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''My Iron Lung'' is the third EP by the English rock band
Radiohead Radiohead are an English Rock music, rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), brothers Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments) ...

Radiohead
, released on 26 September 1994 by
Parlophone Records Parlophone Records Limited (also known as Parlophone Records and Parlophone) is a German–British record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies ...
in the UK and by
Capitol Records Capitol Records, LLC (known legally as Capitol Records, Inc. until 2007) is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is ...

Capitol Records
in the US. It compiles songs not included on Radiohead's second album, '' The Bends'' (1995), plus the ''Bends'' song "My Iron Lung", which was also released as a single. The EP marked Radiohead's first collaborations with artist
Stanley Donwood Dan Rickwood (born 29 October 1968), known professionally as Stanley Donwood, is an English artist and writer. Since 1994, he has created all the artwork for the rock band Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon, Oxfo ...
and producer
Nigel Godrich Nigel Timothy Godrich (born 28 February 1971) is an English record producer, recording engineer and musician. He is known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead, having produced all their studio albums since '' OK Computer'' (1997) ...
. Radiohead wrote "My Iron Lung" in response to the success of their debut single "Creep (Radiohead song), Creep" (1992). Unsatisfied with the version they had recorded at RAK Studios in London, they used a performance recorded in May 1994 at the London Astoria. The "My Iron Lung" single peaked at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart. Sales of the EP were better than expected and suggested that Radiohead had found a loyal fanbase and were not one-hit wonders. It received positive reviews.


Recording

Radiohead recorded most of the songs on ''My Iron Lung'' at RAK Studios, London, during the sessions for their second album, '' The Bends'' (1995). Songwriter Thom Yorke described the EP as a collection of songs that did not fit on the album rather than outtakes, and said: "The EP was just for fans, really ... It's for Radiohead fans and we think they're good, otherwise we wouldn't have plugged them on." The EP marked Radiohead's first collaborations with artist
Stanley Donwood Dan Rickwood (born 29 October 1968), known professionally as Stanley Donwood, is an English artist and writer. Since 1994, he has created all the artwork for the rock band Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon, Oxfo ...
and producer
Nigel Godrich Nigel Timothy Godrich (born 28 February 1971) is an English record producer, recording engineer and musician. He is known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead, having produced all their studio albums since '' OK Computer'' (1997) ...
, both of whom have worked on every Radiohead release since. The acoustic version of "Creep" was taken from a live performance on KROQ-FM on July 13, 1993.


"My Iron Lung"

Only "My Iron Lung" was included on ''The Bends''. Radiohead wrote it in response to the request from their record label, EMI, to record a single to repeat the success of their 1992 debut "Creep (Radiohead song), Creep". The caustic lyrics use an iron lung as a metaphor for the way "Creep" had both sustained Radiohead and constrained them: "This is our new song / Just like the last one / A total waste of time / My iron lung". Yorke said in 1995: "People have defined our emotional range with that one song, 'Creep'. I saw reviews of 'My Iron Lung' that said it was just like 'Creep'. When you're up against things like that, it's like: 'Fuck you.' These people are never going to listen." Radiohead recorded versions of "My Iron Lung" at RAK, but were not satisfied with the results. Instead, they used a performance recorded in May 1994 at the London Astoria, with Yorke's vocals replaced and the audience removed. According to producer John Leckie, "Considering it was recorded in the back of a truck outside the hall – not the best sound to get something from – we did quite well." Jonny Greenwood used a DigiTech Whammy pedal to Pitch shift, pitch-shift his guitar by one octave, creating a "glitchy, lo-fi" sound. Ed O'Brien used an EBow, an electronic sustaining device, on his guitar to generate a Drone (music), drone.


Release

"My Iron Lung" was released as a single was released to US Campus radio, college radio stations, where it fared poorly; Yorke and Greenwood expressed disappointment that EMI had not promoted it more. CD1 features the B-sides "The Trickster", "Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong", and "Lozenge of Love", while CD2 features the B-sides "Lewis (Mistreated)", "Permanent Daylight", and "You Never Wash Up After Yourself". The single reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart. Sales of the ''My Iron Lung'' EP were better than expected and suggested that Radiohead had found a loyal fanbase and were not one-hit wonders. On 31 August 2009, EMI reissued ''The Bends'' in a "Collector's Edition", including ''My Iron Lung''. Radiohead had no input into the reissue and the music was not remastered. The "Collector's Editions" of Radiohead albums, issued without Radiohead's approval, were removed from streaming services after their back catalogue was transferred to XL Recordings, XL.


Critical reception

According to journalist Mac Randall, "My Iron Lung" initially puzzled fans and critics: "Its transitions from jangly, ring-modulated opening hook to Paul McCartney, McCartney-esque verse melody to pulverising guitar explosions in the bridge were jarring and didn't correspond to what anyone expected from Radiohead. But now, placed next to its 11 fellow songs on ''The Bends'', it makes much more sense." AllMusic critic Greg Prato praised the EP, writing: "Because of the tracks' consistency and sequencing, it plays like a real album rather than a collection of B-sides and outtakes thrown together haphazardly." He felt the acoustic version of "Creep", with a "surprisingly harsh and off-key middle section", was "the only weak spot". ''Entertainment.ie'' wrote: "While these off-cuts are inevitably more low-key and experimental than the classics we're all familiar with, the same spirit of anguish [of ''The Bends''] and fragility is still thrillingly familiar." Reviewing ''My Iron Lung'' when it was reissued as part of ''The Bends'' in 2009, ''Pitchfork'' critic Scott Plagenhoef wrote that it had seen Radiohead finding "new ways to pick apart and re-construct the typical alt-rock template" and "demonstrated a band whose collective heads seemed to crack open and spill out new ideas".


Track listing


Personnel

Adapted from the liner notes. Radiohead *Thom Yorke *Jonny Greenwood *Ed O'Brien *Colin Greenwood *Philip Selway Production *John Leckie – production and engineering on tracks 1–4 and 6 *
Nigel Godrich Nigel Timothy Godrich (born 28 February 1971) is an English record producer, recording engineer and musician. He is known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead, having produced all their studio albums since '' OK Computer'' (1997) ...
– engineering on tracks 1–4 and 6, production on track 5 *Chris Brown – engineering on tracks 1–4 and 6 *Guy Massey – assistance *Shelly Saunders – assistance *Jim Warren – mixing on track 5, recording on track 7 Artwork *
Stanley Donwood Dan Rickwood (born 29 October 1968), known professionally as Stanley Donwood, is an English artist and writer. Since 1994, he has created all the artwork for the rock band Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon, Oxfo ...
* Thom Yorke


Certifications


References


External links

* * {{Authority control 1994 EPs Radiohead EPs Albums produced by John Leckie Albums produced by Nigel Godrich Capitol Records EPs Parlophone EPs