March 13, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s 2nd album, the Bends. The album came out in 1995, following the huge success of Pablo Honey and its iconic single, “Creep”, and struggled mightily to find its footing commercially, as the band tried to step out of the grunge pigeonhole they found themselves in. Radiohead even came close to breaking up around this time, as they were going around playing shows, and would end up playing the same cuts off the previous album night after night (pretty much why they don’t play “Creep” live to this day). the Bends never met with the same commercial success as Pablo Honey or subsequent records, but it fared quite well with critics, and is now considered amongst the greatest albums of all time, ranking at 110 on Rolling Stone’s most recent iteration. The album also paved the way for many subsequent Brit-rock acts, such as Coldplay, Keane, and James Blunt.
While the album itself didn’t succeed commercially the way the label might have hoped, it was still a stepping stone to allow the band to continue taking chances and evolving their sound. It set them on the path of being one of the most innovative rock bands of all time, and reshaped indie rock in the process.
Watch: Radiohead “High and Dry”
Watch: Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees”
Watch: Radiohead “Just”
This week in Indie is a weekly series focused on record releases that had a great effect on the indie rock landscape.