[4]

Music video[edit]

Thom Yorke as "a dandified vampire in a glass coffin," as depicted in the video

The music video, which was filmed at the Neolithic Long barrow Wayland's Smithy in Oxfordshire, and directed by Dwight Clarke, features frontman Thom Yorke as "a dandified vampire in a glass coffin", accompanied by other band members.[10] The video was compared to those of Nirvana.[10]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Pop Is Dead" – 2:13
  2. "Banana Co." (acoustic) – 2:27
  3. "Creep" (live) – 4:11
  4. "Ripcord" (live) – 3:08



Technical personnel

  • Jim Warren – production
  • Radiohead – production
  • Barry Hammond – mixing
  • Rachel Owen – artwork[1]
  • Icon – design

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
UK Singles Chart[2] 42


  1. ^ a b "Radiohead – Pop Is Dead". Discogs. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Radiohead - UK Singles Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (15 January 2009). "Radiohead's First Three Albums Reissued with Extras". Spin. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Randall, Mac (2011). Exit Music - The Radiohead Story: The Radiohead Story. Omnibus. ISBN 0857126954. 
  5. ^ Wallace, Wyndham (3 March 2015). "World Class: How Radiohead Gave Us The Bends". The Quietus. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Gaerig, Andrew (12 May 2005). "Playing God: Radiohead: Pablo Honey". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Hale, Jonathan (1999). Radiohead: From a Great Height. ECW Press. ISBN 1550223739. 
  8. ^ White, Finn (24 March 2009). "Radiohead - Pablo Honey (Collector's Edition) Review". IGN. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (16 April 2009). "Radiohead - Pablo Honey: Collector's Edition". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (13 March 2015). "Out Of Control On Videotape: The 10 Best Radiohead Music Videos". Stereogum. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 

External links[edit]