Oct 2000
Length: 5:49
Disc: Kid A
Tablature: Guitar | Bass

Other Versions:
Live @ Dublin - Pyramid Song - Pinkpop
Live @ Vaison La Romaine - I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings

A live favourite, Radiohead used "The National Anthem" to start all of their shows on their relatively small Kid A tour.

The song features a mesmerizing bassline which continues unaltered throughout the track. This was played by Thom for the recorded version of the track, but obviously Colin (being the bassist) plays it live.

Thom also uses more voice distorting effects as in Kid A, but they are slightly clearer this time around.

The Orchestra of St.Johns conducted by John Jubbock and scored by Jonny Greenwood. Hook horns blown: Andy Bush [trumpet], Steve Hamilton [alto], Martin Hathaway [alto], Andy Hamilton [tenor], Mark Lockheart [tenor], Stan Harrison [baritone], Liam Kerkman [trombone], Mike Kearsey [bass trombone]. Rhythm sampling by Henry Binns.

The National Anthem is the most energetic track on the album, containing Thom literally screaming lyrics, which are drowned in spooky electronic howls, Phil's drum loops, and Colin's amazing bassline. Not to mention the very original brass band who dominate the song. Thom said he was aiming for a controlled chaos, similar to that of Charles Mingus. He was sat conducting a brass band in the studio, basically letting them hit whatever notes they wanted, but instructing them when to play. This gives a very strange sounding, and chaotic centre to the piece. Unfortunately, when played live, some of this chaos is lost as the brass band doesn't accompany Radiohead on tour.

Originally known as 'Everyone', a part of the real National Anthem can be heared towards the end, with Thom shouting 'Turn it off!' This track was originally considered for an OK Computer b-side.

Everyone around here
Everyone is so near
Just holding on
Just holding on

And everyone
Everyone is so near
Everyone has got the fear
Just holding on
Just holding on

What's holding on?
It's holding on
Holding on
Jonny Greenwood "It started with Thom saying this track should turn into a Charlie Mingus track by the end. Thom has these ideas quite often, sometimes they are best ignored and sometimes they are genius and he's completely right. We pretty much just got a brass section into the room, and I scored out the rough tune. Thom and I stood in front of them conducting - I say conducting it wasn't Simon Rattle it was more jumping up and down when we wanted it to be louder and faster and calming them down at certain points, I'm sure it looked ridiculous. But it sounded pretty good on tape, I think." - Jonny

"We wanted them to play around with the rhythms of the what was happening, and do cross beats, and be taking turns to do solos. A bit like Charlie Mingus - the organised chaos of that - the fact that it's not random, there is organised chaos going on, but it's very loose around the edges." - Jonny

"The very last high note is actually done on the lowest instrument which gives you some idea of the sweat and the red faces going on in that room. It was just intense you know." - Jonny

Ed O'Brien
"Eight 'jazzers' came down for the day and blew their stuff all over 'Everyone - The National Anthem'. they were fantastic. Thom and Jonny conducted. What a day." - Ed
Colin Greenwood
"It's great, it's got Charlie Mingus horns on it." - Colin
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