Top 10 Thom Yorke Songs—from Solo Hits to Radiohead to The Smile

British-born singer Thom Yorke is generally considered to be a musical genius. In addition to his solo work, the Radiohead frontman even started a new project, The Smile, in 2020. Perhaps for no other reason than to tamp down the rampant fervor of his other, more famous band, Radiohead.

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Born on October 7, 1968, Yorke is known for his falsetto voice, and guitar-and piano-playing skills. He formed Radiohead with school friends in 1991 and the band released its debut single, “Creep,” in 1992. “Creep” is a song that has lived on and is today covered by countless artists, though Yorke, himself, has distanced himself from the track.

As a solo artist, he often employs electronic music, though he has also performed solo work acoustic with just a piano. His debut solo album, The Eraser, dropped in 2006. In 2019, Yorke was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And in 2023, his band, The Smile which is comprised of Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead along with drummer Tom Skinner, will drop its second live EP after releasing one earlier last year. The Smile’s debut studio LP was released first digitally in May of 2022 with a physical release later in June.

Here, we will dive into Yorke’s top 10 songs from his illustrious career. So, without further ado, let’s do just that.

1. “House Of Cards” (Radiohead)

Featured on the band’s 2007 album, In Rainbows, this song features Yorke’s falsetto voice combined with reverb. It begins with unassuming electric guitar from Yorke and some vocal soaring. It’s a mesmerizing song that’s unassuming, subtle, and brilliant. The song was also recorded as part of the band’s collection, From the Basement, which was released shortly after In Rainbows.

2. “Paranoid Android” (Radiohead)

Released as the lead single from the band’s 1997 third studio album OK Computer, this track showcases the band’s earlier aesthetic, which is more frantic and frenetic than, say, the more serene “House of Cards.”

3. “The Eraser” (Solo)

From the 2006 solo album by Yorke of the same name, this song helped the album rocket up the charts and hit No. 2 in the United States on the Billboard Top 200. “The Eraser” combines acoustic instrumentation with electronic production.

4. “Fake Plastic Trees” (Radiohead)

From the group’s second studio album, The Bends, this song was released in 1995 as the third single from the band in the U.K. and first in the U.S. Offering an acoustic foundation, this song showcases Yorke’s beautiful singing voice, displaying the fact that he and the band can be experimental and traditional in sound.

5. “The Clock” (Solo)

Also from Yorke’s 2006 solo album, “The Clock” is a driving tune, propelled by the acoustic, which Yorke plays in a pounding way that displays, somehow, a traditional Irish folk music feel.

6. “High And Dry” (Radiohead)

Released in 1995, “High and Dry” appears on the 1995 album from Radiohead, The Bends. The track was recorded as a demo during sessions the band had for its debut LP, Pablo Honey, in 1993.

7. “Reckoner” (Radiohead)

From In Rainbows in 2007, this song, which is also part of the From the Basement release, is melancholy and cerebral—two words that often accurately describe Radiohead as a group, too. The song was almost universally acclaimed as one of the best songs from the early 2000s. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece of guitar, vocals, and percussion.

8. “The Smoke” (The Smile)

From Yorke’s new side project The Smile, “The Smoke” was released on January 27, 2002. The second single from the group’s debut album, A Light for Attracting Attention, the track features nearly 90 seconds of captivating instrumentals before Yorke’s ethereal vocals enter and transport the listener to another place.

9. “Karma Police” (Radiohead)

Perhaps Radiohead’s most famous song, “Karma Police” comes from the band’s 1997 album, OK Computer. The song hit No. 1 in Iceland and No. 8 on the U.K. Singles Chart. It peaked at No. 14 in the U.S. on the Alternative Songs chart. It includes the line we’ve all sung: Karma Police / Arrest this man!

10. “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” (Radiohead)

Also from In Rainbows in 2007 and From the Basement, this song is a faster-paced track than the others from those collections on this list. But it’s no less delicious sonically. Dynamic and delightful, this song will live in your ears. Just watch Yorke jam out below.

Photo by David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns

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