Ongoing History Daily: The story behind “Karma Police”

Quick story about Radiohead and the song “Karma Police.” Back in 1996, a British magazine interviewed Thom Yorke about the fact that the BBC had refused to play a Radiohead song called “Lucky.” “How do you feel about that?” they asked.

Thom said, “Well, it’s okay. We’ll get our turn. We’re just waiting for the karma police to come and sort it out.”

Ed O’Brien heard that and suggested that this phrase–karma police–might make a good lyric. Thom thought about that for a while and then went off to write the song that became known as “Karma Police” from the OK Computer album. He calls it a song for someone who has to work for a large company, a song against bosses and middle management.”

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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