Dollars And Cents

Inspiration pour la chanson : début 2000 (un “jam” à Copenhague) / Alice Coltrane / Can
Travail en studio :  27 janvier – 8 février 2000
Premier live : 13 juin 2000 (Arles)
Sortie sur album : 4 juin 2001 (Amnesiac)
Sortie sur EP : 13 novembre 2001 (version live sur I Might Be Wrong)



le jeudi 27 janvier 2000

Ed parle pour la première fois de la chanson dans le journal en ligne (ancêtre du blog !) qu’il tenait alors. Il explique le morceau a été improvisé lors d’un « jam » à Copenhague. Tout part donc d’un délire.

En studio, le groupe tente de “rationaliser” un peu le délire : Thom a chanté, joué quelques notes, Jonny a ajouté quelques arrangements de cordes, et lui-même un peu de moog, mais on ne peut pas encore dire que la chanson ait un vrai « arrangement » digne de ce nom :

27/01/00-28/1/00 « dollars and cents » is a track that originated out of a ’jam’ from copenhagen – it’s good but because there was no arrangement, no musical decisions could be made on it………well now it has an arrangement…..thom did some backing vocals and a bit of guitar, jonny put his string arrangement on, i did a little moog and the song is really going somewhere. […]
— Ed O'Brien / journal en ligne


Ed expliquera un peu la même chose plus tard :

Dollars And Cents [which didn’t make it onto the album] is pretty unique in the sense that it comes from a jam,” says Ed. “We did that a lot in the beginning of this session, and we had never jammed before. Jamming involves a degree of proficiency musically which we’d never thought we’d attained. But then again Dollars And Cents is basically a major and a minor chord. It’s not exactly rocket science, but we kind of know that we can string that out for 20 minutes.
— Ed O'Brien / Total Guitar #76, novembre 2000



le lundi 31 janvier 2000

Ed évoque à nouveau la chanson. Le groupe est passé dans un autre studio et travaille sur Dollars & Cents, en particulier la partie percussion et guitare.

slow day as it often is on mondays. tape machine broke-down in the main room. thom and jonny did some drum programming…..more work in the other studio on ’dollars and cents’ — percussion and a guitar. […]
— Ed O'Brien / journal en ligne


Influence revendiquée : le travail de production effectué par Holger Czukay, le bassiste-compositeur-producteur de Can, une énorme influence du groupe. Comme Can, radiohead veut essayer de capturer en studio l’essence du “jam”.

Another model was Holger Czukay’s jam/slice/splice productions for Can. “Dollars & Cents”, one of Amnesiac’s highlights, was edited down from an 11 minute improvisation. “It was incredibly boring,” laughs Yorke, “but it’s that Holger thing of chop-chop-chop, making what seems like drivel into something coherent.” Then orchestral strings–arranged by Greenwood and recorded in Dorchester Abbey–“were added to give it a sort of authority”.
— Thom Yorke / The Wire, juillet 2001


Autre influence, Alice Coltrane, dont on retrouvera dans la chanson un sample de  « Journey In Satchindananda », ce qui n’est pas étonnant, vu que Colin a expliqué que le groupe l’ écoutait alors en boucle.


Radiohead’s affinity for jazz is so great, Greenwood notes, that the band often plays its own works-in-progress simultaneously with the group’s favorite jazz albums, in order to hear how they compare. “Colin will come in with a Coltrane album, and say: ‘lsn’t this amazing?’ And he’ll play it alongside what we’ve recorded. For ‘Dollars & Cents’ he brought an Alice Coltrane with strings album into the studio” Greenwood recalls. “He played it alongside what we’d recorded. And we kept turning down what we’d done, and kept turning up the Coltrane album, until that was all you could hear. We wanted strings and harps, but we didn’t have a harp and I don’t play double bass.
“So I had to put electrical tape strips where the notes I needed to play are. It was a rough attempt to copy what Coltrane did on her Journey in Sotchidananda and Ptah, the El Daoud albums. There’s something great about aiming to get the same effect on our songs.”
— Colin Greenwood Jazz times, novembre 2001


de même :
Colin: “I took his Alice Coltrane record and played it over the top of the song called ‘Dollars And Cents’, which is on the next record. And Jonny wrote this beautiful string arrangement with the St. John’s Smith Square, in a sort of Coltrane style, as a backing for it. But I mean, I don’t know, I sort of did… before I did more arrangement things, but that was in the context of us working out stuff live in a room together, and we’ve kind of done less of this on this record, so it’s been… I don’t know, it’s been quite a sort of different experience for all of us. I mean, I’ve been sort of trying to get into more of the electronic things, and sampling, and you know, trying to channel what I like about my favourite different types of music. But erm… there are like fourteen year old kids who are like surfing the internet and they’re starting off… and their like Robbie Williams is Aphex Twin, so I think, you know, what can I do?”
— Colin Greenwood BBC Radio 3 'Mixing It', 20 janvier 2001


le vendredi 4 février 2000

Au lieu de s’enfermer en studio comme pour OK Computer (l’expérience avait été un peu traumatisante…), le groupe essaye des arrangements de corde dans une petite abbaye (la Dorchester Abbey, comme on peut le lire ci-dessus), avec l’aide de l’orchestre St John, dirigé par John Lubbock. Ed adore cette façon de travailler !

04/02/00 what an amazing day. fantastic string arrangements by jonny and what players. many many thanks are due to john lubbock(who conducted and organised) and the string players from the orchestra of st. john’s, smith square. the whole session was the complete antithesis to the OK Computer experience ; firstly rather than de-camping to some london studio we used an old abbey near us with the most fantastic acoustics to record in. i think nigel was totally blown away by the whole sound of it. but most importantly john and the players were so enthusiastic about it all…..jonny has certain things that he wants/wanted to try out that aren’t your usual string arrangaments. and rather than dismiss his ideas ( which is what happened on the OK Computer session) they were open-minded enough to try them. john lubbock even handed over the conducting reins right at the end for jonny to try out an idea of his. there is no way that he would have been allowed to have done that at the abbey road session. brilliant players and people.
— Ed O'Brien / journal en ligne



le lundi 7 février 2000

Maintenant que tout a été enregistré, c’est au tour de Nigel Godrich d’entrer en scène pour la partie mixage.

07/02/00 […] nigel wants to mix ’dollars and cents’ now that there are strings on it. he goes upstairs to work on it. […]
— Ed O'Brien / journal en ligne


Le maître-mot : éviter la surproduction.

Certaines de vos pièces récentes, comme Dollars and Cents, par exemple, sont de complexes “copier-coller” qui relèvent d’un important travail de studio. Vous avez gardé en tête le fait que ces chansons devaient pouvoir être jouées sur scène?
On n’y a pas beaucoup pensé au moment de les faire, car la plupart des chansons ont été enregistrées très spontanément, parfois dans de chaotiques jam-sessions. C’est par la suite qu’il a fallu trimer dur. Au mixage, on s’est un peu compliqué la vie, mais on a essayé d’éviter les pièges de la surproduction. Une chose est sûre, toutefois, ces nouvelles chansons nous donnent énormément de plaisir sur scène.
— Thom Yorke / Le Voir, 2 août 2001


le mardi 8 février 2000

A peine une journée plus tard, tout le monde semble satisfait !

08/02/00 nigel got what seems like a good mix of ’dollars and cents’.
— Ed O'Brien / journal en ligne



Et l’écriture des paroles dans tout ça ? Comme l’explique Thom, et comme on le comprend forcément à la lecture du texte fini, les paroles sont très influencées par le contexte économique de l’époque.

Still, you’ve got to accept that parts of both Kid A and Amnesiac are extremely challenging when first confronted. I couldn’t make any sense of Dollars & Cents, for example…
Thom: Well, that started out as a IO-minute piece of us mucking around, trying to do the Can thing. It just came out spontaneously. Lyrically, I like doing things like that – where whatever happens in the first take is what stays. When we did OK Computer all the vocals were first takes because (a) I couldn’t do it again afterwards and (b) it was about being in the moment. The lyrics are gibberish but they come out of ideas I’ve been fighting with for ages about how people are basically just pixels on a screen, unknowingly serving this higher power which is manipulative and destructive, but we’re powerless because we can’t name it. At the time, the whole global marketplace thing was a major preoccupation of mine. I was reading a lot of stuff about it and it really become a massive part of my writer’s block. It sounds daft now, but I couldn’t see the point in writing about personal feelings when there were other, far more fundamentally important things to talk about.

It was strange seeing you last year campaigning to drop the Third World debt. You looked more than slightly uncomfortable next to Bono and Bob Geldof…
Thom: I don’t think anybody was comfortable. I was sprawling on a pin, I’II tell you (laughs). Half the stuff that was going on, I was going, “l’m not so sure about this.” It took a lot of effort just to understand what the issue was. Having to do interviews – the amount of information I’d have to swallow and then spit out was just nightmarish. A lot of what gets called politics now is just fuckin’ cowboys and indians and doesn’t amount to anything. The really important issues in politics are the Third World debt and the relationship between the First World and the Third World, and trade laws, and NAFTA and GATT and none of this stuff is ever discussed as a political issue. It’s all in the realm of the economists and that is fucked up. Jubilee 2000 took a purely humanitarian angle on something that had always been considered out of the jurisdiction of the ‘charity’ arena. Yet it’s interesting because, in order to get the Jubilee 2000 message across, we had to basically not get into any of the surrounding issues. I’d start going off onto my rants about pixels on a screen and being a powerless political pawn and they’d all stort getting really twitchy behind the cameras (laughs). But I’m really proud I got involved. It was an incredibly privileged place to be in – to go to Cologne and see the realities of political manoeuvring, and to see that basically what gets fed to the press has absolutely no relationship to what goes on behind the scenes.

You must be thrilled by George W. Bush’s recent election?
Thom: I was chuffed to bits. I think it’s actually great, to be honest, because it’s going to radicalise people. People who’ve never been into politics are going to suddenly wake up and realise that they actually have to fuckin’ do something about it.

— Thom Yorke / Mojo, juin 2001


Thom est d’ailleurs un peu géné quand on parle d’argent…

“Dollars & Cents” is the first time you’ve seemingly embraced money-is-bad lyricism. Why express it now? Isn’t this an odd sentiment when you consider all the money you’ve made?
That’s just a bullshit question. If “Dollars & Cents” is about anything, it’s about a force that is higher than god and less open to question. It’s also complete non-sense and should be read as such. Are you calling me a hypocrite? Money is bad? This is not about money at all. Money is a thing. What I’m talking about is much worse. But then I would say that now wouldn’t I?
— Thom Yorke / Magnet, septembre 2001



le mardi 13 juin 2000

Le groupe joue la chanson pour la première fois lors du concert aux Arènes de Arles.

Elle sera jouée plusieurs fois par la suite pendant l’automne 2000, comme ici à Toronto en Octobre 2000 (début à 43’50) :


le mercredi 27 septembre 2000

La page web « international police », est créée le 27/09/00 (c’est ce qu’on lit dans le code source) pour le site Ellefait référence à la chanson.

(elle ne sera mise en ligne que beaucoup plus tard !)


le lundi 4 juin 2001

La chanson figure sur Amnesiac, le nouvel album de Radiohead :


La tournée d’été fait la part belle aux nouvelles chansons, dont Dollars & Cents, que le public redécouvre en concert.

In the live set you’re playing this summer, what’s the real Heart Of Darkness moment?
We’ve got quite a few songs that are pretty dark. (…) When we do Dollars And Cents live now, it sounds very dark and tense. We get loads of people on our Website saying the live version of Dollars And Cents is much better than the one on Amnesiac. The live one is just a lot faster.
— Thom Yorke / Q #179, août 2001



en 2001

On trouve cette page, qui a pour titre « Investment Opportnities » sur le nouveau site


De même qu’un texte très similiaire sur cette autre page « Southseabubble ».



le mardi 13 novembre 2001

Sortie de l’EP « I Might be Wrong », où figurent des version live de 8 chansons de Radiohead, dont « Dollars and Cents » (jouée à South Park, Oxford le 7 juillet 2001)

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Amatrice du groupe, surtout en concert. Travaille sur ce site depuis 10 ans.


  1. […] is much worse. But then I would say that now wouldn’t I?— Thom Yorke / Magnet, septembre 2001« Mission.Nettoyer les rues.Stratégies:DialogueOuForceDialogue:Vous être mort si vous […]

  2. […] is much worse. But then I would say that now wouldn’t I?— Thom Yorke / Magnet, septembre 2001« Mission.Nettoyer les rues.Stratégies:DialogueOuForceDialogue:Vous être mort si vous […]

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