The Weirdest and Best Covers of Radiohead’s “Creep”

Radiohead’s “Creep” has had an interesting journey in its 30-year life. The song was not a big hit when it was first released in 1992, reaching only 78th place on the UK Singles Chart. BBC actually banned it for a while, mainly because it was too much emo for the early ’90s. (We were all about the angst in the early’ 90s. The real sadness and loneliness, not so much. It also had the f word in it.) But after that it turned into a hit in Israel, its popularity spread, and when it was reissued in the UK in 1993, it reached No.7.

Unconditional Radiohead fans don’t like the song very much because they don’t think it reflects the real sound of the band. The group itself has mixed feelings about playing it and in their song “My Iron Lung” even expressed resentment at the way “Creep” had classified them. But its popularity has stalled and has spanned generations, spawning multiple cover versions from a wide variety of artists.

Personally, I’m a fan of the song and always have been. “Creep” came out the year I graduated from high school and made my Generation X heart beat. It’s also just a good song — different, but totally recognizable. The simple two-beat guitar riffs just before the chorus are bits of genius. The lyrics explore feelings rarely expressed aloud. There is a stunning contrast between the singing verses and the grungy chorus. Here’s the original if you need a refresher:


Radiohead – Creep

www.youtube.com

It’s also a song whose covers do it justice, for the most part. Here are a handful of what I think are the best versions – and definitely one of the weirdest.


Let’s start with the weird. The YouTube channel “There I Ruined It” shared a honky-tonk version of “Creep” which is just as WTF as it sounds. But the video is meticulously edited to make it look like Radiohead and some honky-tonk stars are actually singing it, so even if the song is a bit of an assault on the ears (unless you like honky-tonk, in which case you can over to you), the video is worth watching just for the wow factor.

Honky-tonk “Creep” from over there, I ruined it

Incredible, isn’t it? I mean, I hate it – sorry honky-tonk fans – but I’m also really impressed. The correspondence between the backing vocals and the video clips is perfect.

If you need to get rid of them, there are many more enjoyable versions to listen to. Halle Bailey (from Chloe x Halle Twin Fame) recently shared a simplified cover version on TikTok with just her vocals and an electric guitar and it’s adorable.

Halle Bailey’s TikTok “Creep” generation

@hallebailey

my version of creepppp this song was in my head all day i had to sing it to get it out! ??

Halle Bailey is only 21, but she’s not even the youngest performer to make “Creep” her own. In 2019, sisters Mimi and Josefin, aged 15 and 13, performed the song for their blind audition on “The Voice Kids” in Germany. The audience and the judges were so impressed with their performance that they sang an encore. The harmonies are what make this interpretation particularly fun to listen to.

Mimi & Josefin’s “Creep” vocal hearing

Some of the best covers are the simple acoustic versions with just a singer and guitar, like this one from Daniela Andrade.

Soft acoustics “Creep” by Daniela Andrade

Have you ever heard an entire choir sing “Creep”? Check this out:

Creepy “Creep” from the Scala & Kolacny brothers choir

Scala & Kolacny Brothers is a Belgian girl choir and their version is more haunting than anything else. It’s the scariest Creeps for sure, but very cool.

My favorite is the Vintage Postmodern Jukebox cover with Haley Reinhart. The big band sound is so unexpected for the song, the vocals are stellar, and it’s hands down the best version I’ve come across.

Big band vintage “Creep” from Postmodern Jukebox

Sorry diehard Radiohead fans, but “Creep” isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. People young and old love it and if musicians continue to make it their own, it will probably outlive us all.

(Final note: it seems remiss not to include the 2021 remix of “Creep” released by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke himself. It’s not on my favorites list, but it’s interesting how he performs the song. three decades later.)

Thom Yorke’s achievement. Radiohead – Creep (Very 2021 Rmx)

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