My Iron Lung

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My Iron Lung
My Iron Lung.jpg
EP by
Released26 September 1994
GenreAlternative rock[1]
Radiohead chronology
My Iron Lung
The Bends
Radiohead singles chronology
"Stop Whispering"
"My Iron Lung"
"High and Dry" / "Planet Telex"

My Iron Lung is the third EP by the English rock band Radiohead, released on 26 September 1994 by Parlophone Records in the United Kingdom and by Capitol Records in the United States. The EP compiles songs not included on Radiohead's second album, The Bends (1995), plus the Bends song "My Iron Lung". "My Iron Lung" was also released as a single.


Most of the songs on My Iron Lung were recorded at RAK Studios during the sessions for Radiohead's second album, The Bends (1995).[2] The acoustic version of "Creep" was taken from a live performance on KROQ-FM on July 13, 1993.[3] Songwriter Thom Yorke described the EP as a collection of songs that did not fit on the album rather than outtakes, and said: "The EP was just for fans, really ... It's for Radiohead fans and we think they're good, otherwise we wouldn't have plugged them on."[4] The EP marked Radiohead's first collaborations with artist Stanley Donwood and producer Nigel Godrich, both of whom have worked on every Radiohead release since.[5][6]

Only "My Iron Lung" was included on The Bends.[6] Radiohead wrote it in response to the request from their record label, EMI, to record a single to repeat the success of their 1992 debut "Creep".[7] The caustic lyrics use an iron lung as a metaphor for the way "Creep" had both sustained Radiohead and constrained them: "this is our new song / just like the last one / a total waste of time / my iron lung".[8] Yorke said in 1995: "People have defined our emotional range with that one song, 'Creep'. I saw reviews of 'My Iron Lung' that said it was just like 'Creep'. When you're up against things like that, it's like: 'Fuck you.' These people are never going to listen."[9]

Radiohead recorded versions of "My Iron Lung" at RAK, but were not satisfied with the results. Instead, they used a performance recorded in May 1994 at the London Astoria, with Yorke's vocals replaced and the audience removed.[10] According to producer John Leckie, "Considering it was recorded in the back of a truck outside the hall – not the best sound to get something from – we did quite well."[11] Jonny Greenwood used a DigiTech Whammy pedal to pitch-shift his guitar by one octave, creating a "glitchy, lo-fi" sound.[12] Ed O'Brien used an EBow, an electronic sustaining device, on his guitar to generate a drone.[13]


A "My Iron Lung" single was released to US college radio stations, where it fared poorly; Yorke and Greenwood expressed disappointment that EMI had not given it more promotion.[10] CD1 contains the B-sides "The Trickster", "Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong", and "Lozenge of Love",[14] while CD2 contains the B-sides "Lewis (Mistreated)", "Permanent Daylight", and "You Never Wash Up After Yourself".[15] The single peaked at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart.[16] However, sales of the My Iron Lung EP were better than expected and suggested that Radiohead had found a loyal fanbase and were not one-hit wonders.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

According to journalist Mac Randall, "My Iron Lung" initially puzzled fans and critics: "Its transitions from jangly, ring-modulated opening hook to McCartney-esque verse melody to pulverising guitar explosions in the bridge were jarring and didn't correspond to what anyone expected from Radiohead. But now, placed next to its 11 fellow songs on The Bends, it makes much more sense."[2]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[6]
Entertainment.ie4/5 stars[18]

Allmusic critic Greg Prato praised the EP, writing: "Because of the tracks' consistency and sequencing, it plays like a real album rather than a collection of B-sides and outtakes thrown together haphazardly." He felt the acoustic version of "Creep", with a "surprisingly harsh and off-key middle section", was "the only weak spot".[6] wrote: "While these off-cuts are inevitably more low-key and experimental than the classics we're all familiar with, the same spirit of anguish [of The Bends] and fragility is still thrillingly familiar."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Radiohead.

1."My Iron Lung"4:36
2."The Trickster"4:40
3."Lewis (Mistreated)"3:14
4."Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong"4:40
5."Permanent Daylight"2:48
6."Lozenge of Love"2:16
7."You Never Wash Up After Yourself"1:44
8."Creep" (Acoustic)4:19
Total length:28:23


Adapted from the liner notes.[3]


  1. ^ Hall, David Brendan (10 October 2016). "Austin City Limits: The five best of Weekend Two". Time Out. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b Randall, Mac (May 2015). "Radiohead's The Bends, 20 years later: reexamining a modern rock masterpiece". Guitar World. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b My Iron Lung (booklet). Radiohead. 1994.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  4. ^ Malins, Steve (April 1995). "Scuba Do". Vox. IPC Media (55).
  5. ^ "Stanley Donwood". Eyestorm. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d My Iron Lung at AllMusic
  7. ^ Randall, p. 90
  8. ^ Runtagh, Jordan (22 February 2018). "Radiohead's 'Pablo Honey': 10 Things You Didn't Know". The Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  9. ^ Malins, Steve (April 1995). "Scuba Do". Vox (55).
  10. ^ a b Garcia, Sandra (July 1995). "Decompression". B-Side (51).
  11. ^ Randall, Mac (1 February 2012). Exit Music: The Radiohead Story Updated Edition. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-1-4584-7147-5.
  12. ^ "Iron man". Total Guitar. Future plc. 19 October 2018 – via PressReader.
  13. ^ Brewster, Will (2 June 2020). "The Story of the EBow in 7 Tracks". Mixdown. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  14. ^ "My Iron Lung - Radiohead | Release Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  15. ^ "My Iron Lung [#2] - Radiohead | Release Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  16. ^ Irvin, Jim; Hoskyns, Barney (July 1997). "We Have Lift-Off!". Mojo (45).
  17. ^ Randall, Mac (12 September 2000). Exit Music: The Radiohead Story. Delta. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-385-33393-5.
  18. ^ a b "Radiohead – My Iron Lung".

External links[edit]