Street Spirit (Fade Out)

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"Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
Single by Radiohead
from the album The Bends
Released 22 January 1996
Format 7" vinyl, CD
Recorded 1994
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:13
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Radiohead
Producer(s) John Leckie
Radiohead singles chronology
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
"Paranoid Android"
Music video
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" on YouTube

"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.[1] 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.[2] 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.

Music video[edit]

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[citation needed] 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."[3] Glazer would later direct the video for "Karma Police".

Track listing[edit]

CD 1[edit]

  1. "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" – 4:13
  2. "Talk Show Host" – 4:41
  3. "Bishop's Robes" – 3:25

CD 2[edit]

  1. "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" – 4:13
  2. "Banana Co." – 2:20
  3. "Molasses" – 2:26


  • Thom Yorke - lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
  • Jonny Greenwood - electric guitar, synthesizer
  • Ed O'Brien - electric guitar, backing vocals
  • Colin Greenwood - bass
  • Philip Selway - drums, rare backup vocals


  • 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.[4]
  • Stream of Passion have recorded this song on their 2009 album The Flame Within. It is sung by Marcela Bovio and adds a burst of heavy guitar playing.[5]
  • Romanian Alternative Rock band Luna Amară covers the song as a bonus track on their album Loc Lipsă. It is played at a slow pace with a background trumpet performed by Mihai Iordache.[6]
  • Joe Budden had this song sampled on the track "Never Again" off of the 2009 album Escape Route.[7]
  • The Eden House cover it on their 2010 EP The Looking Glass.[8]
  • Korea covered it on their 2010 album The Delirium Suite.[9]
  • Sasha Lazard and Shawna Stone cover this song on their collaboration album Siren.[10]
  • Courtnee Papastathis covers this song on her album Embodied: Live in Seattle..[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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.[13] 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.[14] Gabriel alleges that Radiohead ceased communication with him and backed out of the project after being sent the recording.[15] 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.[16]
  • BLONDS recorded a more 'reserved' cover of "Talk Show Host" as an addition to their "Dark Roots E.P".[17]
  • 2Cellos have included an instrumental version of the song in their Celloverse album in 2015.[18]


  1. ^ Thom Yorke "Chipping Away - Brian Draper talks to Thom Yorke", Third Way Magazine', October 11, 2004.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Anthony Kaufman (2001-06-12). "Shooting the "Beast"; Jonathan Glazer Tames the Gangster Genre". indieWIRE. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  4. ^ Nelson, Michael."The Darkness - 'Street Spirit' (Radiohead Cover)",, New York, 9 August 2012. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Allmusic Discography: The Flame Within", Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  6. ^ Admin."Luna Amara - "Loc Lipsa" (2006)", No. 3, 26 December 2008. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  7. ^ Rennie, Andrew."Joe Budden", NOW, 18 November 2009. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Eden House, The - The Looking Glass DVD at Discogs",, Portland, OR. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  9. ^ "The Delirium Suite by Korea",, Shumba, Egypt. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Sasha Lazard", Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Embodied: Live in Seattle | Courtnee Fallon Rex",, Sea Ranch, CA. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Valentine's Day EP - Enter The Haggis",, Toronto, Canada. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back (CD, Album) at Discogs",, Portland, OR. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  14. ^ Bassett, Jordan (12 February 2010). "Peter Gabriel: 'Thom Yorke won't respond to my cover of 'Street Spirit'". NME. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Young, Alex."Radiohead’s Thom Yorke “disses” Peter Gabriel, preps “something” in April",, Chicago, IL, 15 February 2010. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  16. ^ Rogers, Jude (2 June 2010). "Peter Gabriel: 'It doesn't have anything to do with witchcraft!'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  17. ^ Kim, David."Radiohead Classic 'Talk Show Host' Covered By The Blonds",, New York, 13 March 2012. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  18. ^ Celloverse, official track list, / Retrieved on 27 January 2015.

External links[edit]