Posted by: burusi | 02/10/2010

Radiohead – “Exit Music (For a Film)”

Thom Yorke

<a href=””><span style=”color:#003366;”><strong>თომ იორკი – Thom Yorke (1968)</strong></span></a>

“Exit Music (For a Film)” written specifically for the ending credits of the 1996 Baz Luhrmann’s film William Shakespeare’s  “Romeo + Juliet”. While on tour with Alanis Morissette in September of 1996, Radiohead was sent the last half-hour of  Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and asked to write a song for the closing credits. Band members were impressed by the clip, and Thom wrote this song for the movie. At first he attempted to use lines from Shakespeare’s play as lyrics, but finally ditched the idea.

Although not included on either of the two soundtrack albums at the request of Thom Yorke, the song appears on the band’s highly acclaimed third album, OK Computer (1997). It was heavily inspired by Frédéric Chopin’s Prelude No. 4 in E Minor.

Svjatoslav Richter plays Frédéric Chopin Prelude no.4 op.28



The moment in the film when Claire Danes (as Juliet) holds a gun to her head was the actual inspiration for “Exit Music”. Thom Yorke also had the 1968 adaptation of the play (Romeo and Juliet) in his head: “When we saw the scene in which Claire Danes holds the Colt 45 against her head, we started working on the song immediately. I had something with ‘Romeo & Juliet’ a long time already. I had a crush on Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet in the sixties, for a long time. I saw the Zeffirelli version when I was 13 and I cried my eyes out, because I couldn’t understand why, the morning after they shagged, they didn’t just run away. The song is written for two people who should run away before all the bad stuff starts. A personal song.” – Thom

“We wrote this on demand for the soundtrack of the ‘Romeo & Juliet’ movie. We were on tour in the States with Alanis Morissette, when we received the video with the last 30 minutes of the film.” – Ed

“Thom looked at Shakespeare’s original text and tried to incorporate it into the song – but he gave up on that quickly. But I still think it fits with the film amazingly well, especially as the lyrics are actually quite personal.” – Ed

“The worst I think is that ‘Exit Music’ only starts at the end-credits. It will have to compete with the sound of chairs clapping up.” – Ed

“We got the request to make song that would be played during the final credits of the film Romeo & Juliet. They sent us parts of the – unfinished – movie and it was a creative challenge to make the music for it.” – Jonny

The director of the movie, Baz Luhrmann, revealed in the DVD commentary that he believes it is one of the greatest film exit songs ever written.

The song is mostly very sombre and quiet, but builds to a climax at the end as the heavily compressed drums enter. In live performances, Jonny Greenwood slides a coin up and down the strings of his guitar, using a Roland Space Echo to create the eerie sounds heard throughout the song. In the studio version, the ambient sound is actually a recording of children playing played backwards. The studio version also features the eerie sound of a Mellotron choir.[1] The distinctive fuzzy bass guitar featured in the climax is courtesy of the Shin-ei Companion FY-2 fuzz pedal.

“Exit Music (For A Film)” was the first Radiohead song I really got into. No matter what I hear in it, this song is still 100% high-style Radiohead, a super-ambitious, pre-millennial banger.

I also think that this is like Romeo and Juliet. They are disobeying their parents and are going to be together forever in everlasting peace, which leads to believe they have ended their lives together. They don’t care what people think of them and hope that all the people that are against them being together choke, on all their wisdom. They can’t touch them now.

When you’re young and your parents essentially own you, you feel pretty trapped. When you’re young and naive and optimistic, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. And it seems like the couple in this song were laying in bed and decided to run away together. “Pack and get dressed, before your father hears us” But when you’re young and run away you usually find that you can’t survive on the streets. I get the feeling that the couple in the song has run away on a winter night, finding some hidden place to sleep outside. “Sing us a song, a song to keep us warm, there’s such a chill” He’s asking her to give him hope, to make him continue believing that they can be together.

In the last part it seems that the couple addresses the cynical adults of the world. As if they could see them suffering on the street, laughing at them. Spineless because they gave up hope a long time ago. That their rules and restrictions bind them, but the couple has refused to let them bind themselves. Then at last he tells them how he feels about “them”. “We hope that you choke”.


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