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The Inventive Masterworks of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke

(Image credit: Press Photo (Provided))

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Radiohead frontman and primary songwriter Thom Yorke began playing guitar at age seven and formed his first band by the time he was 11.

As he progressed musically, Yorke was inspired by a diverse array of musical influences, including jazz greats Charles Mingus and Miles Davis, alternative rock icons R.E.M. and the Pixies, singer-songwriters Neil Young and Elvis Costello, classic bands like Queen and the Beach Boys, and numerous electronic-based musical artists.

These influences helped shape the future sound of Radiohead, the group formed when Yorke met band mates Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Pete Selway at public school in their mid teens. Today, Radiohead are internationally renowned superstars. This month, I want to look at the key acoustic-driven cuts that helped elevate Yorke’s style and musicality to legendary status, tracing Radiohead’s evolution along the way.

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A singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/film composer, Musician's Institute instructor, and author of 50+ transcription/instructional books, Dale Turner is also Guitar World's "Hole Notes"/"Acoustic Nation" columnist, and the former West Coast Editor of Guitar One magazine. Some of Dale’s old, weird, rare, and/or exotic instruments are featured in his score for WEEDS, the first animated short completed within the Filmmakers Co-op at Disney Feature Animation. His most recent CD, Mannerisms Magnified, was praised by Guitar Player magazine for its "Smart pop tunes that are crammed with interesting guitar parts and tones ... Like what the Beach Boys might do if they were on an acid trip that was on the verge of getting out of control. Yeah!"