Perhaps it’s uncool to admit this, but I have always, always adored Creep, Radiohead‘s Stairway To Heaven. It’s an incredible, amazing, real song that always related to me on an intimate, human level. Admittedly I love almost every track ever released by Radiohead, but no matter how diverse and fluid and experimental their sound is across each release since, I’ve never stopped loving Creep. I’m lucky enough to have seen Radiohead twice, once in 2004 and again in 2012, and have never seen the track performed. I’ve seen countless live covers, of course, but perhaps the greatest one of all time has finally been made legally public.
A few years ago the news surfaced that Prince had given this track the Purple treatment at Coachella in 2008. Prince being the almost paranoid/delusional anti-technology/piracy/streaming (oh except for TIDAL) tinfoil-hat wearer that he is, repeatedly forced this video to be taken down, forever hidden from the wanton desires of internet users. This banishment alone has created a kind of unmatchable mythology around the video; the dragon we’ll just keep on chasing.
Thom Yorke himself (another strong voice vehemently against streaming and piracy, recently addressed the incident, giving permission for the song to be posted online. Prince’s issue was a copyright one, of course, and Yorke was having none of that. It’s a Radiohead song, not a Prince song. On hearing the news it had been repeatedly taken down, Yorke reportedly said, “Really? He’s blocked it? Well, tell him to unblock it. It’s our… song.”
Prince heard the call, released the track, announced it via Twitter:
— Prince3EG (@Prince3EG) December 8, 2015
And the Internet has collectively thanked him.
The track itself is haunting and wild and characteristically brilliant, as you might expect from one of the greatest artists of all time covering one of the greatest songs of all time. Spanning more than eight minutes, it’s just incredible.
Thank you Prince, thank you Radiohead for bestowing this phenomenal musical gift upon us.