Radiohead recently announced plans for the 20th-anniversary edition of OK Computer, featuring b-sides and 3 unreleased songs. These songs are “I Promise,” “Lift” and “Man Of War.” The band explained that the reissue is “rescued from defunct formats, prised from dark cupboards and brought to light after two decades in cold storage,” according to NME. The reissued album will be released on June 23rd.
Fan favourite and the anthemic track “Lift” was never released for interesting reasons. Guitarist Ed O’Brien explained that it could’ve had the power of a massive charting track, but it never felt right. He explains to BBC6 Music, “We played that live with Alanis Morrissette, and it was a really interesting song because the audience, suddenly you’d see them get up and start grooving, it had this kind of infectiousness about it. It was a big, anthemic song. If that song had been on that album, it would have taken us to a different place, and we’d have probably sold a lot more records if we’d done it right, and everyone was saying this.”
O’Brien went on to say “I think we kind of subconsciously killed it because if OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill, like Alanis Morrissette, it would have killed us. But ‘Lift’ probably had the potential, if we’d done it right, it just had this magic about it. And we didn’t do a good version because when we got to the studio and did it on that record it was a bit like having a gun to your head, it felt like so much pressure.”
So there you have it. Radiohead never released “Lift” because it would’ve taken them to a place they never wanted to be.