June 1997
Length: 3:47
Disc: OK Computer | Running From Demons EP | No Surprises single
Tablature: Guitar | Bass | Xylophone
No Surprises Video

Other Versions:
Cover by Paige - Anyone Can Play Radiohead Tribute LP
String Version - Strung Out On OK Computer

This was the first song to be recorded for OK Computer, from the first take on the first day of recording in their Oxford studios, Canned Applause. Based loosely on 'Sad and Beautiful World' by Sparklehorse, it was originally premiered in December 1995 in an acoustic version called 'No Surprises Please' which quite a different feel to it. Since then, Jonny's glockenspiel part got added, and the song has a far happier sound. Thom still maintains that it is not about suicide. He was going for that 'Pet Sounds' vibe.

Released as the third single from OK Computer, Parlophone's MD claimed it could "easily be number one".

Thom introduced this song to his bandmates and the members of REM on the REM Monster Tour. It was 3 August 1995, in Oslo, Norway, and they were all gathered in a dressing room. The lyrics have been changed since then, but they originally told the story of a man who has become fed up with the way things are working out for him and is having problems with his girlfriend. Two lines from this version are, "He was sick of her excuses / To not take off her dress when bleedin' in the bathroom." Preparing to record the song, Thom altered those lyrics, but the meaning remains essentially the same.

Aside from the fact that it features a glockenspiel, this track has a simplicity that proves Radiohead's ability to create a basic song with straighforward lyrics and make it fit smoothly into an album as complex as OK Computer.

Placed perfectly after the scary Climbing Up The Walls in the album's tracklist, No Surprises sounds like a nursery rhyme, with its glockenspiel and xylophone type melodies and Thom's soft vocals repeating the chorus 'No alarms and no surprises'. Despite it's simplicity, this is a fantastic song. The video is equally genius, and Thom nearly drowned making it!

Some fans believe this song to be about a man who decides to take his own life. This has never been confirmed by the band, and a lot of people prefer the idea that it's simply about a man who feels trapped by life.

A heart that's full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won't heal

You look so tired and unhappy
Bring down the Government
They don't, they don't speak for us
I'll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide

No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
Silent, silence

This is my final fit, my final bellyache with
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises please

Such a pretty house
And such a pretty garden

No alarms and no surprises (let me out of here)
No alarms and no surprises (let me out of here)
No alarms and no surprises please (let me out of here)
Thom Yorke "I wanted a song that sounded like new double-glass: Hope-giving, clean and safe." - Thom

"What is fad today is rubbish tomorrow. I am an emotional dumping ground." - Thom

"We wanted it to have the atmosphere of Marvin Gaye. Or Louis Armstrong's 'Wonderful world'." - Thom

Colin Greenwood
"It's our 'stadium-friendly' song. The idea was first frighten everyone with 'Climbing Up The Walls' and then comfort them again with a popsong with a chorus that sounds like a lullaby." - Colin

Jonny Greenwood "No Surprises was used to try our new equipment out. We thought it wasn't good to save that recording. It still sounds a bit "careful" and that suits the song. The Glockenspiel is used for the recording of the song." - Jonny
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