I realise this is a very niche book to review on my blog. How many of my readers play the piano? And how many of these are Radiohead fans? Yet I’m going to review it anyway and if anyone finds it interesting, then that’s a bonus.
Published in 2010 by Faber Music, this book contains 28 songs for piano, voice and guitar. The emphasis is on piano, with most of the selection being piano/keyboard-based originally. Some of the songs are guitar-based but transcribed for piano. Apparently they’re all ‘band approved’, which makes me feel reassured. I bought the book because I was looking for new pieces to learn and had the thought that although I’ve been a fan of Radiohead for nearly 20 years, I never considered acquiring a songbook before.
The songs span Radiohead’s career up until the year of publication, with the greatest number of songs being from OK Computer. Some b-sides and a charity single are also included. I find the nicest ones to play are ‘Karma Police’, ‘Street Spirit’, ‘Sail to the Moon’, ‘Lucky’, ‘Exit Music (for a Film)’ and ‘Last Flowers to the Hospital’. The difficulty level I would estimate at Piano Grades 3 to 5, but the pieces can seem more difficult than they really are because there are some crazy time signatures and unusual rhythms. Each piece has guitar chord boxes, some of which are challenging for my beginner’s fingers, but if I wanted to play these songs properly on guitar then I’d get one of the guitar songbooks instead.
There are only two things wrong with this book. Firstly, like most books of its kind, it’s tightly bound with the music printed close to the margins (not practical). Secondly, the songs are supposed to be in alphabetical order of title but somebody messed up and put ‘No Surprises’ before ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ and ‘My Iron Lung’, while ‘Last Flowers to the Hospital’ is after ‘Lucky’.
Overall this is a good collection of pieces and has helped to keep me occupied during the summer.