‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.
All week we’ve been running features on every artist inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s unusually strong 2019 class. But the biggest tribute goes to the band least excited about the honor. And that’s maybe as it should be.
Their unenthusiastic reaction – as I write this, it’s not even clear if any of them will show up – reminds me of when Bob Dylan first played Obama’s White House. Bob didn’t come to his own rehearsal, or to the customary photo op with the president. He turned up at the last minute, played his songs, shook the President’s hand, and immediately left the building. And as Obama told Rolling Stone: “That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise.”
Same with Radiohead. You want them to be a little skeptical about the Hall of Fame. So it’s no contradiction to use this occasion to honor a band who couldn’t care less. We love them all the more for their refusal to play nice or conform to anyone expectations. Any excuse for posting Radiohead covers is a good one, so we’ll take it. (Plus, since the band won’t be performing themselves, we may get a new Radiohead cover at the ceremony tomorrow evening to add to the pile.)