"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" (commonly referred to as "Street Spirit") is a song by English alternative rock band Radiohead, featured on their second studio album The Bends, which was released in 1995.
Noted by singer-songwriter and guitarist Thom Yorke as "one of [the band's] saddest songs" and describing it as "the dark tunnel without the light at the end", "Street Spirit" was released as the band's ninth single and reached number five on the UK Singles Chart, the highest chart position the band achieved until "Paranoid Android" from OK Computer, which reached number three in 1997. It remains one of Radiohead's most popular songs and has been covered by many artists. In 2008, the song was featured on Radiohead: The Best Of, a compilation album.
Yorke has suggested that the song was inspired by the 1991 novel The Famished Road, written by Ben Okri, and that its music was inspired by R.E.M. The track is built around a soft melody in A minor with an arpeggio guitar part. A previous, working title for the song was "Three Headed Street Spirit", as seen in interviews with Thom Yorke preceding the release of The Bends. The single is also acclaimed for the quality of its B-sides; for example, "Talk Show Host" rose to prominence after it was remixed by Nellee Hooper for the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, since becoming a regular at Radiohead concerts.
The black-and-white music video for "Street Spirit" was filmed during two nights in a desert just outside Los Angeles. It premiered in February 1996 and was directed by Jonathan Glazer, who said, "That was definitely a turning point in my own work. I knew when I finished that, because they found their own voices as an artist, at that point, I felt like I got close to whatever mine was, and I felt confident that I could do things that emoted, that had some kind of poetic as well as prosaic value. That for me was a key moment." Glazer would later direct the video for "Karma Police".
The Darkness often cover this song live. Their version is delivered in a faster tempo, with significantly heavier guitar, and with lead singer Justin Hawkins' signature falsetto. In 2012, The Darkness included their cover of the song on the tracklist of their third album, Hot Cakes.
Korea covered it on their 2010 album The Delirium Suite.
Sasha Lazard and Shawna Stone cover this song on their collaboration album Siren.
Courtnee Papastathis covers this song on her album Embodied: Live in Seattle..
Enter the Haggis covered this song in Bethlehem, PA in November 2012. They later released it as part of their Valentine's Day E.P. which released on February 14, 2014.
The a Capella group On the Rocks did a cover of this song on their album "The Backgammon Sessions".
Peter Gabriel, former singer with progressive rock band Genesis, recorded a cover with minimal instrumentation for his Scratch My Back project in 2010. Gabriel recorded the song with the expectation that Radiohead would return the compliment by recording a version of his 1982 song "Wallflower" for his And I'll Scratch Yours album as part of a song exchange. Gabriel alleges that Radiohead ceased communication with him and backed out of the project after being sent the recording. Gabriel has admitted that his version of the song is "pretty extreme" and he's "heard since that the band didn't like what I did with it". Radiohead's record company declined to comment.
BLONDS recorded a more 'reserved' cover of "Talk Show Host" as an addition to their "Dark Roots E.P".