The induction of Radiohead into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could be perceived as a monumental moment in the preservation of the band’s legacy, or a waste of time, as frontman Thom Yorke seems to believe by shrugging off the ceremony on Friday night (Mar. 29). Yet the honor is, at the very least, an occasion to reflect on what the British quintet has achieved over the course of its quarter-century-plus career, using a pissed-off debut hit single as a springboard to explore the limits of alternative rock, then shift in focus to MIDI-powered electronica, then shake up the modern album distribution model and finally release one of its best-loved live songs on its most recent album.
Because Radiohead has released nine albums, and has never catered to radio to the point of having a large collection of immediately recognizable singles, it may be hard for an unfamiliar listener to know where to start. The following 15 songs provide a starter’s guide for the band’s major eras and most memorable moments, from fan favorites to essential hits, from the songs everyone loves to the ones only true ‘Heads consider indispensable — and yes, one non-Radiohead song is included here, too.