If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Radiohead is one of the most flattered bands of the last 30 years. Drawn by the band's intelligent, often enigmatic, lyrics and unusual time signatures, adventurous artists from practically every musical genre have given their own take on the English rockers' sound.
7. Warren Haynes- Lucky
When Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes took the stage at Bonnaroo in 2003 for a solo performance he filled his set, later released on the album Live at Bonnaroo, with a mix of original songs and covers. One of those covers included this acoustic reworking of “Lucky” from Radiohead's 1997 album OK Computer.
6. Sarah Jarosz- The Tourist
Sarah Jarosz is a musical prodigy, releasing her first album when she was 16 years old. She has since gone on to a Grammy-winning career. She is also an artist who has never been afraid of retooling a cover to fit her style. Over the years, she has covered everyone from Gnarls Barkley to The Decemberists. Her cover of “The Tourist,” which originally appeared on her second album Follow Me Down, is performed in this video with Chris Thile on his weekly radio show Live from Here.
5. Regina Spektor- No Surprises
Regina Spektor recorded this keyboard rendition of Radiohead's “No Surprises” as a single to support the charity Doctors Without Borders. Radiohead not only approved of the cover but donated their own songwriter's portion of the song's proceeds to the charity as well.
4. Gnarls Barkley- Reckoner
The soul duo Gnarls Barkley, consisting of Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse, are themselves no strangers to being covered. Just two years removed from their breakthrough single “Crazy” being one of the year's most popular (and most covered) songs, Gnarls Barkley decided to do some coverage of their own at Lollapalooza 2008, breaking out a soulful rendition of Radiohead's “Reckoner” from their recently released album In Rainbows. The cover was so well received that the band has gone on to perform it on occasion when touring.
3. St. Paul and the Broken Bones- Fake Plastic Trees
Soul music might seem to be an odd fit for the dark and electronic Radiohead, but it has worked out well for more than one artist. St. Paul & the Broken Bones, the Alabama-based Southern soul act, decided if Gnarls Barkley could do it, so could they, breaking out an energetic Muscle Shoals-tinged rendition of “Fake Plastic Trees” as a regular part of their concerts.
2. Punch Brothers- Pact Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box
Chris Thile's band Punch Brothers have always pushed the limits of what can be performed by an acoustic string band. This has led them to cover rock, metal, and classical songs, and has also drawn them to their fellow experimentalists Radiohead. They've recorded enough Radiohead covers to almost be their own list. “Pact Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box” is the best example of their musical mission. One of Radiohead's most discordant songs from their album Amnesiac, it would be a difficult cover even for a rock band but one that Punch Brothers flawlessly transforms.
1. Prince- Creep
It only happened once, at Coachella 2008, but no Radiohead cover has ever been as coveted or surrounded by hype as Prince's rendition of “Creep.” Widely bootlegged, the song was immediately popular with fans but became part of a cat and mouse game as Prince's frequent requests to have it removed from streaming platforms kept many from hearing it for years. If finally got an upload that stuck in 2015 when Radiohead, who had long advocated for it to be online and felt they could as copyright holders, gave permission for a version to be uploaded. Prince eventually relented and even tweeted a link to the song.