Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Wishes He Could Ask John Lennon 1 Question About His Voice

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke had a lot to say about John Lennon’s voice and so did John himself. John felt his voice dominated The Beatles at first.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke had a lot to say about John Lennon‘s voice — and so did John himself. Yorke had a nuanced view of John’s “brutal” singing. John said his vocals helped him dominate The Beatles during their early years.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke said he was a fan of John Lennon’s ‘weirdly brutal’ singing voice

A 2023 article from Rolling Stone features a passage from Jason Thomas Gordon’s forthcoming book The Singers Talk. In it, Yorke was asked to name the singer he’d most like to talk to about their voice. “It would be John Lennon,” he said. “Lennon’s whole attitude to singing, I’m a little bit obsessed with, because, on the surface, he has this whole, raw, doesn’t give a f*** … just the way he sings is weirdly brutal.

“I’d want to talk to him about how he was always so incredibly accurate, but always sounding on the edge of like, he’s gonna miss it, he’s gonna miss it,” Yorke added. “And, specifically, all these ideas he had in his head about how his voice should be treated. I was like, ‘How do you see it?’ Because what they did with his voice, they had pretty simple tools, but they did really interesting things.”

In the excerpt, Yorke was asked which singer he’d like to duet with the most. “John Lennon,” he replied. “It would sound awful though, awful, ugh. It wouldn’t mix well at all.”

The ‘Imagine’ singer said his vocals defined The Beatles until he got self-conscious

In a 1980 interview from the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John discussed how his vocals and writing impacted The Beatles. “In the early period, obviously, I’m dominating the group,” he opined. “I did practically every single with my voice except for ‘Love Me Do.’ Either my song, or my voice, or both.”

John cited “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “She Loves You” as early Fab Four tracks where he performed the lead vocal. He would have done the same for “A Hard Day’s Night” except he couldn’t hit the right notes. At first, there was little competition between John and Paul McCartney regarding who would get to perform the A-side singles.

As time went on, John became “self-conscious and inhibited.” For this reason, Paul started dominating the group vocally and musically. John didn’t appreciate this development because he was competitive with Paul.

John Lennon obviously influenced the way Thom Yorke performs Radiohead’s songs

Regardless of whose voice dominated the group at a certain time, John’s voice seems to have been a bigger influence on Yorke’s. Yorke’s trademark dreamy tone on songs such as “Karma Police,” “Fake Plastic Trees,” and “Creep” has more in common with John’s delicate intonations on “Imagine” than it does with Paul’s chipper interpretations of “A Day in the Life,” “Got to Get You into My Life,” or “Another Day.”

Yorke loves John’s singing and Yorke’s singing helped keep John’s musical legacy alive.

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