Harrowdown Hill

"Harrowdown Hill" is a song by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, released on his debut solo album The Eraser (2006). It was released as a single on 21 August 2006, peaking at #23 in the UK Singles Chart. A music video was released on 31 July 2006. Yorke wrote the song about the death of David Kelly, a British weapons expert who told a reporter that the British government had falsely identified weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"Harrowdown Hill"
Harrowdown Hill.jpg
Single by Thom Yorke
from the album The Eraser
B-side
  • "Jetstream",
  • "The Drunkk Machine"
Released21 August 2006
GenreAlternative rock, electronica
Length4:38
LabelXL
Songwriter(s)Thom Yorke
Producer(s)Nigel Godrich
Thom Yorke singles chronology
"Black Swan"
(2006)
"Harrowdown Hill"
(2006)
"Analyse"
(2006)

WritingEdit

"Harrowdown Hill" was released on Yorke's debut solo album, The Eraser (2006), recorded while Yorke's band Radiohead were on hiatus.[1] According to the Globe and Mail, it resembles a love song with a sense of "menace" and "grim political showdown".[2] Yorke said the song had been "kicking around" during the sessions for Radiohead's sixth album, Hail to the Thief (2003), but that it could not have worked as a Radiohead song.[3]

The lyrics are about David Kelly, a British weapons expert who is presumed to have committed suicide in 2003 after telling a reporter that the British government had falsely identified weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Kelly's body was found in the woods of Harrowdown Hill, near Yorke's former school in Oxfordshire.[4]

Yorke was uncomfortable about the subject matter and conscious of Kelly's grieving family, but felt that "not to write it would perhaps have been worse".[2] In an interview with the Observer, he said it was "the most angry song" he had ever written.[5] He told the Globe and Mail: "The government and the Ministry of Defence were implicated in his death. They were directly responsible for outing him and that put him in a position of unbearable pressure that he couldn't deal with, and they knew they were doing it and what it would do to him."[2]

Music videoEdit

The "Harrowdown Hill" music video was directed by Chel White of BENT Image Lab in 2006. It features stop-motion eagle animation by David Russo, time-lapse footage by Mark Eiffert, and a technique known as Smallgantics. It was released on 31 July 2006 and was first played on Channel 4.[6]

ReleaseEdit

"Harrowdown Hill" was released on 21 August 2006, peaking at #23 in the UK Singles Chart.[7] To celebrate the 2008 election of US president Barack Obama, Yorke released a remixed version of "Harrowdown Hill" as a free download.[8]

Track listingsEdit

  • Promo CD
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" (Early Fade)
  2. "Harrowdown Hill" (Full Length)
  • 7" XLS238, limited to 5,000 copies
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" - 4:38
  2. "Jetstream" - 3:44
  • CD XLS238CD, limited to 10,000 copies
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" - 4:38
  2. "The Drunkk Machine" - 4:07
  3. "Harrowdown Hill" (extended mix) - 7:01
  • 12" XLT238, limited to 3,000 copies
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" (extended mix) - 7:01
  2. "The Drunkk Machine" - 4:07
  • 12" XLT238US
  1. "Harrowdown Hill" (extended mix) - 7:01
  2. "The Drunkk Machine" - 4:07
  3. "Jetstream" - 3:44

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Fricke, David (1 June 2006). "Radiohead's Thom Yorke on going solo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 July 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Evert-Green, Robert (June 14, 2006). "Radiohead retooled". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Thom Yorke: 'Why I made a solo album' - NME". NME. 2 July 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. ^ Powers, Ann (28 June 2006). "Thom Yorke, free agent". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. ^ Mclean, Craig (18 June 2006). "All Messed Up". Observer Music Monthly. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2006.
  6. ^ "Harrowdown Hill". 28 July 2006. Archived from the original on 10 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-06.
  7. ^ "Harrowdown Hill | Full Official Chart History". UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2021-08-22.
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (6 November 2008). "Thom Yorke Celebrates Obama Victory With Free Track". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 July 2018.

External linksEdit