Thomas Edward Yorke, known as Thom Yorke, is a British musician, songwriter, singer and guitarist, born on October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. He is the lead singer and principal songwriter of Radiohead, a band founded in the mid-1980s with his high school friends from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, and Phil Selway, which has become, since the start of its recording career in 1992, one of the most important and celebrated rock bands of its time.
In addition to the nine albums released by Radiohead from 1993 to 2016, Thom Yorke has other side projects, including three solo albums and the supergroup Atoms For Peace (where he collaborates with bassist Flea). He is also very active in the fight for human rights, the defense of the environment, and against wars in all their forms as well as the failings of modern society. His sensitivities are reflected in the lyrics of the group's songs.
Born with the eyelid of his left eye paralyzed (ptosis), Thom Yorke underwent five operations during his first five years. His classmates nicknamed him "the salamander".
The guitarist Brian May of the group Queen gives him the desire to be a musician. His parents gave him an acoustic guitar as a gift. He started playing guitar at the age of seven and joined his first band at the age of eleven while attending the private school for boys in Abingdon, where he met the future members of the band Radiohead.
In 1985, he saw Siouxsie and the Banshees in concert in Oxford, which inspired him to become a singer in his turn. In 1987 he met Ed O'Brien and Colin Greenwood. The band, named "On a Friday", because Friday was the only possible day for them to rehearse, is then completed by the drummer Phil Selway, accompanied by Colin's younger brother, Jonny Greenwood.
Yorke went on to attend Exeter University. The members continued to rehearse while dispersed in different universities. During this time, Yorke played in the band Headless Chickens and worked in a psychiatric hospital. At Exeter he met Stanley Donwood, who would later collaborate with Radiohead.