Thomas Edward Yorke (born October 7, 1968) is an English musician and lead singer and the primary songwriter of the alternative rock band Radiohead. The band have sold over 30 million records and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Radiohead have won three Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Album, whereas both the group and Yorke’s solo work have garnered 21 nominations in total. Radiohead’s album OK Computer is often credited as one of the best albums of all time. Along with Radiohead, Yorke has released solo electronic music of his own and is a part of the supergroup Atoms for Peace. Yorke is also a major activist for animal rights, human rights, and environmental and anti-war causes, as his lyrics often incorporate these themes.
At age 11, Yorke had already joined his first band and written his own music. He attended the public boys' school Abington, where he met future Radiohead members (originally named On a Friday) Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, and Philip Selway. The group released their first single, “Creep”, in 1992, and it became a worldwide hit, yet was removed from the airwaves on BBC Radio 1 for being “too depressing.” The single was part of their first album, Pablo Honey (1993), followed by The Bends (1995), featuring ethereal synths and lyrics relating to depression and grief. Yet, it wasn’t until the group's third album, Ok Computer (1997), that the band reached international fame, inciting a more electronic tone and overall theme of alienation. Following albums Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) utilized a similar electronic sound while Hail to the Thief (2003) combined both rock and electronic rock, shifting their lyrics to a more politically driven criticism of the re-entrance of right-wing politics. The group's next album, In Rainbows (2007), not only received a Grammy nod for Best Alternative Album, but also was one of the first albums to be released as a pay-what-you-want record by an established artist.
Yorke’s solo work mostly falls under the electronic category. His debut solo album, The Eraser (2006), earned a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. Like Hail to the Thief, Yorke released his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via a torrenting website, getting over a million downloads within the first six days. Yorke’s third album, Anima (2019), gave him his first No. 1 album on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and was accompanied by a short film made with Paul Thomas Anderson.
The musician has also composed soundtracks for films such as Velvet Goldmine (1998) and the 2018 remake of the horror film Suspira.