Sheet music review: ‘Radiohead – The Piano Songbook’

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.

17 thoughts on “Sheet music review: ‘Radiohead – The Piano Songbook’”

  1. Karma Police?! That sounds interesting! 😍😍

    My mum wanted me to teach piano as a child. I did. But then, due to lack of practice in the later years, it all washed away! 🀣 Now I feel it though. I really want to be able to play at least a single music instrument! Be it guitar or piano!! 😍😍

    And about the book, N…I always enjoy reading your reviews – no matter what!! πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜β€οΈπŸ˜‡

    1. Karma Police is a little challenging for me but if I keep practising I will get there πŸ˜€ It’s not to late to pick up piano again or any kind of instrument, there are loads of tutorial videos online ::) Thanks for reading, I appreciate you checking out all my posts! β™₯

      1. Of course you willl!!! 😍😍😘❀️

        Yeahh! You know I have been meaning to! Maybe I will! SOOON! 😍❀️

    1. Thanks! I do like playing classical as well, it’s important I have a variety πŸ™‚ Sometimes pop music can be repetitive and not so fun to play, however.

  2. I started playing the piano when I turned 40. Love the practicalities being reviewed, such as the printing being too close to the edges of the paper!

    1. It’s a problem with so many music books! They ought to be spiral bound. It’s not good to be trying to prop it open while playing! What do you like to play on piano? πŸ™‚

      1. Agreed, spiral bound music books make sense.
        I like classical music on the piano but am not much of a player. Work and family life got in the way of lessons but my plan is to take up the lessons again when I retire. I wish I’d started young when my fingers were more flexible.
        What do you like to play?

        1. I had lessons when I was a child and I did some exams, getting up to grade 5. After I left home I rarely got to play, but last year I got my piano back so I’ve been able to practise again! It’s been difficult finding the time during lockdown when everyone’s at home though. I like to play various classical pieces and pop, as long as I have variety πŸ˜€

          1. Grade 5 is an achievement! I’m impressed. You must have missed your piano when you were without it.
            Not everyone in my house wants to hear me playing, either! I think that would be the case no matter what I played πŸ˜‰

    1. I did Music GCSE πŸ™‚ But I didn’t think of playing Radiohead until 15 years later.

  3. I used to play the piano but was never interested in it for some reason LOL So you write, you play the piano, you’re a Beatles fan, …. coffee or tea?

    1. I haven’t drunk coffee for a year and a half now! So I have tea – peppermint, decaf green tea or chamomile πŸ˜€ That’s nice you used to play piano. Do you think you will take it up again?

  4. You’re a good reviewer–whatever you review! I do like Radiohead, though don’t play an instrument unfortunately. We have a piano and an organ, both hand-me-downs, so eventually I want to get my kids lessons. It would be nice to hear them played!

    1. Thank you kindly! πŸ™‚ There is no harm in having a go on the piano and organ even if no one in your family has learnt to play.

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