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Moved by the elderly

August 5, 2009
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I wonder if hed have enjoyed it

I wonder if he'd have enjoyed it

There’s a fairly well-known band out there called Radiohead. They’ve released a few albums that have gone platinum, did a lot to single-handedly shift our thinking on online music sales structure, and even have a new album out there to make everyone under the age of 35 to incessantly drool over. They apparently also quite liked Harry Patch, whom you may remember from last week’s news, or the Battle of Passchendaele if you were there (if you were you are a liar or a ghost, or both). Patch was the last remaining known veteran of the Great War (or the prequel to WWII), who died last week at the age 111, and was at the aforementioned battle, where nearly one million people lost their lives. Apparently, Thom Yorke, who is no stranger to letting the internet know how he feels about people, was so moved by Patch’s story that he felt compelled to write something about it. As such, Radiohead pulled together and gave a new song to the BBC to stream for free. At first, I was surprised that Radiohead had shied down from their In Rainbows (lack of a) business model and returned to the now traditional record company way of allowing the song to be streamed for free, but then charging for a download. Then I read that all the download profits will be donated to the British Legion, the excellent UK charity that cares for veterans and war memorials. The song isn’t half bad, either, especially considering it was written and released in the span of about a fortnight. As far as I can tell, this is the most spontaneous thing that Radiohead has done over the course of their career, and while there are reports that they’ve been in the studio to record a new album (and so recording quickly wouldn’t be much of a hassle), I’m quite impressed. While it’s not quite “Ohio” in its immediacy and likely impact, I think it’s got to bode well for whatever they’re actually doing in the studio.

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