When Radiohead announced last month that it would release a "newspaper" version of its latest album, it was a not-so-subtle swipe by the rock band at a print industry that — like the music business — has seen its fortunes plummet as digital options have risen.
And as part of the marketing for "King of Limbs," Radiohead published a free "newspaper" on Monday — dubbed the "The Universal Sigh" — to be distributed at several U.K. events promoting its release.
The Guardian in London newspaper responded to Radiohead's unlikely foray into the newspaper business with a swipe of its own: recording a version of Radiohead's 1993 hit "Creep."
"It was immediately decided that the Guardian would put out its own music CD to promote the release of Monday's paper," the paper explained. "Whatever radical innovations a bunch of musicians might impose upon newspaper publishing, we could still bring one of the great skills of journalism — doing things really quickly using whoever happens to be around that day — to bear on the lumbering music business.
A nine-piece band comprised of the paper's editors and writers — including Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger on keyboards — put together what they called "a fairly faithful and straightforward rendition of Creep, except for a haunting banjo-and-trombone intro destined to be described as the trick Radiohead missed in their version."
And unlike some of Radiohead's meticulous studio sessions, the Guardian group did it in just three takes.