Exit Music (For A Film)

Demande pour la chanson : août 1996 (Baz Luhrmann)
Enregistrement : septembre-octobre 1996
Premier live : 10 octobre 1996 (Londres)
Chanson utilisée sur la B.O. d’un film  : Romeo+Juliet (Baz Luhrmann)
Leger remixage : début 1997 ?
Sortie sur album : 21 mai 1997 (OK Computer)


La chanson a de sérieux points communs avec le début du Prélude n°4 en e mineur de Chopin, même si Radiohead ne l’a pas confirmé :


Même chose (même encore plus frappant non ?) pour le début d’After All d’Electric Light Orchestra, inspiré du même prélude de Chopin :


Le groupe a pourtant avoué plusieurs influences pour ce morceau, notamment Johnny Cash, Ennio Morricone, du Portishead sur la fin.

[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / Q Magazine, octobre 1997″]Q: Who else inspired you?

Thom: “If you listen to the rhythm at the beginning of ‘Exit Music’, it starts off like a Johnny Cash song from Prison Tapes. Amazing. I hate live albums but I get spine tingles every time I play that. You can hear the audience willing him on. And you can hear he’s ill, he can’t hit the notes, and yet the songs are so powerful in that environment with the prisoners there, whooping and laughing.”[/quote]



[quote cite=”Ed O’Brien / Guitar World, avril 1998″]’Exit Music’ had a [composer Ennio} Morricone atmosphere,[/quote]


[quote cite=”Colin Greenwood Vox Magazine, Septembre 1997″ avatar=”×150.jpg”]What we’ve always done is aim ourselves towards other people’s music that we’ve fallen in love with. It’s like a lovers’ flattery, we try to emulate these people and always fall short. We aim for the stars – and we hit just north of Oxford, ha ha! Like on Exit Music we tried to do a Portishead thing at the end, but it’s all really stilted and leaden and mechanical – and it’s brilliant! Perfect for that bit of the song[/quote]



Le groupe Army of Lovers a envisagé en avril 1998 des poursuites contre le groupe qu’il accusait de plagier leur chanson Crucified… Uhm… On trouvait alors ce message sur le site des fans d’Army Of Lovers :

[quote ]Tralala Productions are considering taking legal action against the British band Radiohead (on behalf of Army of Lovers and songwriters Alexander Bard, Anders Wollbeck and Jean-Pierre Barda) on grounds of plagiarism. The song “Exit Music (For a Film)” from Radiohead’s critically acclaimed 1997 album OK Computer has a chorus very similar to that of Army of Lovers’ hit “Crucified” from 1991.[/quote]


Nous avons beau écouter, on ne trouve pas la ressemblance… et apparemment, ça n’a pas du aller bien loin…


La chanson a été reprise par de nombreux artistes, parmi lesquels Brad Mehldau, Miranda Sex Garden, Scala & Kolacny Brothers, Vampire Weekend, Easy Star All-Stars, Christopher O’Riley, Amanda Palmer (au Hukulele), et remixée sur “Strung Out on OK Computer: The String Quartet Tribute to Radiohead”.


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] en août 1996 [/button]

Radiohead est en tournée aux Etats-Unis, où il fait les premières parties d’Alanis Morissette. Le cinéaste Baz Luhrmann a quant-à lui terminé le tournage de « Roméo+Juliet » et pense à Radiohead pour un titre. Il envoie donc au groupe la dernière demi-heure de son film sur cassette, et leur demande d’écrire un morceau pour le générique de fin.

[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic, le 9 juin 1997″]We went out on tour a bit with Alanis Morissette to rehearse our stuff in front of people, which is a bit weird, but that worked out alright. And while we were there we got a tape from Buzz Lurman, the director of Romeo And Juliet. And it was great, because he said, ’you know, do you wanna do the exit music for it ?’. And it was a real kick, because it really kicked.. you know, sort of… ’man, let’s get our shit together’.[/quote]

Le groupe va  répondre positivement à la demande en partie parce qu’elle provient de Nellie Hooper, dont ils apprécient le travail. L’inspiration pour le morceau vient essentiellement du moment où Juliette (jouée par Claire Danes) tient un Colt .45 contre sa tempe dans l’église.

[quote cite=”Colin Greenwood Channel 5 (Australia), 3 février 1998″ avatar=”×150.jpg”]Well, I suppose the most successful thing we have done is the collaboration with Nellie Hooper, who is the musical director for Romeo & Juliet with Baz Luhrman. The story behind that is, that we were on tour in America – about two years ago now – and we got this call through, that this Australian director was doing this Romeo & Juliet and Nellie Hooper wanted to get us involved in it. Because we are big fans of the production work that he has done with Massive Attack and Björk and stuff, so they sent us the last half hour of the movie… and it was fantastic, it was the scene where Di Caprio goes to the church and find Clare Danes at the funeral byre and we thought it was wonderful. Thom wrote this song for exit music for the end of the film that no-one has really heard because we didn’t want to put it on the soundtrack, because we wanted it for our album, so it is always heralded by the closing of seats in the cinemas, because it is right at the end of the movie.


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] septembre 1996 [/button]

On peut facilement deviner que l’enregistrement de la chanson a du se faire en septembre-octobre 1996 : jusqu’au 29 août, Radiohead était auprès d’Alanis Morissette, il n’y a ensuite plus de concert avant le 10 octobre ; le film « Romeo+Juliet » est sorti aux Etats-Unis le 1er novembre.

C’est la première fois que le groupe écrit un titre sur commande, mais ça va bien se passer. Thom adore le sujet (il a été fasciné à l’âge de 13 ans par le Roméo et Juliette de Zefirelli), et tout le groupe aime bien le projet.

Thom a essayé d’inclure à la chanson quelques bribes du texte initial de Shakeapeare, sans jamais y parvenir.

[quote cite=”Ed O’Brien / Melody Maker, 31 mai 1997″]Thom looked at Shakespeare’s original text and tried to incorporate lines from 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.[/quote]


La chanson a été enregistrée dans le manoir de Catherine’s Court, une bâtisse qui date du quinzième siècle et que le groupe avait loué comme studio d’enregistrement. Tout s’est fait très vite !

[quote cite=”Jonny Greenwood / Musikexpress, 16 janvier 1998″]“Exit Music” we recorded it very quickly[/quote]


C’est dans le froid glacial du hall d’entrée que Thom a chanté cette chanson, alors que Phil enregistrait la batterie dans la chambre d’enfants, au milieu des jouets. La chanson fut enregistrée en deux jours, et le Mellotron fut utilisé pour les voix, de même que la reverb de la maison :

[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / Musician, septembre 1997″]The one thing we knew we wanted was a huge plate [reverb]–that was Jonny’s idea. Other than that, we got whatever Nigel told us to get.”
It should be noted that the gargantuan reverb on Thom’s voice during “Exit Music (For A Film)” was not produced by a plate, but by the stone floor of a large hall in actress Jane Seymour’s fifteenth-century mansion near Bath, where the band did some later tracking. “The initial recordings were done in our rehearsal space,” Thom says, “and the problem with that was we could go home when we wanted. It was impossible to commit yourself to it when you knew you had to go home and do the washing up. So we had to find somewhere else, but we didn’t want to be lab rats in a studio, and someone mentioned this house. It was in a valley stuck on its own, nothing anywhere, and it had the most enormous ballroom. I spent my whole time there terrified, because everything constantly reminded you of your own mortality[/quote]


Ed a utilisé le son d’une vieille pédale dont il venait de faire l’acquisition :

[quote cite=”Total Guitar, novembre 1997”]The thinking behind the use of so many standalone pedals is simple – it opens the doors to sonic experimentation big-time. “It’s how you use them, in what order you put them,” as Ed puts it. “Out in America we pick up loads of stuff from second-hand stores, funky old pedals. We’ve got a great fuzz pedal – the bass on “Exit Music”, the distorted bass at the end was a 60’s Japanese fuzz pedal that I picked up in LA. It’s a great pedal. 60 bucks for this thing – you put it on a guitar and it sounds like Telstar.[/quote]


Idem pour le mellotron :

[quote cite=”Now, 14 août 1997″]”Exit Music” is a song that wrote itself.”
“The day we did it, we received delivery of a mellotron we had bought. You can buy these remodelled, remade mellotrons that are exactly the same as the originals.”
“So we got this thing and the first thing we did with it was all the voices on “Exit Music”, and after that the song came together in two days. That was the first thing that really got me, where I said ‘Wow.'”[/quote]


Visiblement, tout le monde était content du résultat :

[quote cite=”Guitar World, avril 1998″]Everyone in the band seemed pleased with the results. Yorke calls the epic ’Exit Music (For a Film)’ « the first performance that we recorded where every note of it makes me really happy[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 10 octobre 1996 [/button]

La chanson est jouée pour la première fois en concert à Londres.


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 1er novembre 1996 [/button]

Le film sort. « Exit Music » habille bien le générique de fin, mais Thom Yorke a refusé que la chanson figure sur les 2 B.O. du film (qui se vendront pourtant très très bien !). Il faut dire qu’il a une autre idée derrière la tête, garder la chanson pour le prochain album du groupe.

Cette première version de la chanson est légèrement différente (surtout sur la partie guitare et sur la batterie) de celle qui figurera sur OK Computer. La partie « batterie » continue un peu plus longtemps juste après le climax.

(MP3 proposé par le site citizeninsane) :


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 1997 [/button]

Sur la nouvelle version du site, on trouve de nombreux textes assez énigmatiques, parmi lesquels celui-ci qui fait référence à « Exit Music »

an airbag saved my life* in an interstella burst i am back to save the universe computer drums bass wrong lift* is hard work you been stuck in a lift we been trying to reach you thom the belly of the whale (thanks Rei xxxx) paranoid android* get busy with the shakers while im fast asleep could you stop the noise im trying ta get some rest this the place it wont hurt ever again karma police* girl with hitler hairdo everybodys friend life in a glasshouse phew for a minute there i lost myself i lost myself sit down your safe now polyethelene*will never break down swirly self announcements. stuck in a frozen lake. the penultimate place in dante’s hell. last flowers till the hospital*is a sign discovered in oxford -my unhealthy obsession with these institutions. analysts may get the connection. ambulances scream past my house at all hours of the day and night like the confessionals of Larkin’s “Ambulan s.” let down*in the midst of monster tour the momentum getting drunk to talk bombarded by dangerously high levels of radiation from xray machines. one day, one day… climbing up the walls*both managers and record company are nervous about such a nasty sound coming out of the speakers. this is a good sign. dogwander* bring on another take better than another cake. nude* it is a mans world. and this one is very confused and will have sex with anything woman who comes within a mile radius. but feels bad about it. so doesnt. exit song (for a film)* cannot be listened to more than once in a row. which made recording it easy. or not. but what film ? big boots* it was a long time ago and i cant remember. a whole orchestra watching the film and playing along. real life is dull. i am i the white lotus flying off the quay with barbara bach.
(information incomplete)….>>>>i like the idea of you listening to our recordings with your head resting gently in emptiness. or before going out. or when you’ve come back. i dont like the scientists breaking down its molecular structure and teaching it in O level chemistry i ont want to have expain it but it worries me stupid. there is a lot of crying goes into making things.<<<<….the masters tell us that there is an aspect of our minds that is its fundamental basis, a state called « the ground of the ordinary mind. » It functions like a storehouse, in which the imprints of past actions caused by our negative emotions are all store like seeds. when the right conditions arise, they germinate and manifest as circumstances and situations in our lives. if we have a habit of thinking in a particular pattern, positive or negative, then these tendencies will be triggered and provoked very easily and recurr and go on recurring. With constant repetition our inclinations and habits become steadily more entr ched and continue, increasing and gathering power even when we sleep. This is how they come to determine our life, our death our rebirth.


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 21 mai 1997 [/button]

Sortie de l’album « OK Computer », troisième album de Radiohead, où figure « Exit Music ». Le travail de mixage a été quelque peu revu depuis la version qui figure sur la BO de ’ROmeo+Juliet’


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 1999 [/button]

Le pianiste de jazz a repris la chanson sur ses volumes III et IV de sa série Art of the Trio.