The Bends (song)

"The Bends" is a song by English alternative rock band Radiohead from their second studio album The Bends (1995). It was released as a single in Ireland[1] in 1996, peaking at number 26 on the Irish Singles Chart.

"The Bends"
Radiohead The Bends single.jpg
Single by Radiohead
from the album The Bends
Released1996 (1996)
Producer(s)John Leckie
Radiohead singles chronology
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
"The Bends"
"Paranoid Android"


"The Bends" was one of the earliest songs written by Radiohead, predating their 1993 debut album Pablo Honey.[2] It had been played live in concert by the band numerous times before finally being recorded in 1994 for inclusion on The Bends.[3]


Thom Yorke described "The Bends" as a "Bowie pastiche".[4] He has stated on numerous occasions that the song was intended to be humorous,[4][5][6] pointing specifically to lyrics such as "I want to be part of the human race"[5] and the recurring lines "I wish it was the Sixties/I wish I could be happy/I wish/I wish/That something would happen".[6] Yorke would later express annoyance that the humour in the song had apparently been overlooked by listeners; the lyrics "I wish it was the Sixties..." became a common point of discussion in interviews, with Yorke frequently being asked whether he had meant them earnestly.[4]

The dissonant sounds at the beginning of the song were recorded by Yorke while he was staying at a hotel in the United States. He explained: "There was this guy training these eight-year-old kids, who were parading up and down with all these different instruments. The guy had this little microphone on his sweater and was going: 'Yeah, keep it up, keep it up.' So I ran out and taped it."[2]

Cover versionsEdit

American heavy metal band Anthrax covered "The Bends" for the 2003 reissue of their album Volume 8: The Threat Is Real.[7]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Radiohead.

1."The Bends"4:03
2."My Iron Lung" (live at Forum)4:20
3."Bones" (live at Forum)3:02


Chart (1996) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 26


  1. ^ "The Bends (UK Import)". Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b Malins, Steve (April 1995). "Check Your 'Head". Vox. No. 55. p. 19.
  3. ^ "The Bends". Answerphone. No. 1. 1995. pp. 7–8. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Moran, Caitlin (10 June 1995). "Head Cases". Melody Maker.
  5. ^ a b Sinclair, David (17 March 1995). "Wired up for better reception". The Times.
  6. ^ a b Moran, Caitlin (19 May 1995). "Carve their Nayims with pride". The Times.
  7. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Volume 8: The Threat Is Real [Bonus Tracks] (CD – Sanctuary #84649) – Anthrax". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Bends". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 7 July 2020.

External linksEdit