June 1997
Length: 4:27
Disc: OK Computer
Tablature: Guitar

Other Versions:
Acoustic @ KCRW - Rare On Air: Volume 4
Cover by The Illuminati - Anyone Can Play Radiohead Tribute LP
String Version - Strung Out On OK Computer

An old song which was just being written as The Bends was released in March 1995, and performed many times since. The band were trying to achieve the effect of Miles Davies' 'Bitches Brew' with a sub-aqua sound of electric keyboards and soft guitars. When played live, Thom plays the Rhodes piano.

Originally called "Uptight," which is how Jonny referred to it in its early staged, the song pays homage to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."

It deals with alien abduction and stems from two incidents in Thom's life. The first occured at Abingdon School, when he was assigned an essay question that went something like this: "If you were an alien from another planet arriving on Earth, how would you describe what you saw?" The second incident occurred when Thom was driving down a country road and hit a bird (which he believes was a pheasant). He stepped out of the car and at that moment began thinking about alien abduction.

Subterranean Homesick Alien was first played acoustically back in 1995 during radio broadcasts. It wasn't until OK Computer was made that the organ was added. The earliest version was released on the compilation Rare on Air: Volume 4, which sees Thom and Jonny playing the song with acoustic guitars; both versions are sung together and the song closes with the chorus.

It was recorded in their Oxford studios, Canned Applause.

The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting
The smell of the warm summer air

I live in a town where you can't smell a thing
You watch your feet for cracks in the pavement

Up above, aliens hover
Making home movies
For the folks back home

Of all these weird creatures who lock up their spirits
Drill holes in themselves
And live for their secrets

They're all uptight, uptight
Uptight, uptight
Uptight, uptight

I wish that they'd swoop down in a country lane
Late at night when I'm driving
Take me on board their beautiful ship
Show me the world as I'd love to see it

I'd tell all my friends but they'd never believe me
They'd think that I'd finally lost it completely
I'd show them the stars and the meaning of life
They'd shut me away
But I'd be alright, alright
I'm alright
I'm alright

I'm just uptight, uptight
Uptight, uptight
Uptight, uptight
Uptight, uptight
Thom Yorke "A tribute to Dylan's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'. *sings* "Jonny's in the basement mixing up the medicine, I'm on the pavement thinking about the government". Do I really hope to be on a spaceship? Why not. I believe there are aliens under the ground. I want to see them. I want to see ghosts. I want to walk on the street smiling, knowing that there are little green creatures with incredible large brains and big, beautiful, black eyes, that are filming us with their videocameras." - Thom Colin Greenwood

"John Power of Cast believes that in the middle of the earth there is a sun where aliens live. They get to the sun from two entrances: one on the south-pole and one on the north-pole." - Colin
Jonny Greenwood
"The intro and the chorus is mine, the rest is Thom's work... We were trying to sound like [Miles Davis's] Bitches Brew. We kind of fell in love with electric pianos and echoey drum kits. We were trying to do that, but between me and Thom, we don't have any good electric piano players. And we didn't like the guitar playing. And none of us can play trumpet, so it was always going to be fairly bad plagiarising." - Jonny
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