The Best Radiohead Songs to Top the Charts
- Viva La Vida
An absolute classic and fan favorite, this was the song that solidified Radiohead as one of the most creative Rock bands ever. Over a beautiful progression of strings, arranged by the now-legendary Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke weaves a magnificent tale of like, all of world history I guess. Nobody has really been able to figure out what this song means because it’s just too deep.
- A Sky Full of Stars
With one of mainstream music’s first dives into astronomy, this groundbreaking hit was formative in Radiohead’s path to critical acclaim. Its beautiful chorus is matched only by its incredible bass drop, engineered by the late Avicii (who many fans won’t know was actually an influential member of Radiohead) and fantastic piano chords.
- Speed of Sound
One of the fastest songs in history, “Speed of Sound” was Radiohead’s first experiment with producing music for planes instead of humans. Already having reached the top of the charts at this point, the band was free to break down boundaries and start embracing their own unique style.
- Adventure of a Lifetime
One of Radiohead’s grooviest tracks, “Adventure of a Lifetime” is unafraid to delve into the realm of Disco, or even modern Dance music. This track is easily identified by its permeating guitar riff, which would take any song from mediocre to great. Radiohead is famous for experimenting, but that didn’t stop this song from topping the charts.
- Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
By incorporating the sounds of actual people crying, captured in a hospital by Thom Yorke without any permission to record, this song was able to remain uplifting despite its melancholic undertones. As much fine art as it is popular music, “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” is one of this generation’s most monolithic installations.
As high as this track peaked on the charts, it’s surprising to learn that Radiohead didn’t actually contribute anything to it. Instead, Thom Yorke simply summoned a group of pixies to emerge from the ground and perform a song that they felt Radiohead would perform. Iconic.
As soon as you hear the opening lyrics, “Oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo,
oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo,” you just know.
- Christmas Lights
Many thought that to perform a Christmas song would be for Radiohead to “sell out,” but this track proved them wrong. With Thom Yorke simply humming the tune of “Yankee Doodle” on top of the original recording of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” this genre-bending hit dominated both the Holiday and Alternative charts.
- Hymn for the Weekend
Although Beyoncé is one of the highest-grossing artists of all time, Radiohead is so well-respected within the music industry that they were able to pull off a collaboration. Once again giving a big ol’ middle finger to the concept of genre, this mind-melding track toes the line between throat-singing and bubblegum pop.
- Princess of China
Dedicated to his daughter, Mingze, this song was one of the first American hits to feature vocal contributions from Xi Jinping, the President of China. Beautifully endearing and emotional, this track was the main reason that Xi remains so well-liked in his home country.