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Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android

by Radiohead

Paranoid Android Introduction

"Paranoid Android" is a work of mad genius. It's almost seven minutes long (and that's drastically cut back from a fourteen-minute original version). It has four totally distinct musical sections. It has deeply depressing lyrics. It's named after a character from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And it's all supposed to be a bit of a joke.

But like its spiritual forefather, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Paranoid Android" – despite all its weirdness, or more likely because of it – just works. Somehow this epic (and epically strange) single rose all the way to #3 on the UK pop singles chart; it wasn't quite so popular in the United States, but it did cement Radiohead's reputation among the most creative and original artists of their generation.

Not bad for a song that had its genesis when singer/songwriter Thom Yorke got scared by an enraged woman in a bar.

About the Song

ArtistRadiohead Musician(s)Thom Yorke (vocals), Jonny Greenwood (guitar), Ed O’Brien (guitar, backup vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums)
AlbumOK Computer
Year1997
LabelParlophone
Writer(s)Thom Yorke
Producer(s)Nigel Godrich, Radiohead
Learn to play: Tablature 1, Tablature 2
Buy this song: Amazon iTunes
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Music Video

Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
"Paranoid Android" sounds like the soundtrack to some kind of futuristic dystopian novel; this is what our beleaguered dissidents in 1984 or A Brave New World should have been listening to between the Two Minutes' Hate and the next dose of Soma, don't you think?

On the Charts

"Paranoid Android" reached #3 on the U.K. Singles Chart, Radiohead's highest chart position ever.

The song ranks #256 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
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