radiohead is playing radiohead piano songs

The 23 Best Radiohead Piano Songs (Easy and Intermediate)

June 28, 2021 Selin Gökova 12 min read No Comments

As a Radiohead fan and a piano player, I feel quite lucky as there are a lot of Radiohead piano songs to play!

Since none of the group members is advanced on the piano, Radiohead songs are mostly easy to learn for beginners, although they do have some relatively challenging songs.

Now, let’s look at 24 incredible Radiohead piano songs for both beginners and intermediate players!

Best Radiohead Piano Songbooks – Quick Overview

Easy Radiohead Piano Songs

True Love Waits

True Love Waits had been one of their most famous unreleased songs since 1995 until it was finally released as part of the 2016 album, A Moon Shaped Pool. Although Thom Yorke has been performing it live with a solo acoustic guitar for many years, the studio version was released as a minimal piano ballad.

I’m glad they decided to keep it minimal without the synthesizers as I find this version really emotional.

There are no other instruments other than solo piano in this song. All you need to play is the simple 4-note piano figure which even the very beginners can easily pick up.

Sheet music

How I Made My Millions

Thom wrote this iconic song one night after the dinner at home on his out-of-tune piano, and the other group members decided against recording it as they thought it was perfect the way it was. You can actually hear the background noises of Thom’s girlfriend, Rachel, cleaning after dinner.

It’s so raw and beautiful. It’s one of the easiest Radiohead piano songs as it has a quite simple rhythm and the notes are incredibly easy.

Sheet music

Codex

From the 2011 album King of Limbs, Codex is one of the saddest Radiohead songs that is full of raw emotion and intricate layers of melodies.

It’s quite easy to play as all you have to do is alternating between minor and major chords. Although the chords may seem large for small hands, they are quite manageable because they are split between two hands.

Related: Can You Play Piano with Small Hands?

The largest interval a single hand is supposed to play is an octave. If you struggle with playing the octaves, you can just play them as a single note as it won’t make a big difference.

Sheet music

No Surprises

No Surpises is one of the most famous songs of Radiohead that has absolutely fantastic lyrics and a sweet melody. It’s not actually a piano song, but the piano covers of this song are pretty common because it sounds lovely on the piano. I also made a piano cover of this song once with a singer friend, and I can say it was very relaxing and not complicated to learn.

Once you get the hang of the motif, it’s pretty easy to play. You can even learn this song by ear as the melody and accompaniment are quite straightforward.

Sheet music

Videotape

Videotape is one of the most controversial Radiohead songs that fans can’t really decide if it’s easy or actually quite hard to play. Pondering for a while, I ended up putting this song on the easy list, though there is a fair reason for why one might find it difficult.

Speaking note-wise, it’s definitely not a difficult song as it only consists of simple chords at a slow pace that you can even play with one hand. The tricky part is the rhythm. Despite sounding as if it has a straightforward rhythm with 4/4 timing, it’s much more complicated because the rhythms are indeed syncopated

However, if you are going to play it solo, you don’t really need to worry about getting the timing right. Syncopation might get in the way if you’re a beginner and intending to play it with a band. Simply, if there is no rhythm section, there is no need to play with syncopation.

As a beginner, I would suggest ignoring the syncopation because it’s not something to watch out for if you are playing it solo.

Interestingly enough, Videotape is probably the easiest Radiohead piano song as long as you don’t think it is syncopated. 

Sheet music

Like Spinning Plates-Live

Like Spinning Plates is originally a rather experimental track with electronic influences, though it’s mostly known for its 2001 live version which features Thom Yorke playing the piano and singing. Although I love the original studio version a lot, this solo piano version blows me away every time.

It’s one of the songs that sound complicated but actually quite easy to play. I highly recommend that you learn this song, especially if you are a beginner. It helps with finger dexterity, sounds impressive, and extremely easy to learn.

The song is also quite repetitive. Once you get the hang of the rhythm and pattern, it’s going to take you really short to master the whole song.

Sheet music

Fog (Again)

Fog (Again) shares a similar story with Like Spinning Plates in that its original studio version was recorded with guitars and percussion, yet the 2004 live version is just solo piano and Thom signing. Some fans like the live version more as it feels more intimate as a piano ballad.

Again, this song is incredibly simple yet it sounds really impressive and beautiful. It’s one of those songs you can play easily even as a complete beginner.

Sheet music

Daydreaming

From the 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool, Daydreaming is a hauntingly beautiful Radiohead piano song. You might know this song for its music video where Thom Yorke walks through 23 doors, which is assumed to be full of symbolic meanings.

Unlike its complicated lyrics and music video, playing this song on the piano is very simple. The right-hand plays a simple 3-note figure while the left hand does the same with simple chords in a dotted rhythm.

The dotted rhythms in the left hand might be tricky for a beginner though. If you struggle with playing the correct notes while trying to get the rhythm right, you might want to practice it slowly with a metronome at first. While doing so, you can also try to actively think about each note you are playing to establish a good sense of rhythm so that you can play it with ease.

Sheet music

Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Street Spirit is a song that was inspired by the band “REM”, as well as The Famished Road, a novel by Ben Okri. Thom Yorke once told in an interview that the song such deep meanings that none of the fans would ever be able to grasp. Luckily, playing this song is not as complicated as the lyrics.

Although Street Spirit is not one of Radiohead’s piano-based songs, it sounds fantastic on the piano. The song originally consists of an arpeggiated guitar pattern and playing that pattern on the piano really transforms the song into a much darker and emotional piano ballad.

It’s also one of the beginner-friendly songs and perfect for improving your arpeggio technique.

Sheet music

Last Flowers To the Hospital

As you can see from this piano tutorial, this song is pretty easy to play, plus I think one of the most beautiful Radiohead piano songs.

Since this song features piano and an acoustic guitar, you can find a guitarist friend and even play it as a duet! I guess that would sound phenomenal.

Related: 23 Best Guitar and Piano Duets

The chorus is the only part where it might get a little bit tricky for the very beginners. However, I think it’s totally manageable if you practice it slowly while paying attention to the rhythmic values and timing! It’ll also be quite helpful for improving your rhythmic skills.

Sheet music

You and Whose Army

You might recognize this song from Incendies, a 2010 movie, where it was featured together with Like Spinning Plates. The movie is quite well-known and it was even nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at Academy Awards. The scene where this song plays is quite striking.

This song is not entirely piano-based, and the piano part doesn’t start until almost the middle of the song. When the piano enters it sounds really forceful though, so you should be playing quite loudly and confidently to convey that feeling.

Down Is The New Up

I believe it’s one of the most underrated Radiohead songs on the piano, and I think more people should appreciate how fantastic this song is. I love how the piano only comes in at a certain point instead of being the main instrument, and I think it adds so much to the song.

This song also features some really strange chord and rhythmic transitions, but they are not hard, and actually really interesting to play and dive deeper into.

I couldn’t find piano sheet music for this song, but there are quite a few solid tutorials on Youtube that you can learn from if you are interested!

Related: 7 Best Youtube Channels to Learn Piano

Intermediate Radiohead Piano Songs

Pyramid Song

Ranked as one of the best songs of the decade by music authorities, Pyramid Song was musically inspired by a jazz song called Freedom by Charles Mingus. while the lyrics were inspired by an ancient Egyptian underworld art exhibition that Thom Yorke once attended.

Notewise, Pyramid Song is probably the easiest song on this list, but its odd rhythm is what makes me think of this song to be “intermediate”. It’s crazy that people are still trying to decide what time signature the song is in even two decades after its release.

Getting the timing and rhythm correct is a bit hard if you are not enough familiar with the song. Therefore, I encourage you to listen to the song several times before you start learning as it will make your learning process much easier and faster. Even if you are proficient at reading sheet music, I think learning the rhythm by ear will work out well for this song.

Sheet music

Everything In Its Right Place

Although I listed this song under the intermediate section, I think it’s not that hard and has just the right amount of challenge for an ambitious beginner.

The song originally features synthesizer sounds, but it sounds perfect on the solo piano as well. It’s also quite repetitive so once you get the riff down you are good to go!

Sheet music

Glass Eyes

I believe Glass Eyes is one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful Radiohead songs with piano.

Unlike some of the experimental Radiohead songs, its chords are simple, but if played straightforwardly and delicately it sounds just marvelous.

The song is mostly built on broken chords, which is great for improving your piano technique in terms of wrist flexibility and fingering skills.

Sheet music

Karma Police

Chances are you already know this song as it’s one of the most popular Radiohead songs. Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood told in the interviews that the song is against bosses and about the frustration with capitalism.

This song features the piano and the acoustic guitar as the primary instruments, and it’s a really amazing one to play as a piano and guitar duet.

The chord pattern in the intro is the hardest part, although an intermediate player can easily handle it. The tempo is also fairly manageable. If you are looking for a bit challenging but also a relatively popular Radiohead piano song, I think it is the right one!

Sheet music

Sail To The Moon

I think Sail To The Moon is one of the best Radiohead piano songs that you should definitely learn one day. It’s one of those songs that is really rewarding to teach yourself, and the fact that it sounds heavenly beautiful on the piano is another good reason to learn it.

Especially the main riff and outro of the song are the parts that can really take your technique to another level if you take time to practice them consistently. The song consists of several large chords that are great for teaching you how to deal with hand tension and increasing your hand span.

Sheet music

Life In a Glasshouse

Life In a Glasshouse is a jazz-influenced track that features the amazing Humphrey Lyttelton playing the trumpets. Written in the style of a New Orleans jazz funeral, it’s unlike the other Radiohead tracks, and I think one of the unique songs really stands out in their discography.

It was also featured in Alfonso Cuaron’s movie Children of Men.

This song is a perfect one if you’re looking for a piece that could improve your jazz skills, or get you started on jazz. While introducing you to the basic jazz chord progressions, also opens up a lot of room for improvisation.

Sheet music

The Daily Mail

This one is one of my favorite Radiohead songs with piano. Although it’s not so difficult to play, there are a lot of variations, unexpected transitions, and modulations throughout the song which you should keep an eye on to be able to play it smoothly.

Despite admiring and playing it for years, I fell in love with it even more after this tutorial by WARRENMUSIC came out. It’s really eye-opening to watch Warren’s Radiohead piano tutorials because not only do you get a glimpse into Radiohead’s genius songwriting approach but also the songs make much more sense and you start to appreciate them with new eyes.

Sheet music

We Suck Young Blood

This one is one of the least favorite songs of the Radiohead fans, but I do like it and I think you should also give it a try. The song is about how big corporations recruit young people and exploit them, so it has quite an eerie and edgy atmosphere, which sounds really cool on the piano.

The song features a lot of dissonant chords and numerous sharps and flats, so you should have decent sight-reading skills if you want to learn it through sheet music. If you can read sheet music but would like to increase your speed, you can check out my article to learn how to read piano notes faster.

Although there is nothing to worry about until the middle part in terms of difficulty, the part after the middle is crazy as you can see in the video above. That extraordinary part reminds me of the Rachmaninoff and Lizst influenced Muse songs which feature the same type of slamming on the piano.

Related: 23 Muse Songs on Piano (Easy to Hard)

Overall, I would say it’s one of the hardest Radiohead piano songs that is worth trying if you are a pianist up for a challenge.

Sheet music

All I Need

One of the most direct love songs of the band, it’s about unrequited love and obsession.

The song originally features synthesizers and glockenspiel, and the piano only starts to play after the middle section. It’s not until towards the end that the piano starts to play a beautiful solo accompaniment, and it’s one of my favorite parts to both listen to and play in Radiohead discography.

Sheet music

Bloom (Piano Version)

This one is not originally a piano song, but Thom Yorke made a piano cover of it that has now become more famous than its original version.

Although you need a looping pedal to play exactly the way he plays in this cover, you will be fine just following the sheet music below if you don’t have anything to create the loop effect.

Sheet music

Decks Dark

It’s a song that many people find very similar to Massive Attack’s Teardrop, which is easily noticeable when you know both of the songs. It’s really amazing how Radiohead can merge so many different styles into their songs and still make them their own.

The last part of the song from about 3:23 may remind of you the piano riff in All I Need.

Sheet music

Conclusion

These were the 23 best Radiohead piano songs.

I hope you like my recommendations!

Which is your favorite Radiohead song with piano?

Let me know in the comments!

Thom at the Piano by Quasic / CC BY-SA 2.0

Selin Gökova

Selin Gökova is a neo-classical composer and pianist from Istanbul, Turkey. Holding an ABRSM certificate on piano performance, she's been playing the piano and composing for ten years. Wandering Tunes is her side project where she combines her two passions: writing and music.

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Hi, my name is Selin. Playing the piano and composing are my biggest passions. I've founded this blog to share everything I've learned throughout the years about piano playing and learning. I hope you stick around! Read More

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