NUDE

The song was released as the second single from In Rainbows on 31 March 2008. 'Nude' was written in 1997, and the band began to perform it live soon after. However, a recording was not included on any Radiohead album until 10 years later.

In April 2008 'Nude' became their most successful single on the Billboard Hot 100 since 'Creep' in 1993. It is not known exactly when Thom Yorke penned 'Nude', but a version of the song was recorded during sessions with producer Nigel Godrich that would eventually produce OK Computer, Radiohead's third LP. Though this recording was originally hailed as a 'great success' by members of the band, they eventually soured towards it.

A few more attempts were made to record 'Nude' for inclusion on OK Computer, but the album did not feature the song. The earliest known recordings of the song are sound checks from the OK Computer tour, recorded during September 1997. They feature a slightly different chord progression in the chorus and a different vocal melody, along with some different lyrics.

The first time fans were treated to a live performance of the song was during the OK Computer tour on January 23, 1998 in Tokyo, Japan, when Thom Yorke delivered a solo acoustic rendition as an encore. On March 29, 1998, at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas, Texas, Radiohead debuted a full-band arrangement of 'Nude'.

It became known as 'Big Ideas', with the parenthetical (Don't Get Any) often added. Apparently this title was at the suggestion of fans, as the song officially had no title yet, but appeared on some setlists as 'Nude' or 'Neut'.

In the 1998 documentary Meeting People is Easy, singer Thom Yorke joked to journalist Matt Pinfield that the full title was actually supposed to be 'Your Home Is At Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Repayments'. After 1998, the band initially planned the track for their next album Kid A (2000), but scrapped efforts to record it; the song did not appear on the band's next two albums, either. During this period, it was performed only rarely, notably on request at a 2002 concert in Salamanca, but usually by Yorke in solo acoustic versions. Band members professed admiration for the song but said they had not figured out the best way to approach it in the studio.

In 2005, the band began new recording sessions with Mark Stent and posted a list of songs they were working on, including the now-officially titled 'Nude', on their blog, Dead Air Space. This was confirmed in early 2006, when the band revealed that they had been recording 'Nude' with a string quartet, and that a new string arrangement had been written by Jonny Greenwood.

In June 2006, Yorke and Greenwood said in interviews that the song was effectively finished and on tape in a version they were very satisfied with, barring minor adjustments. After their tour, the band returned to the studio in autumn 2006 to continue recording sessions, this time without Stent, but with their longtime producer Nigel Godrich.

To promote the release of the single, the band began a competition for fans to create their own remixes of the song, from the individual tracks of guitar, drums, bass, vocals and strings. These were made available to download, via iTunes, on April 1, 2008, with all entries available to listen to at the remix website. A music video for the song, featuring all band members in slow motion, was made by comedian Adam Buxton and director Garth Jennings for their 'Scotch Mist' webcast.


Nigel Godrich on NUDE in 2007:

Thom's very prolific, he's always writing, and one time I made a list of songs that he had that they hadn't recorded. Radiohead have a little catalogue of songs that just never get done. Its almost because its their best material and no version is ever quite good enough. Its too precious to them. I said, 'You have to record them, because one day you're going to die and they'll go with you. Its criminal. And if you don't fucking record them, I'm going to fucking do it! I'll do a covers album!' And Nude was one of those songs.

After The Bends was all done and dusted, I'd seen them at a show and they said they'd been thinking about us all working together. We'd done a bunch of B-sides on The Bends and it had gone really well, so we hatched a plan to have a couple of little try-outs to see how it would work. We booked a weekend in the studio to start recording what would become OK Computer, although it took a long time to really get into that. We recorded two songs; one was called Big Boots - actually, it was called Man O'War at the time, which is another great lost Radiohead classic. The other thing we tried to record was a song called Nude. Thom had just written it and it was almost a different song to the version on In Rainbows. Its recognisable, but it had different lyrics and it was a lot straighter. The idea was for it to be like an Al Green track. It had a Hammond going through it on the version we recorded that weekend. They liked it, it was deemed a great success. But then for some reason everyone went off it. We tried to record it a couple more times for OK Computer, probably about three times for Kid A and another three times for Hail To The Thief. But somehow it had gone.

We had a little holiday from each other. The bad tried to record on their own, which - surprise, surprise - didn't work. Then they tried working with someone else, which also didn't work. During that time I went to see Colin, the bass player, and he played me a rough live version of Nude that they'd done in rehearsals. He'd written his new bassline, which transformed it from something very straight into something that had much more of a rhythmic flow. The chorus had been taken out - very Radiohead! - and there was this new vocal break and this new end section. It sounded like they were somehow terrified playing it, but it sounded OK. We recorded it three times and the final one - which we did in their house and then overdubbed in Covent Garden - is what you hear today.

Finally, for some inexplicable reason, it made it out! With Radiohead we always say, 'It doesn't matter how we get there, as long as we end up at the right place,' but actually I think the real skill is being able to recognise something that lands on your lap and is fully formed and wonderful. A big part of my job is trying to persuade Thom that just because this thing happened very quickly, it doesn't mean its not great. He doesn't understand what it is about what he does that's great. He doesn't know or understand where it comes from.

Songs have a kind of window where they are really most alive - and you have to capture it. Nude missed its window, and it took a lot of reinvention to bring it back to the place where we could capture it again in a way that resonated for the people playing it. It was essentially the same song; nothing had really changed. What has changed are the people playing it.